Everybody knows about the little things. How you’re not supposed to worry about them but how it’s also all about them.
I’ve always found those references incredibly confusing and unhelpful. It’s something we really only address with someone we care about.
Or when you’re being given advice about what to do in a situation with someone you care about.
Does anyone else feel like this type of advice is a cop out? I don’t seek input expecting to have the person I’m unloading to embody Socrates. But hey, at least put a little thought into it instead of giving me clichés. I can look on a Pinterest inspiration wall for that. I need real life examples and constructive suggestions from you right now or else I would have emailed Dr. Phil and waited patiently like the rest of emo-America.
I think if the person giving you advice, your mother, your sister, brother, best friend, that one guy that went on that obnoxious last minute trip to that third world country riddled with violence and a bunch of people neither of you knew so now you have a special bond, offers the advice of, “don’t sweat the little things” or “it’s really the little things that matter,” they might as well be telling you to do drugs.
Don’t scoff at that comparison.
When people give you that sort of advice it’s a roundabout way of saying, just get over it or try not to think about it by focusing on other things that make you happy. It’s the emotion joint. It sounds good. It makes you feel good. You forget about what upset you and you even feel happy. But then that wears off and that thing that was bugging you happens again and you’re back to square one. It doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t solve the problem. That advice isn’t a resolution it’s a concession.
And if you’re okay with that, more power to you but for the rest of us who over-think and process emotions just slightly better than rocks, it doesn’t cut it.
I don’t want to be the person that gives crappy advice when asked for it.
I’ve been debating whether this train of thought is worth a post or if I should just throw it in my Google docs folder that I pretend isn’t a diary. So I did some research on the matters of advice and therapy.
Did you know that in April of last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study that 1 in 10 Americans report depression? Let’s face it, we’re all just bags of emotions running around, high on caffeine and slumping through an overdose of media consumption. We don’t have time to talk to one another because we’re so busy and there’s so much going on. Not to mention, we can barely keep up with our own lives, who has time to sit and listen to someone else’s if they’re not getting paid to do it. Partly because I love to write and partly because most people scare/bore/confuse me, I avoid talking to them. But lately, I’ve been trying to reach out more.
Because sometimes it just takes answering that torrent of texts from your friend who is in the qualms of a new relationship and really needed to write the problem out to relieve anxiety, or knowing what part of the extended silence you’re sitting through with your teary-eyed friend is the part where you embrace him or her.
And sometimes you’re walking through downtown Houston when a random guy offers you a towel because he saw you get drenched in water by that speeding vehicle but then he proceeds to telling you his life’s story leading up to his current depressed state and you just listen, hoping you made him feel a little better before he abruptly kicks you out of his apartment to go skipping in the street.
Whatever the situation. If we all took a moment from our self-absorption and offered some thoughtful time to a friend or stranger, it might make a difference. Who knows, maybe this year it will be 1 in 11. And for that, it’s worth it.
[Side note: That really did happen to me and my friend in Houston. It’s one of the things I love about the city. Here is a photo of the guy’s fridge which I feel is an accurate comparison of the waterfall of emotions he exhibited.]