Michael, muttering

Verbalizing Emotions

One of the thoughts that have plagued me these past days was about how words come natural to some people. I’m not talking about perfect oration here, more about how some people always seem to have the perfect reaction and responses to whatever someone else is telling them - new job? Share with them and watch them scream with so much excitement you start to feel you’re not even excited enough. Just broke up? Tell them and watch them lift up your mood in no time.

I think everyone has at least one person in their life that fits the spec even, but the exact thought I had wasn’t about if I had such person or not, it was more about consciously realizing I'm never that person for anyone. I’ve had the thought for as long as I can remember, second-guessing words in conversations before I say them, taking forever to process what a person is trying to say, and simply mumbling “omo” and “wow” because words fail me. It’s like, knowing how exactly how someone could be feeling or what they could be going through even without them saying anything but feeling like your empathy is half-arsed, because even though you’re walking their shoes in your head and you totally understand how excited or sad or frustrated they could be at that moment, and you just can’t find the right word to offer condolence, or reassurance, or to describe how proud you are of them. You just stay there, wishing you can just scream “I understand how you feel” or “I see you” at the person but you know that isn’t enough for the occasion so you mute up instead.

Sometimes I convince myself it’s okay to just be a listener, because I understand I occasionally want a listener too - but even that feels worse over text (I’m a wholly text person) because then, how do the person on the other side discern between a “hmmm” that says uninterested and a “hmmm” that says “I’m listening and I understand you but I can’t think of a better thing to say”?

I’m trying to convince myself I’m not the only one like this (because it just can’t be) but still, it makes me wonder how many people could have maybe felt a little bit better, or motivated, or angrier (of course that happens too) if only I found the right thing to say. I would never know, but it helps to think about that. Sometimes.

PS: I’m welcoming suggestions/book recommendations on michael@mchl.xyz