inter[DON’T]act

I was falling asleep maybe a week or two ago, simultaneously thinking of possible blog posts as I was slipping into my sleep cycle (fun fact: one of my most creative and zany times of the day is the ten or so minutes before I fall asleep). Somehow I thought of inter[DON’T]act. So I invite you to read this ramble and hear me out. Allow me to explain. Maybe you’ll learn something new, or maybe you’ll be reminded of something that is relevant to your life right now.

First, I need to preface a bit before I delve into the actual point of my writing.

We are constantly interacting. Communication is everywhere. I’m communicating with you right now through these words. The world is constantly communicating ideas with us, and we communicate with everyone around us whether we realize it or not.

An essential part of communication is interaction. Google defines interaction as “reciprocal action or influence.” We put forth an action, and expect a sort of response or acknowledgement of that action. The concept makes sense and it seems simple, but it’s actually quite complex. To me, the question is not how but why. 

I’ve been spending a good bit of time lately thinking about how I interact with others. Lately, I’ve had moments where I’ve attentively reflected on my emotions, my moods, my word choices, and my actions. What was my motivation for saying a certain phrase? What was the root of my frustration or my happiness? Why?

So, I’ve pondered, I’ve ruminated, and I’ve gained some answers through my introspection. That brings me to the title this post: inter[DON’T]act. I’m not saying “don’t interact.” I’m saying “don’t act while interacting.

If you haven’t realized, I’m quite the perfectionist. While I think I’ve made my self-expectations more reasonable, I still love reaching the highest bar that I set for myself. I love assuring myself that others will perceive me as a completely positive individual without flaws, negativity, or weaknesses.

But hm. Would I be completely human without my flaws? Would I completely real without my weaknesses? Would the happy moments be so happy if I didn’t have the not-so-happy moments to balance out the good times?

Occasionally, I find myself feeling guilty for feeling angry, being angry at myself for feeling sad, or being sad simply because I’m not happy. Then sometimes I like to mask this negativity by suppressing it and pretending it doesn’t exist because how ABSOLUTELY terrible it would be to admit that I’m fully human and that sometimes my perception of the human experience is not perfectly joyful. (I hope you feel my sarcasm, but here’s a note to acknowledge it in case you didn’t realize how facetious that was). It’s healthy to have that emotional balance.

Clarification: I’m not encouraging anyone to act as a fountain of negativity to the people and world around you. No, no, no. However, I’m calling us all to question the authenticity of our actions and emotions, and comprehend that it’s okay to not be completely happy 100% of every second of every moment of every day of every month of every year. Everyone needs a little saltiness here and there. It keeps us human.

Being consistently genuine is a challenging yet invigorating experience, especially in the midst of a society that is so heavily judgmental and has such standardized expectations of the human person. Now since you read this (thanks by the way), I’m going to assign you and me some homework: “Don’t act when you interact. Be when you interact. Be who you are.”

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