Good evening ladies and gentlemen
So my general thoughts haven’t really been confined to my writings recently, as i have been rather swallowed up by this idea we have developed this fine tuned sensitivity, concentrating on the finest details, sensitive to every part of what is more than likely a meaningless situation, like going to make your morning coffee or something as simple as walking down a crowded street. It all has details, and to the logical mind details provide answers, maybe even a solution to the Connections Puzzle. These floodgates keeping the emotions and responses at bay, but for how long? Why should they? Do they? We fear losing control of the way we feel, so limit ourselves to the memories we have, where we always know the end of the story.
Opening the floodgates and letting everything into the very centre of your soul seems like an almost dangerous thing to do, for it has the potential to destroy everything about you, all you have worked towards, the dreams at which you have worked for so long, the person you have become in all the bad days and the brilliance of the good days, all lost, mired in a sea of feeling…everything. You don’t know what it is behind the gate, so living to the idea that “i don’t want to know” seems like the best option. The problem with this is that the waters are forever becoming more ferocious the other side of the gate, smashing into the gate with such a powerful force, sometimes even spilling over the top. Its this emotion that can flow over the gate that worries me, for how carefully controlled memories are, how this emotional response can affect the way i think or feel. I’ve never really known how to handle this unknown form of response, so work to the “i don’t want to know” state of living a lot of the time.
This is the disadvantage to living to the ideals of “i don’t want to know” for when something does happen, even in its smallest capacity, you develop an ability to feel so much. A character you have watched develop, even in a television drama, to see such anguish in that present moment, that love they portray seeming so powerful, it resonates with you on a more alarming level you ever thought possible. The people you’re close to being in so deeply in love, so happy one minute and drowning in sadness the next, suffocating under the weight of hope, the steadfast belief that they have to maintain for without it they would feel like they had missed out, let an opportunity pass them by.
In a way, i have always loved the people i am close to for living like this, to hanging it all out there, it makes them brilliantly genuine human beings. While i love them for this, it does have a disadvantage i like to think has been an issue at one point for us all. Knowing people who feel emotion in such a passionate way, empowered to jump higher and climb further by it, can, if not to the same crazy intensity, make you experience a heightened sensitivity to the emotional experience as a general idea. Living this sensitive lifestyle when keeping the floodgates slammed shut is a profoundly complicated existence, forever obsessing over details in memories where the end of the story is always the same. In the present moment, its hard to know how to react, what to say, to think or feel. To feel useless in a situation like that is a dreadful feeling. Helpless.
This makes me wander how much control we have over these “floodgates.” The helplessness, to me, is playing its part in your mental battlefield working for empathy. This is one of the most powerful and profound mental experiences to have, for when you see someone experiencing something and responding to something in an emotional way, you are able to see the world in their shoes, see everything from different perspective. You can see them sad, feel some level of sorrow that something hasn’t gone their way and feel joy so beautiful its like nothing else.
If someone you were close to was disheartened or miserable for whatever reason, surely it would make sense to do all you can to try and make them smile, even if it is through tears? For empathy isn’t simply to experience what they are feeling and reacting to it, its so much more. Empathy, to me, is that in the present moment, you are not important. All that matters in that particular moment is the way they feel. If you can make them feel good, you you would feel good as a result. To see someone you are close to smile or laugh when they have been seemably down and out, facing amazingly dreadful odds to get to that place they want to be in their lives is, to me, beauty in its purest form.
Yet, the argument remains, if you were to take emotions away from a situation, to take away a person’s ability to empathize with another human being, then problem solving, as is the most basic concept we live by would be brilliantly easy. Letting it all in though, the hurt, the pleasure, the pain, the love, is the fundamentals of who you are, even if it can be difficult to think clearly sometimes, for when we are responding to something emotionally, in that particular moment, this is all I can feel. I can see nothing outside of the feeling, because the mental sense has become so sensitive. I wander about empathy, wander are we living a second degree life- in that people go about living their lives, with us often piggy backing along to see how it felt?
The way people feel though, what they choose to experience or ignore is not something that we can dictate to, or control. We fear opening the floodgates for not being able to handle it, so just try and gain something from somebody, in the hope, or the expectation that it “feels the same?” This argument only really works if we only empathized with happy and positive experiences, for the empathy royal flush is not that simple. Whether its noticeable or not, whether you or I like it or not, everything has an emotional response. Everything. Good or bad moments, its irrelevant. So your response to a situation has passed- you start to think, beyond the basic decisions they are making and behaviors they display. The capacity to move away from what you would do in a certain situation to the way someone else would react, while only a slight change, can have a dramatic on how you think and feel, even if it can be mentally exhausting at times because it makes you feel just so much.
I am fearful of what empathy can do It can so often seem that we treat ourselves as such an afterthought, something to be “dealt with later.” I fear that in our haste to feel, think and understand how everyone else is thinking and to empathize with their situation we can lose focus on what makes us, us. This may sound selfish, but in the mire of everyone thinking and feeling so strongly about the world and the people in it, I feel that its as if we can lose ourselves in the thoughts and feelings of someone else, leaving what we desire, think and feel as an afterthought.
The floodgates, in all their majesty, should remain closed, for i don’t think i will ever truly understand how the whole empathy thing works, its more to me about knowing which doors we should keep open. If I’ve learnt anything from just writing this, at least one door should remain a permanent fixtures on the emotional floodgates.
The gates should remain closed, but there should always be a door to let yourself in.
Yours, with love as always.
5 thoughts on “Opening the Floodgates?”
You always know the right thing to say.
Wow these are some interesting thoughts. I agree, it is a difficult balance between letting ourselves be consumed by what happens around us and denying our own humanity. I think it is a worthwhile endeavour to find that balance though – it does not have to be one or the other.
It is true, I have a lot of empathy for others and see myself as an afterthought. Sometimes like you said we need to be sefish, although it is hard x
I don’t think I can ever open the floodgates. I’m not sure how I can handle it. I’ve always been used to putting up barriers and protecting myself.
I think it is important to open the flodgate and let yor feelings take over, becuase that is the only way you will be able to move forward, by opening up to let it all out.
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