Having emotional support in life can make or break who you become, what you do and who you choose to be with.
However, not everyone gets this unconditional love and support from their parents, friends or partners. In some cases, it’s the apathetic attitudes of those in our lives that hurts us more than having someone downright disagree with our decisions.
On the surface, apathy seems like a less confrontational alternative to an argument or a pronounced disapproval — but does the silent treatment really work? If we choose to be apathetic, we’re showing a complete disregard for feelings or emotions. Hello, Mr. Roboto.
Unlike our friends in the animal kingdom, humans are fully capable of showing and verbally expressing emotions, so we should probably ignore our apathetic tendencies and get all emotional up in here. Cry, scream, yell or just talk.
While I know certain subjects are hard to breach when you know the person you’re talking to may very well disapprove — sexuality, dating or educational decisions all come to mind — talking about them is healthier than not.
At least if someone disagrees with what you’re doing, they are still invested in your life and show that they care about your existence through and through. If, for example, your parent disapproves of your new relationship after demanding to meet the new boy or girl you’ve been out with all night, at least you know they care.
Some parents refuse to acknowledge their son or daughter’s sexuality while others can’t be bothered to attend their kid’s convocation because they don’t approve of the path down which their child is going. Ignoring things you do not like about someone isn’t going to make them go away. It’s only going to piss everybody off and create tension.
On the flip side, when something really good happens — when you fall head-over-heels in love, graduate from university, get a great job or finally figure out what the hell you want to do with your life — you need to hear the roaring applause from those in your life who matter most. We may think we don’t need the positive reinforcement from our supporters, but deep down we do.
Sometimes these interactions are annoying as hell, but the general propelling factor behind questioning or supporting the activities in someone else’s life is an overall concern for the other person. This is a good thing.
While I’m no shrink, I’m pretty sure on a fundamental level we all need to feel that someone cares about what’s going on in our lives. At least, that’s what I’ve learned throughout my 22 years of life.
Perhaps there are some of us who live like cats; such people don’t need to feel overly loved and subsequently hate most people — but maybe those of us who function like this have never known the alternative.
And yes, having cat-like independence can be a good thing but, as the Beatles said, “we get by with a little help from our friends.” Be independent, but also know when you need support or assistance — regardless of whether it’s on an emotional, physical or financial level.
Everyone functions and deals with situations differently. If you’re invested in someone else’s life, knowing how they deal with life’s problems is the best thing you can learn to do.
For some, being apathetic might be exactly how they initially need to deal with an issue. Someone important to me calls himself a “deliberator,” which essentially means he has to mull something over in his head first before he talks about it with anyone. Then, it usually helps if someone else draws the information out of him.
It’s funny; lots of people want to talk about serious things but they more often than not don’t know how to get the conversation going themselves.
But the good friends, parents and partners in our lives will note when something is off and requires an engaging discussion to seek resolution. That’s what makes relationships in all walks of life so dynamic: they require two people to make them work.
If you’re lucky, you’ve probably got someone in your life that is your venting station and subsequent support on which you can lean. Maybe it’s your mom, dad, partner or even cat because “he just gets you.” The bottom line is we all need someone to support us along the way.
And because I’m hell-bent on getting people to toss aside their apathetic ways, I encourage those of you who have supportive friends, parents and partners to acknowledge them.
Let’s be emotional, talkative and cause fights. The only chance we all have of becoming healthy, stable and emotionally aware adults is by dealing with the shit from our past and our present.
Graphic: Cody Schumacher