I find the human race really interesting in its backward ways sometimes. Like, we’re conditioned from birth to deflect our own problems, acting like they are no big deal, while caring about other people’s problems. “Others have it worse” we are told to believe, and we end up walking around thinking we’re not allowed to be less than OK and everyone else is.
Which is interesting, because then we see everyone else walking around OK, but we think we’re the only ones who aren’t OK and are acting, when really everyone is. So, when you think about it, we’re a world of big, screwed up people who all think we’re the only screwed up ones. Except for a handful of “not OK” people, like really, really bad criminals. Which, I think, leads us to believe that we could end up like them. Which, in turn, leads to the idea that we are “crazy” or “unstable”. This leads to us not wanting to talk to other people about our problems, for fear of being viewed like these demonized people and criminals. In reality, though, they are thinking the same thing. Or, at least, most of them are.
So why then do parents teach their kids to deflect their problems? Because by the time we get to the point where we have kids, we still believe that our problems are minuscule. So we pass that on to our kids, even though we want them to come to us with their problems. This leads to tension, pain, frustration, and even therapy.
We literally have to retrain our brains to the opposite of something we are told from birth if we want to change this. And that’s where Tumblr comes in. Here, a lot of us are like “you’re allowed to vent to me”, and “it’s okay to be sad”, and, eventually, some of us learn that that’s true. But it also gets problematic when we, as a whole, romanticize serious mental illness. That’s not OK, but much like believing we are not allowed to be not OK is not OK, it’s something that happens. And that makes it worse. Because then we think mental illness is “cool” or “hip” or “metal/edgy/whatever phrase we’re using this week.” And then sometimes we end up with superiority complexes, which is even worse. Because none of us are better than the other, and wasn’t believing that in the first place the problem before? We’ve reversed that. But we shouldn’t reverse it. We should fix it.
How? Well. I’m not sure. But I know we have to find a medium, a place where we all believe we are valid and our opinions are valid, but none are better than the other. Until we do that, we end up at one of the extreme more often than not.
Maybe that’s why most of the psychiatrists and psychologists I know are so… mellow. Because they see the fears they have reflected back a hundred fold with all of their patients and their clients and everything else. They see what we hide, and so they know it’s normal to feel that way. That being not OK is OK unto itself, because it happens to everyone. And they know that with a lot of help and talking that we can work at being not OK until we are OK at least some of the time. Or at least learning how to live with being not OK.
Human beings are volatile, like the Alkali metals. But instead of reacting with water, we react with each other and our emotions. And most of the time we feel we aren’t allowed to show our reactions. We aren’t the Noble Gases. We can’t be happy and stable and have full electron shells all the time. We’re Alkali metals, and we need to know that sometimes we get tossed in water and react. And that’s OK.
Because when you react, people see it. And then we learn we aren’t alone in our reactions. And we can work together to find that medium, where we all have full electron shells.