On Naming Your True Emotions

How are you? | Good, you?

In this day and age, exchanging mere pleasantries is, perhaps, the path of least resistance, but is it the most rewarding one?

Consider this. You run into the same group of people everyday — while at work, at school, in the elevator, on your bus ride back home, on your walk to the parking lot, on your weekly grocery stop or even your own friends! Do you know these people? Do they know you?

Observing how people around me interact with each other, I often catch myself wondering about our daily social interactions these days... Admittedly, there is a pervasive social vacuum that isolates us from being present—we are surrounded by people all the time, yet we are alone in our own private space-time bubble. For instance, our heads are accustomed to look down at our phone screens, like a reflex, when we run into someone we “kind of” know, because we’ve seen them around and we’ve sent a plastered smile their way.

In this day and age, exchanging mere pleasantries is, perhaps, the path of least resistance, but is it the most rewarding one? Despite the fact that all of us are aware of the unstoppable marching of time, we never bother to consciously allocate some of it for others.

With deadlines, stress, and responsibilities that tend to infinity, we fail to remind ourselves of the entirety of our existence. We drown in the concept that time is being wasted when it is spent in small talk.

If you are upset over something, your body language and face will show it. Even if you say that you are doing fine, understand that the person who hears you say that you are doing good can sense your obligatory reply. So, why mask that emotion you are feeling? Some days you don’t feel that good after all. Are you feeling just okay today? That’s fine — own your feelings and acknowledge them in your casual talks. Respect others’ time for you and genuinely let go of your feelings in that time. By simply celebrating the blatant truth of the emotion you are really going through, the casual talks would branch into substantive conversations . Who knows, you might be able to seek help or give help to someone in need, by simply being yourself in these small talks. We’re referring to the real you, naming your true feelings, in your daily interactions with others.

Have you ever pondered about how you ended up with best friends? All the true friendships and relationships (that you can count on) originate from a point where you expressed yourself in the purest, most bona fide form of you. If people can relate to the real you, they connect with you. Once you’ve identified this spark, there is a cathartic sense of belonging and happiness that rises from within.

Naming our emotions not only gets some weight off of our chest, it also lightens up our daily routine. Making meaningful connections with the people around us is vital to our well-being and mental health.

Getting through each day is one way to pass through this little gap between birth and death. Besides, there is another way to make it an extraordinary journey, even if it is as simple as making intentional and genuine conversations, albeit small talk. It is beautifully terrifying to know that we have this time and identity that belongs to us, yet we lose sight of the baseline of it all, in our individual journeys towards our various life goals.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

Call to action: Smile, always. It is the best way to start up hearty small talk :)