For The Moments When You Think: “What’s The Point?”

“It seems I go through phases. Times where reading and expanding fails to interest me, and other times where I devour articles, videos, images, experiences, etc. with a voracious appetite. I don’t think, at least at this point in my life, that I’m a person of steadiness. I’m full of dips and valleys, climbs and peaks. I feel like one of those paintings thick with paint, a textural masterpiece of oil (or whatever the medium is..) on canvas. For the moment, I like this about myself. I’m content with it. Although I recognize the weaknesses in it, I am blessed with relationships in my life that fill me where I’m lacking. Where the dip and indents become too low, threatening to become too thin and break through, these precious connections layer over to uplift and create a stronger composition. The beautiful, loud, determined, quiet, reflective, kooky people in my life smooth out my bumps with seamless ease. My texture remains but the road becomes less bumpy, and therefore, makes for a more enjoyable ride.”

I wrote this the other day in a coffee shop, and it just poured out of me. Sometimes writing can happen like that. I want to share this because it speaks to a topic that I often struggle with, and maybe you struggle with it too. I’m not a particularly zen or steady person. I operate in waves, I move up and down. I ride on highs of inspiration only to crash into valleys of stress and despair. For me, this diary passage shed some light on how I balance my extremes.

There are so many days when insidious thoughts run through my mind. I can feel them creeping up and I do my best to shove them away but inevitably they resound in my head, clear as a bell. I hear: “What’s the point?”

What’s the point of fixing my resume logo and blogging about cookies, no one reads it anyway. What’s the point of trying to find a better job, there are too many people more qualified. What’s the point of going to yoga, it will take time away from other tasks I need to get done.

These thoughts harp away at my nerves. Everything starts to feel hopeless and I begin to sink into a depressing and entirely unhelpful view of the world. I can always feel when I’m about to slip, when my grip becomes too sweaty and I am on the verge of falling. I can recognize the uselessness and ridiculousness of it all, but that doesn’t stop it. I can’t help it, and time after time, I get stuck in these indentations.

When we juggle so much in our daily lives, it’s easy to stress out about the details. If we don’t have x together right away then no matter how well we are doing on y and z, it is all awful. At least that is the extreme view that often grabs hold of my thinking. We can tell ourselves to just go step by step, little by little, that’s how we get anywhere in life. It doesn’t all just happen overnight. But somehow when we are alone with our thoughts, it can seem like we are yelling at a crowd at a football game, our voice is too soft to be heard above the screaming fanatics. So, in these instances, how do we find the eject button?

For me, it comes by talking to someone. That’s the only way to silence the negative and get out of myself. When I am around a person who knows me well, they can point out the fallacies, they can tell me how crazy I’m being and can talk me down from the cliff. When I am trapped in my head, the voices feed on each other and multiply. But as soon as someone shines a spotlight on them, singles them out one by one, they lose their power. Like a plant wilting in the hot summer sun, the demons shrivel under the scrutiny.

Now, I didn’t discover this overnight (even though now it seems really obvious) but, over time, I learned that it takes that soft slap in the face for me to come back to reality, to find equilibrium. And each time I call out my insecurities, they lose power. It becomes easier to wrangle my fears the next time they start to go out of control. For me, that is the ultimate form of therapy. That is why I’m grateful for the relationships in my life. That’s what venting sessions with friends are for, and most of the time, that’s all it takes to keep my energy flowing in the right direction.

That’s why this journal entry I wrote meant something to me. It came from a place of clarity. A mini-realization about myself that, on the outside, looks like “so what, big deal” but these ideas gave me a deep feeling of relief and peace. In some ways, it feels vain of me to share this on the Internet. I once again hear the voice saying, “What are you doing? What’s the point? No one cares.” But then I think about how experiencing other people’s catharsis and rushes of creative release, help me and round out my perspective of life and self. The more others open up about how they deal with their problems, the more secure I feel. When people share their inner conversations, I feel relieved that I’m normal, just a part of the human family. Because we all deal with things in our own way but usually there is a connecting thread that sews us together and reminds us we aren’t alone in our worries. And, I think in the end, that is the best relief of all. 

image – Ken Douglas

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