I remember during the first few months of this pandemic, Jhois and I were vacillating between being joyful (the longest time we were physically together due to work from home setup) and being furiously sad (what’s happening outside was just crazy). We were also vacillating from overfunctioning and underfunctioning (common responses to grief) at home. Nothing wrong with these, actually. Then, we felt we were in this dreadful spiral and we needed a breather. So, we decided to stop and pause. We tried new habits such as “crying breaks”, “laughing breaks”, “shouting breaks”, “sound/music-chilling” and a more frequent walk-in-the-park with my Father and our dog, Maple. Gradually, things appear clearer. We managed to be calm then we focus on what we can control while praying for better days to come, not only for us but for everyone.
I always remind myself of how Brene Brown sees the act of giving. She says, “Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” We will always be in need of help because we’re humans. We cannot always have it all at a certain time. I always remind myself of the courage it took for a person to ask for help and probably, sooner or later, I’ll be needing help from somebody else as well. We’re never meant to handle everything alone. Being turned down by other people doesn’t mean the whole world turns its back on us. All we have to do is to keep on knocking.
I don’t really believe in multi-tasking. It’s like half-assing one thing while half-assing another. I’m beginning to suspect that this is a capitalist lie because it is as if humans can outdo the machines. Although machines can produce immensely, humans who commit to something wholeheartedly can create not only superb results but also a greater sense of direction. We’re not running speedily towards a cliff. We’re building bridges to surpass the cliff and make it alive to the other end.
It’s funny you know, that we have seen films such as The Prestige (2006), Perfume (2006), The Black Swan (2010), The Birdman (2014) and I, Tonya (2017) and still get seduced by being labeled as a perfectionist as if it implies infallibility when in fact, it is actually a refusal to accept our mistakes and to fully embrace our humanity as a way forward.
I reckon that empathetic listening is rare because not everyone – on an individual level is even willing to sit down with their own garbled, blurry, and unnamed feelings. Although difficult, this life skill is not impossible to acquire since it asks for our patience and practice. Unnamed feelings are dangerous as they can bring harm to ourselves and later on, to others.