Good conversation is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.Anne Morrow Lindbergh
In periods of hardship and difficult mental health, the brain is regularly guilty of lying and almost encouraging us to ‘hide away’ and face certain situations alone. That we’re a burden and nobody cares about what’s going in our lives. That it’s a weakness to open up in times of need, or simply whenever we’d simply like to offload.
No matter how much the rational side of the brain disputes these negative statements and reminds us of people who care about us- whether that be friends, family or work colleagues- I speak from experience in saying it’s incredibly easy to slip into dangerous modes of thinking and isolate yourself from the rest of the world because you fear people’s reactions. You fear pushing people away. You fear making a situation worse. And you fear the potential that somebody will view you differently to what they did before you opened up.
Now while I’m far from the ‘finished article’ and still have my doubts when having a chat with somebody, becoming increasingly open has been predominantly positive and taught me so many valuable life lessons.
Firstly, we should never underestimate the unbelievable power and benefits of conversation. Phrases such as “tell me what’s going on” or “hey mate, mind if we have a chat?” are effective yet uncomplicated ways to get the ball rolling.
Furthermore, as the common motto states: a problem shared is a problem halved. If I’m having a particularly rough day and I’d like support or some specific advice, I often take the time to reach out to somebody I trust. People won’t always be willing, available or in a position to help, however when someone is, I rarely come away from such conversations feeling any worse or more frustrated than before the conversation started. There are few worse feelings than dealing with something difficult alone, therefore making that decision to ‘bite the bullet’ and be honest about how you’re feeling allows you to gather support and feel less isolated in your struggles.
After all, by confiding in someone else you can experience the great pleasure of being heard. Being valued. Being appreciated. Of feeling like someone understands or relates to how you’re feeling, what you’re going through or where you’re coming from. Without expressing your thoughts and emotions, one way or another, it can be very difficult to pick yourself up and process the pain or confusion which could be running amuck in your head. The last thing you want is to spiral!
In having the opportunity to digest fresh opinions and perspectives- opening your mind to different ideas you might never have considered otherwise- you also allow yourself to reflect and grow as a person. Gain new knowledge. Become better educated. Feel more informed. Restore clarity. Make better decisions in future scenarios than you would have if you’d ‘gone it alone’ because you’re more aware of what helps and what doesn’t.
Society has taught that it’s the cool thing to be self-sufficient and handle life on our own, however this isn’t possible all the time. Or even remotely sustainable. We humans are social creatures who thrive on being connected and building relationships with other people, so it’s okay to lean on other people for support at times! It’s okay to prioritise strong social relationships!
If you’re feeling stuck and unsure how to move forward (trust me I’ve been there a million times), I plead you to take my advice. Reach out. Text a friend. Visit a family member. Call a helpline. No matter what happens, there’ll always be at least 1 person eager to listen and have a chit-chat. Incorporate talking into your daily routine!
You may think it’s pointless and there’s nothing to gain, yet what’s there to lose? An old-fashioned chinwag might just spring you into action and be the catalyst for inspiration and action you never thought you needed.
Who knows? You just might bring a smile to another person’s face as well.
And that’s as good a reason as any!
Thanks for reading,