We’re a bunch of frauds. My generation boasts about all the technological advances that have made it easy for us to instantly connect with people all over the globe at any moment. We feel accomplished because of how many page views we have or when our favorite celebrity retweets us. We feel important when we pick up our phones and have unread messages waiting in our inboxes. The truth of the matter is, however, it’s smoke and mirrors. We aren’t connected, and not for lack of opportunity, but for lack of courage.
You know why we fall in love with art? We fall in love with art because the person who creates it has to open up and take out a piece of his/her heart and put it on display for everyone to see. And when s/he does that, everyone who sees it gets to form an opinion. Everyone who sees it gets to critique. We fall in love with art because it gives us a chance to embrace the very thing we’re afraid of. Art is intimacy.
You know that moment when you hear a song and you vibe with the lyrics so hard you have to put it on repeat, or the music hits a chord that literally gives you chills? That’s intimacy. That’s connection. Sometimes it makes you think of the person you love the most. Sometimes it makes you think of how the person you love the most hurt you. Sometimes it makes you want to punch someone in the face, or make that phone call to say you’re sorry. Either way, it makes you feel something.
What if we were brave enough to do this in real life? What if we had the guts to look someone in the eye and say, “That hurt me” or “I really want to see you.” If we heard a song in our head and started dancing wherever we were without worrying about who’s looking. What if we weren’t afraid to cry-in public- because sometimes it just hurts. What if we stopped building blockades around our hearts and embraced our emotions? All of them. The ones that feel good and the ones that don’t. I’ll tell you what would happen. Our lives would become as beautiful as the art we fall in love with. Brené Brown said if you dull one emotion, you dull them all. When we disconnect with sadness under the guise of being “cool” we also force ourselves to be “cool” when we’re really excited. When we dull the pain, we dull the joy.
I’m choosing not to dull my joy anymore. I’m vowing to fully feel my pain and embarrassment and nervousness and all the other discomforts that I’ve been taught to avoid to remain calm and collected. By doing this, I’m giving myself permission to feel happiness and excitement and the scariest of them all: hope. I want to genuinely connect with the people around me, beyond small talk and social politeness. I want to, for the first time in my life, allow myself to be seen.
If you have a second, which you obviously do, check out Brené Brown’s Ted Talk on the power of vulnerability, which inspired this post.
Let me know what you think!