A Simple Lesson: Listen To Your Problems, Don’t Run Away From Them

I never believed much in “signs”. Maybe it’s because I never received one, or looked for one to be honest. But I got one last night, at least that’s what I think it was. It was either that or a wicked slap in the face.

A distant, acquaintance I guess you could call him, who I haven’t spoken to in months, somehow got me to listen. He made a point that my closest friends have tried to make for so long. I don’t know if I needed to hear it from someone else, someone who didn’t know everything about my life, but for whatever reason, he got through to me.

It’s a simple lesson: listen to your problems instead of running away from them. Stop pretending like you don’t care and start taking responsibility for your emotions. Respect them and pay attention to them before they lead you into a downward spiral.

I don’t know why I have always thought that I needed to appear tough, make it seem like things don’t phase me. People know me as someone who can handle a lot and someone who manages to laugh through it all. I think once people knew me as that type of person, I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t see a reason to change the way I handled things. At least not until last night when I realized how bad it could get.

I’ve been told many times that I’m cold and blank. I rarely show emotion and when things happen, I don’t take the time to deal with them. I either pretend things are not a big deal or pretend they aren’t happening. It’s a vicious cycle of denial.

A vicious cycle that I’m determined to end.

I’ve come to realize that standing emotionless after a slap in the face is not true strength. Strong people don’t ignore every negative experience and let it eat at them from the inside out. Running from your emotions and hiding them behind the 10 foot walls you’ve built around yourself is not strong. It is a defense for the weak. And it is a defense that can only last for so long until your walls come crumbling down on you.

Strong people don’t build walls. They don’t deny their feelings. They embrace them and then tackle their problems head on.

All this time I thought I was strong for handling all that’s been thrown at me. I realize now that I’ve been weaker than most. I understand what my friends have been trying to get me to understand for so long. They don’t want to break down walls. They don’t want a cold friend who is incapable of showing emotion. They want to see that I’m human that I can react like everyone else.

Here I am thinking I need to keep my feelings bottled up so I don’t let people down. What I see now is that I’ve let a lot of people down. I’ve ruined relationships because I never seemed like I cared enough. I look back and see that I did care but I just couldn’t show it.

I think we all need to hear this lesson. Maybe we need an experience, maybe just an encounter with someone who has experienced first hand what its like for all those walls to come crashing down. Whatever it may be, whoever it may be, listen. We’ve all got a lot to learn and if we don’t learn to embrace how we feel, we may stop feeling all together. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Uber is a mobile app that hails cabs for you. Click here, sign up, and get your first ride with Uber for free.

More From Thought Catalog