“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” – Brene Brown
“Eulogy for the Living” was the title of my Facebook (FB) post which caused some family and friends some worry and concern.
I’m a firm believer of using social media wisely so I did think about it carefully before I posted it. For me, it was a social experiment with the following purposes:
- Find out what my family and friends currently think about me while I am going through a really difficult time after hitting 40 this February.
- Create more awareness about the value of mental health for people within my network as there’s obviously a stigma attached to it in Filipino society.
- “Cry For Help” was one of the subtopic title I used in that post because I really wanted to know how people would respond to a “call to action” like this one before it’s too late.
What made me even bolder to do this post is when I found out that Brene Brown also went through a breakdown and undergone therapy around the same time that her TED Talk on vulnerability went viral, and has now become one of the most viewed TED talks of all time…globally.
The Pain of Fake Friends
The other benefit I got from this post is that this confirms my suspicion that some people I consider as “close friends” do no longer follow my posts on Facebook. That means they have already “unfollowed” me on that platform because this was on top of my FB wall for one week and as promised on that post, I won’t add any other post to give proper air time for people to comment on it.
If these supposed to be close friends were still following me, they would’ve seen my post on their wall as other people commented on them.
This realization validated my action of “unfollowing” them too.
Why would I waste my time and effort liking and commenting on their FB post if they won’t do that for me? I have always despised “one-way friendships”.
I did get really interesting and heartwarming comments on this request for living eulogies for me. And for the appreciation of those who are taking the time to read this long post, here it is.
To clarify, I do not regret doing it and I was really intent in making the best out of it by coming up with a follow-up blog post about it – and this is it.
These are just three insights I’ve gathered from the risk I took in that social experiment:
- I need to belong to myself first before I could belong to others.
Your worth should not be attached to what you do, achievements, and what other people say. If I don’t love myself enough and accept myself fully including my flaws and my traumatic past, I won’t be able to really understand and love people well, which is part of my quest this year to “live and love people well.”
- What’s big deal for us may not be a big deal for others.
This post and having my family and friends comment on it was a big deal for me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it in the first place. But as I already mentioned above, other people within my network did not take the time to comment on it.
That’s probably because:
a.) They have already unfollowed me.
b.) This post does not mean anything for them.
c.) It’s very awkward for them that’s why they chose to ignore it.
I’m sure though that if my siblings posted on Facebook about me dying recently, that’s the only time they’d feel the urgency to react or respond to the post. But then it’s already too late because the person needing their affirmation and attention is already gone for good.
I use social media not only for entertainment, educational and inspirational purposes but also for genuine, albeit virtual connection. I don’t expect other people to do the same. But the point is, many of us are missing one crucial goal of social media use which is intentional communication.
- My “blessings in disguise” are different from other people.For several years that I’ve been single, I’m not saying this aloud but deep inside me, I’ve been feeling like “being single is a curse.” Not only the loneliness of being alone could be so palpable at times, but it hurts even more when people seem to question my humanity and seem to belittle me after finding out that I’m still single at this age.
Last Saturday, I took a Grab car from Makati to Antipolo because I need to bring some heavy stuff to my sister’s place. Coincidentally, the driver who I’ve talked to the whole trip used to live near the area where I’m going. He also told me that he’s been married for 13 years, but unfortunately he’s not happy with his wife because she lacks concern and care for him and his children. Then it hit me, what I’ve considered a curse all along was actually a blessing in disguise, rather than being married to a “wrong person” based on this Grab driver’s description.
The harsh reality of life is that I may be lonely and alone now, but other people may actually be feeling lonelier and even alone, while still being in a relationship.
After this talk, I thought what I’ve been considering a “curse” all these years, I now consider a “gift” – something I will choose to cherish all my life, if need be.
Though I may be scarred for life, I am now ready to get out of the pit of despair with really valuable lessons to take with me along this long and winding journey.
One of my greatest realization is that, I first needed to break down before I could break free so I could break through.
If I need to learn other lessons the hard way, then by all means I’m willing to go through the pain and suffering in order for me to learn it as best as I could.
For sure, the lessons I’ve learned in these tough times, have made me tough yet still tender as a human being. And because of these, I will be able to continue on my quest, even more inspired, to live and love people well.