Sunday, 9 February 2014

To feel or not to feel - emotions and their uses

- What are you doing?
- Nothing.
- You're reading something. What is it?
- Just something boring.
- If it's boring, why are you reading it?
- Because I can't think of anything else to do. I don't really like spending all day in front of the computer and am quite often bored, but I can't think of anything else I'd like to do, either...

I live with my boyfriend, who is really strongly an intellectual. He thrives on projects that challenge his intellect and ultimately needs them to feel fulfilled. He is unemployed, just as I am, and as there isn't an abundance of such projects that are both challenging and meaningful enough to be engaging in his life, he quite frequently feels bored. He spends his days in front of his computer, playing games, watching series and movies, reading articles on the Net, and participating in lots of discussions on various different forums. I have tried to get him interested in one of my hobbies - the fitness stuff is the latest example - and take him with me to the social gatherings I have with my friends to include him in our activities, but he's not interested. I have asked him if there is any hobby he can think of that he'd be interested in, but the answer is always the same: he can't think of any.

I, myself, don't have this problem. Quite the opposite: there are so many things I like to do that I don't have enough time for them all! There's cross stitching to do, movies and series to watch, audiobooks to listen to, books to read, poems, essays and short stories to write, delicious foods to cook and all sorts of mouth-watering pastries to bake, all sorts of video games to play (including but not limited to fitness games), cards to make, ... and, when I'm in the mood, I might light a scented candle or drop a few drops of an essential oil mix onto an aroma stone, put on some appropriate music (or not, sometimes silence is best), and just sit on the sofa and let the scent (and music) take me to a trip into my inner world (these trips are always quite interesting, as you never know beforehand where you'll end up and what you'll find along the way). Of course, I don't find all of these activities appealing all of the time, but I can always find something I'd love to do. I am never bored.

I am quite emotional, and take pride in that fact. Nevertheless, I am not controlled by my emotions: I ride them, channel them - they are my strength and I am in control of them. I enjoy and readily explore my emotions, there is something beautiful and inspiring in each and every one of them. Anger, Joy, Sadness, Frustration, Triumph, Happiness, Despair, ... they can all be converted into art (poems, short stories, cards) or energy, or sometimes both. There's beauty in everything if you only know where - or perhaps how - to look. Maybe this is somehow connected to why I never feel bored? At least it is one of the big differences between me and my boyfriend. He consciously distances himself from his emotions, taking pride in the fact that he doesn't feel much. His strength lies in having a lot of intelligence, but not too many strong emotions. I can see how a life like that would be very boring for me...

You might think that opposites like this wouldn't mix very well. True enough, I get frustrated sometimes when I need someone to share my feelings with. He can listen to them, but is unable (and unwilling) to share them, and always manages to flatten my joy, triumph, or any positive emotion with his cold intellectual analysis. (The latest example of this is when I, stupidly, went to him a week ago to share my excitement about having been able to keep my weight going down for four weeks in a row. He told me that a tiny weight loss like that was nothing to get excited about, that a person's weight can easily fluctuate a kilo or two into either direction even when there is no apparent reason for it, and to come to him when I had some real results to show or when I needed some concrete help researching more effective weight loss methods. That totally flattened the excitement I was feeling, even though I strongly felt that having been able to keep my weight going steadily (albeit slowly) down for that long was a justifiable cause for some excitement. My comment of "What about some emotional help/support?" went unanswered. Needless to say, I will no longer be going to him to celebrate my small successes with this project of mine.) Luckily, I have my wonderful friends who I can go to when I need to share an emotion. They are very precious to me and I don't know what I'd do without them. I feel so lucky to have them in my life.

This problem of not being able to share emotions (easily solved by having friends who I can share my emotions with) aside, I think my boyfriend and I are quite alright together. Our home is a very calm, quiet place and both of us can quite naturally and instinctively respect the other's privacy, personal space and need for "me-time". All of those things are very, very important to me. We both are also very patient people and neither of us likes to fight, so the few conflicts we have - we've lived together for over 10 years and we've had, like, two major issues - are always resolved peacefully through calm discussion, analysis and compromising. Voices are never raised. I could absolutely not live with someone who couldn't resolve any and all issues calmly and without a fight. My boyfriend's ability to remain calm and keep his emotions out of it gives me a certain sense of security - I can count on him acting rationally and not making any rash, out-of-the-blue decisions without careful consideration and intellectual analysis. He always has good reasons for his actions, and that makes me feel safe. I also know that whenever I face a problem, I can count on him for some well-thought-out and thoroughly-researched advice, and I appreciate that very much. I can - and do! - talk to him about anything, just as long as I remember that he probably won't share my feelings. He has a lot of knowledge about a lot of things and is very calm and collected, and therefore is a good, though a bit unemotional, conversationalist. He shows his affection for me by being very kind, thoughtful and patient with me, and we also exchange a lot of hugs and kisses every day. He's someone I can rely on, respect, and love. We make a good team, and balance each other out nicely.