One thing that I remember absolutely hating when I was younger was whenever my mother had to stop and talk to anyone – which was everyone. I was so embarrassed and I could not understand why she had the need to make a connection with every person she came across. When I would ask her about it, she would say
“You never know what their day has been like, maybe you can brighten up their day with a connection”.
I felt like she would take it too far she would engage in discussion with a maid at a hotel, or someone who happened to be crossing the street with us. Why? I was an extreme introvert as a child. All I could think about was that those people probably wanted to be left alone, just like I did. I had no desire to talk to strangers so why would strangers desire to talk to me? or in this case my mother.
The funny thing is, as I have gotten older, I have developed her desire for connecting with others. I often find myself picking up conversations with the butcher, a waiter, a store owner, and anyone with a pet. I am probably one of the dreaded mothers at school drop-off because I feel like I haven’t completed my day if I haven’t said hello to all the mothers I know. I do find myself saying the same things that my mother said “Maybe I can make their day a bit brighter”.
I didn’t think I was known for this though, until I was in the car with my father today. He mentioned “I noticed you didn’t talk to many people yesterday”. Yesterday’s post might explain this better but I had an emotionally taxing day to put it mildly, and he had been aware of the situation. I said “Nope”, and didn’t offer to discuss it further as yesterday’s memories were painfully fresh in my mind. However he kept going…
“Well, you normally are very welcoming and I think you should have shown people that side of you yesterday.”
My mother was in the car as well as I was dropping them off at the airport. I was quiet for a while before I answered:
“you know dad, I like to make others feel good, but yesterday I wasn’t feeling good. I did not have the energy to be energetic and upbeat to those around me. I don’t have to be ‘up’ all the time. It’s unnatural to be happy all the time and it’s perfectly understandable.”.
My mother quickly agreed and my dad said “I guess that’s true.” I don’t know if I’m the only one here, but there is pressure to always look and feel happy and this is not only unnatural but it’s not healthy. If we don’t consider our “down days”, then we bottle up this emotion and it can turn into something more chronic and serious. I was surprised that this video popped up on social media which explains it perfectly.
After I dropped them off at the airport, instead of going home right away I took myself to a coffee shop. I got myself a coffee and went and sat in the car for a few minutes and took some time for myself. Just observing the quiet and making some time for me. I told myself there was no need to rush as I sipped away.
There are days it feels better to connect, and days it feels better to disconnect. Sometimes we don’t get a choice, but in the moments we do, it’s perfectly acceptable to decide what you need. I hope you have a good week ahead and take care of yourself so you can be a better you.