Life's Like That: How are you really feeling?

Generally speaking, when the average person thinks of socializing they often think of pleasurable activities lacking in emotional depth like concerts or keg parties. I agree that these activities are pleasurable and relate to socialization. Some aspects of socialization activities range from the number of people involved in the activity, and the similarities and differences of the people involved — such as their age, gender, and ethnicity. Another aspect is the influence participants have on each other. However, although the aspects of socialization are present in these activities, it is my opinion that the true connections and influences developed are not very substantial.

I decided to write this article in an effort to convey my overall message in times of crucial life moments. My message is one about the importance of emotional supports and outlets. I feel as though at times we become so absorbed in what we are doing that at some point we are no longer of help to ourselves or anyone else. It seems to me that in times of stress, it is becoming easier for people to internally isolate from each other; but remain externally close. From what I have observed lately, it appears that the number of people who find it easier to immerse themselves in face value activities, or any type of activity lacking genuine emotional expression and response, is growing larger and larger.

This is not because people are necessarily shallow, uncaring beings; but rather sometimes it's just easier in the moment to appear at ease rather than express true anxieties and appear weak or distressed. Often in our society, when people ask, “How are you today?” you are not expected to respond negatively. If the person who asked responds negatively, the response is typically given with a joking tone or hides the real problem. This is because often when people express themselves to others, they feel the vulnerability of not being heard or of not wanting to burden their friends, family, or peers.

As a result of vulnerable feelings and the internalization of them, we act out in ways that don't allow us to figure out the truth behind those vulnerable feelings. We tend to tell ourselves damaging messages in reference to appearance or intelligence. Eventually people begin to isolate various issues when they do this, allowing themselves to feel like they're the only ones who feel the way they do.

Once again this ties into my overall message, which is conveying the importance of emotional supports and outlets. Now I could go on to provide you with a wide range of varying tips and strategies on how to be emotionally supportive and finding constructive outlets. This I am not going to do. No, in closing I will say only this: one of the best strategies for overcoming a difficult time or event, like a test or break-up, is to not only allow your ability to demonstrate genuine emotional expression to those beyond your “typical peer group” but to allow others to do the same when you approach them with a “How are you today?”

If people could only learn to openly emotionally express themselves more to those around them and, in turn, be receptive to another's emotional expression, I feel the vast majority of general anxieties would decrease. Consequently, the chances of success when overcoming challenges — academic or otherwise — would be greatly increased.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.