Most who know me are aware that I love to dive in and discuss everything in great detail. A lot. To think deeply about where I have been in my life, about where I am right now and therefore where I am going. To examine and be aware of the imperfections of myself and of others, and then grow from there.
If there is one thing I know to be true of myself, it is this.
The thing is, however, that many people – both in my past and that are in my life now – find that I “push the issue” too hard, that I want to have too many “relentless” conversations seeking depth and clarity, that I “dwell” and “take things seriously”, or, quite simply, that I just “talk too much”.
Granted, many of these taunt are thrown my way in jest… That I’m a “Gabby Johnson” who “chews everyone’s ears off”… and I honestly take most of these on the chin. But, despite this, the above has become one of my biggest insecurities of now… That somehow, by reaching out with the true intent of connecting and growing, I also subject myself to criticism and even conflict, and can actually alienate myself from many of those closest to me.
Ironic, right? And yet I find myself continuing to “talk” anyway…
But I’ve realized something about the interactions I’ve been having recently – both with people I know and with brand new acquaintances – where honesty, heartaches, struggles and observations have been shared in abundance. In the last week alone, one girl I had only just met told me about the ongoing challenges of a long-term and very long-distance relationship. A guy I’d just met told me about the death of his mum when he was a teen, and his hardened reaction to the entire event. Someone close told me a story of a friendship that fractured in their twenties; something that they’ve clearly carried with them but that it seems they haven’t spoken about for a long time. Another poured out to me about their dysfunctional relationship, and another about a dysfunctional, unfulfilling friendship.
Thinking of having all these meaningful exchanges within such a short space of time, I couldn’t help but feel humbled and grateful. Not only because these shared personal stories allow me to learn so much about the other person, but because in the process I also learn immeasurable amounts about myself.
I’ve been thinking… “why?” Why do I find myself having so many of these exchanges, so often, and frequently with people I’ve only just met?
I’ve realized it’s because, in every case, I initiate by sharing my own struggles and failures without hesitation. About what I’ve learnt and am continuing to learn. About observations I’ve made, and ways I’m trying to improve my perspective. I then ask them meaningful questions about their own life, wholeheartedly projecting that there is always something to be learnt from another human’s experience. This way, I actively (yet somewhat unknowingly) create a space of trust and curiosity; the type of space I myself love to be in. And so, they share.
Basically, it is actually because I am “she who talks too much” that I frequently find myself connecting with people on a deep level, however brief. That I feel myself willingly growing with every fulfilling interaction.
This realisation came full-circle the other night when, within minutes of meeting my mum’s new lodger, this lovely young Italian girl – who has just gone through a heartbreaking summer herself – somehow arrived with me on this exact topic, and she shared this thought from the French philosopher Alain de Botton:
When you share with someone a struggle or vulnerable experience from your own life, you are literally handing them a tool to empathise with you, to understand you. Sure, they may not choose to take that tool from your hands, but you can at least offer it. This tool to understand you is ultimately a tool for them to also be understood.
Why, then, is perhaps the most common response to such openness: “But how can you be so honest with everyone, especially with those you barely know? It’s so cheap/unwise/inappropriate/dangerous? And, besides, why would they care at all about your personal business?”
What I have to say to that is this: there is always something to be learnt. When you meet someone new, or spend time with someone you already know, why not hand over a tool that can open a door to greater understanding?
And the worst that could happen? That person simply may choose not to accept that tool, because perhaps it is beyond their capacity, or simply preference, to open that door with you at that time. And yes, you might be left standing there, with a willing open hand. But all the while, you should feel whole knowing that you only offered a worthwhile connection with another, and that there are far more people out there keen to accept your open hand than those that will turn their backs. Believe me, as someone who has opened that hand more times than I could imagine, I know that so many people are sitting in waiting for such meaningful daily connections and exchanges. You could say that, truly, every one of us is.
And yet there will always be people around you that will look on with disdain or discomfort at your openness and efforts to have such exchanges. Some of those closest to me – family members, close friends and others alike – have made me feel like a round peg in a square hole by laughing (just a little too hard), or worse turning their backs in dismissal and even anger.
When I am told that I “think too deeply” or “talk too much”, I have always replied by saying – with a chuckle but also with the utmost sincerity – “But, in life, there is just so much to say.”
And there really, really is.
If there is one thing I have learnt/observed in my 23 years, it’s that change is the only constant. Therefore, within the inevitable chaos and disappointment that this universe hands to us, connection and growth is everything. It needs to be everything.
So, if this is your sincere intention, I say this: talk until you’re blue in the goddamn face…
(and then listen as much as, if not more than, you talk.)
By this sentiment, if I can even occasionally influence someone to open a conversation that is needed to soften the blow of that black hole of loneliness that we too often feel in this life, then I will keep risking the laughs, the jabs and the turned-backs so that I can at least try to offer up a safe place of mutual understanding to some that might need it. Because I want to grow, and because I know what it’s like to be in need of this myself.
I have known that feeling of holding an aching, shaking heart in your chest, and yet looking around and perceiving closed eyes, hearts and hands everywhere you have the energy to turn. Speculation and distrust and disconnection; it is literally on every corner. And it can make you want to die.
As the beautiful Brené Brown says:
Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
If we can share both our joys and sorrows with each other, in wholehearted vulnerability, only then can we together face the constant changing seasons of this thing called ‘life’ as connected and therefore as strong as possible, freeing us to the sheer beauty that existence has to offer every single beating heart.
And – truly – why else are we alive?
“Joy and woe are woven fine, a clothing for the soul divine.” – William Blake
Stay open. Stay connected. Tell your story. Be the eternal student you were born to be. That is all and everything we can ever ask of ourselves.
I am a work in progress, and so are you, and so is every single soul you meet.
Contributor, SERENE Social
About Georgia Takacs
Georgia Takacs is a 23 year old wellness entrepreneur and writer. After realizing that fashion journalism was quite the opposite of her calling, and enduring some time of emotional and spiritual adversity, she is now in the business of dedicating herself to connection, growth and the return to wellbeing. She is the Co-Founder of Noel Road, a new health and wellbeing company that has just launched the ‘Health Hampers’, and blogs at georgiatakacs.com. A deep thinker and big talker, she is passionate about mental health and somewhat aggressively believes that the new paradigm should be led by that one simple philosophy: people over profit.