Emotional recluse

I think a lot about relationships.

I’ve had some good ones, I’ve had some bad ones, but ultimately they’ve always failed due to some action(s) that I can only describe as my own fault. For example, moving back to Tennessee caused the initial crumbling of my second last endeavor. Most recently I got way too self absorbed when I began to think about starting my business, which took a toll on my relationship – ultimately resulting in its demise. So I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I started wondering how such a social creature was so ironically incapable of maintaining a successful relationship. Its the truth! I absolutely love being around people and talking to them and getting to know them. But why? Is it because knowing more people makes me feel better about myself? Or do I really just like to know as many people as I can? I can’t decide if its that I genuinely enjoy people, or if its because I’m super insecure and need constant validation. Honestly…I don’t know if I’m insecure or not. How do we figure that out? Of course (after reading this) the very fact that I’m insecure about knowing whether or not I’m insecure probably means I am – but whatever.

So here’s something strange I was thinking about the other day. I was looking at my Facebook page and I thought to myself – man, I post a lot. And so do particular friends of mine, even more so than me in many cases. So I wondered to myself why, and I came up with a weird answer. Honestly (at least in my case), I sort of think its because I don’t have a girlfriend to listen to me rant. Let me explain.

Psychologists have said that people inherently require a certain amount of emotional support. By this, they mean that people have a need to be validated in some form or fashion – whether its in regards to their beliefs, looks, talents, decisions, whatever. The point is that we want to be affirmed. Perfectly understandable. Now in most cases, this is done via our immediate friends and family – the people close to us. Well, I don’t have that (especially now that Mom’s no longer with me). Don’t get me wrong, its a decision I’ve consciously made in order to accomplish the things I want to accomplish in life. I think it would be selfish of me to try and foster a relationship when I’m so relentlessly focused on my career (which is really a more delicate way of saying I’m basically just trying to figure myself out). So not having a girlfriend is a sacrifice I’ve had to make – meaning the absence of an emotional outlet is my own doing. In order to finish my writing, work on my business, and do all the things I’ve set out to do, I’ve inadvertently made myself a bit of an emotional recluse.

Which leads me back to the social media thing. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy getting positive attention? I came to the realization that that kind of thing fills that emotional void I’ve been referring to. Truth is, if I was dating someone, I strongly doubt I’d have so much to say all the time. And I don’t think I’m the only one guilty of this. Even people with a spouse/family do this – perhaps to a different extent, but they do it nonetheless. Political activism is a good example. People have such a need for their beliefs to be valued that they post it online in order to obtain that confirmation.

My point by saying all this is that I feel like it should be said that its OK to do this. Its a perfectly understandable human characteristic that has its roots firmly settled in the most foundational of our genetic makeup. So for all of you who get criticized expressing yourself too much or in the wrong way – keep doing what you’re doing.

Of course, there’s also a negative effect that social media has in this regard. While its good that everyone now has an outlet to express themselves – its also made it much easier to become an emotional recluse. In other words, its very effectiveness can have a counter-effect on REAL emotional fulfillment. If we can obtain emotional support/validation through a digital medium, then it effectively eradicates the necessity of actually getting out there and creating real relationships. Its a conundrum, right?

In any case, I don’t think we should get TOO caught up in all this (although I obviously have). But this is my new blog – isn’t this where we’re supposed to talk about stuff like this? Oh well…I guess I’ll get back to my Facebook posting : P

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