A Positive Experience.
I saw an old friend recently, someone who knows me very well.
We chatted for a few hours outside a Hampstead cafe drinking water, lemonade and banana bread. We walked on the Heath. We talked about our fundamental changes as people, how our lives had twisted and turned, how people reacted to us since these changes, how our work had changed, how our careers had changed, how our ideas of happiness had changed. We talked about feelings, about how we both perceived life from our own perspectives and how events in life had given us different ways of looking at the world.
It was an afternoon of deep conversations with barely any “you won’t believe what happened to me” type stories about missing a parking space or a washing machine breaking down.
The topic of each conversation was ourselves, each one a small, personal baring of the soul or sharing of thoughts, a vignette into the things that happen inside our minds, rather than repeating the events that occur outside of our minds, like washing machines breaking down or missing trains.
It was a really enjoyable afternoon, out in the warm, late August leafy sun. I came home and felt a shift in my engagement with the world, I felt a positive sense of enthusiasm and involvement with the world. I felt more engaged with life.
Why? Because I had connected with someone.
You see, when we talk about shopping lists, cars, bicycle parts, bad service and the best route from A to B, we’re not connecting with the other person, these stories reveal extremely little of who we are. Any conversation about practical, technical or mechanical subjects is largely devoid of emotion or connection. It’s possible to talk for many, many hours, about the finer details of any item in the world. Whether anyone is truly enjoying hearing it is another matter, and ultimately it doesn’t create any emotional connection with people.
The moment you talk of yourself, of your own thoughts and feelings, then you open yourself to someone else, you share yourself, and at that point, you connect. There’s a good chance that some people don’t want to connect, it’s a perfectly scary thing to some people, who might spend their entire lives obsessing over the details of things in a concerted effort to avoid any form of emotional connection to life or other people.
But that’s not your fault, just move on, because those people, who are closed to thoughts and emotions are never going to carry you forwards in life, they’re only going to hold you back.
Find Positive People.
I heard some advice a while ago that I should only socialise with positive people. I felt it a bit harsh, some people can’t help feeling down, or they have a hard time seeing the good things. But I truly see it now, I’ve spent time with people who only talk about the technical details of objects, which leaves me feeling desolate and bereft. Then I spend time with people who talk about the wild capabilities of the human mind and it’s consciousness through their own personal experience.
I know which one makes me feel good afterwards. I know which one leaves me walking away with a bounce in my step and a renewed vigour. I know which one is good for me, and that’s the important thing.