IT'S NOT THAT DEEP
Warning: Corny blog post (borderline diary entry) ahead, but that's okay.
I've grown to detest this phrase. The nonchalant nature of my college experience was covered with it, though - whether it was said to me or I was saying it to people in response to "overreactions" to different situations. Of course there are moments where the way we react to these situations definitely warrants a valid freak out. But my vendetta with these words is obviously not in reference to those moments.
A concept my girl Chloe got me hip to while we were in college was the difference between a person's intent vs. their impact. Pretty self explanatory, but still really makes you think. As victims in some situations and victimizers in others, it gets hard to prioritize our impacts over our intent.
As a very emotionally fluid person, I would see red when a friend would tell me my reaction to their mistreatment was not that deep. Finally finding a way to express how a situation makes me feel is liberating until the response is "I didn't know you felt that way" well this is me telling you; "I'm sorry you feel that way" that's not a real apology; "I didn't mean to" well you did; or "it's not that deep". I would have never learned this lesson if I kept my feelings to myself all the time. I'm starting to notice I often keep my thoughts to myself because I'm nervous about the outcome of sharing them, or how I'll ultimately be perceived. Along the same vein, I get frustrated that I am not being honest with myself when I bottle them up.
Though going through the experience of opening up can be a hard one, having your feelings invalidated only makes it harder. Deflective and dismissive comments like "it's not that that deep" and "I didn't mean to" don't change the fact that there is still an issue that needs to be addressed, if not makes matters worse.
I know I am guilty of sometimes discrediting emotions and opinions, and the only way I hope to be better at that is to bridge the gap between my intent and my impact by acknowledging my faults in how I communicate and express myself. My friends and family can vouch for me when I say that I can keep an argument going like it's my job. But I definitely don't like to, of course. I don't want to encourage complaining whenever there's a chance to, I just hope to empower being honest with yourself and others in a productive and healthy way. The "being honest with yourself" part is a little easier than with others in situations like this, though. I often find myself in an internal match of tug-of-war. Should I say something to them now or later? Should I say anything at all, or will I sound rude? It's all tough and I am learning as I go how to win that match.
I'll wrap up my rambling with a great quote I found. "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." I wish I knew who really said it, but Google says it's Theodore Roosevelt so we'll go with that. How much a person knows and how much they care are both important in deciding how you choose to feel about a situation, but not as important the effort of clarity and understanding on both ends.