The Importance of Emotion
You're not guaranteed another day - One of the most important lessons I've learned
A lot of people tend to be very one side or the other on this topic: logic vs emotion. I myself fell into this trap as well, & thought I would share a very personal story of mine on how my viewpoint changed on this. If you were to ask me what was the most important lesson I felt I’ve ever learned, this would be one of them.
I used to have a very hard time letting people know that I cared about them. I've never been much of an emotionally expressive person, & that is probably partially due to not being much allowed to be when I was growing up, with some of the stuff that happened in my home life. I always leaned more toward putting aside my emotions & being logically driven instead. However, it was to what I would now consider an unhealthy extreme.
I remember thinking when I was younger how human emotion was pretty much entirely a flaw. & that showing strong emotion was being weak.
I softened up as I got a little older, but still, I had a problem with all my relationships being somewhat detached. In reality, I actually cared extremely deeply for people, especially particularly people that I considered friends. But for some reason, I always seemed to feel this worry that the amount I cared for them was too much, like any bit of emotion I was feeling was too deep & unnecessary. So I often made it a point to keep them “under control”.
Ironically, the result was that I unintentionally pushed a lot of people away who felt like I just never cared much about them.
It wasn't until after going through a very difficult lesson that I started to change this. As many who follow me may know, I'm in a band. Many years ago, we made a friend who helped open some opportunities for us touring wise. This person became a dear, beloved friend, who in many ways acted in what I would call '“fatherly" to my bandmates & I at the time.
Our first year on this specific tour, I was only on as the band's manager & not as a musician. As all the artists bonded over musician type topics (music theory, songwriting, playing live shows) at the place that we were staying, I felt rather out of place, & I kind of just went off on my own & sat scrolling through my iPod. This friend who had helped us get on the tour then came over & invited me to join him in watching a movie (Batman vs Superman, appealing to my nerdiness lol) with a couple of the other guys. The entire time on tour he always made sure my bandmates & I were included. As said, he became a very dear friend, & in many ways, him, & several others we bonded with, became like family (this commonly happens when you’re living on the road with people).
What he did for us actually meant so much to me.
& this was something I never got to fully tell him. Some time after we got off tour, we were contacted about him ending up in the hospital for some previous condition he had. I didn't know the details of it, but he seemed to get out okay & went back on the road & was still doing stuff with the tour, so I never thought much about it.
We were excitedly looking forward to seeing him & others from the tour in a few months at a music conference in Nashville, & I had just simply assumed that we definitely would see him.
In that time, one of my bandmates posted online a picture of us while traveling, on which this friend sweetly commented saying "Love you guys & miss you". I wasn't on Facebook much, so I never got the chance to respond to his comment... because 2 days later he ended up back in the hospital & passed away. I never got to respond with "love & miss you too".
…But more so, as brought up, I never told him how much of what he did for our band & I had meant to me...
This was one of the biggest, most painful lessons I ever had to learn in life.
We are never guaranteed to see anyone ever again. Unexpected things happen - car accidents, illness, etc. We ourselves are not guaranteed another day.
I felt more regret than I think I ever had felt before in my life. I felt guilty because I knew the only reason I never shared that with him was because of my own issues of not being open & vulnerable with people. Because of being uncomfortable with showing emotion or telling people that I cared & was grateful for them.
All I wanted to do was properly thank him, & I felt I couldn't. I just wanted him to know how much of an impact he had on the lives of others as he left this world, that his own life accomplished so much good. But all I could do was hope & pray that somehow he knew & realized that without it being said. He had an incredibly big heart for other people, & I just hoped he knew that it really did mean a lot to many of them.
So I promised to myself that I would do everything I could to never feel that regret again. I wanted to never again have that feeling of losing someone & never having told them how much they meant to me or how much I cared.
It can be difficult to do, but since then, I've always tried to think about with people in my life, “if something was to happen to them, would I have any regrets on anything I didn't say to that person?” With that, I also think about that regarding my own life, making sure I live in a way where, if something happened & I was to die tomorrow, I know I wouldn't feel any regrets. It may sound a little morbid, but that's how I constantly aim to live my life. & I honestly feel my life has felt much more fulfilling & happier because of it.
I forced myself to learn how to face & be comfortable with my emotions. To learn how to be honest about how I felt, especially with people I cared deeply for. I still consider myself absolutely horrible at this. It just doesn’t come natural to me. But I realized I would rather be really awkward about it than ever feel that regret again. & honestly, I find that most people are pretty understanding of the awkwardness as long as you're trying, lol.
I no longer feel emotions are a flaw, in fact, as difficult & a pain in the butt as they can be, they also are largely what makes human life so beautiful & worthwhile. They shouldn't be a main driving force in a large portion of our decision making, I most certainly still believe that. But they are still just as important to human life as logic is.
Because where their importance probably lies the most is in our connections with other people. And our connections to other people are what actually makes our lives feel like they have meaning; what tends to make us feel that these lives are worth living.