YOU CAN ASK ANYONE in the world for anything. You can ask for a lift to a party. You can ask someone on a date to Giapo (best ice cream shop in Auckland). You can ask for a good night’s sleep. You can even ask for someone to just talk to.
Yesterday, I was really struggling with something that was on my mind. In the past I would have kept it to myself. Even though it was the middle of the day, I texted a friend and asked if they had 15mins to just chat about this thing that was bothering me. Incredibly, they did. So we talked. And by the end of this very short chat I felt so much better. Even though all I’d done is blab away for 15mins, in that time, by saying out loud what was swirling around in my mind, it clarified my thoughts in a way that would have probably taken weeks if I’d kept it to myself.
You’re not alone in the way you feel – both good and bad. When we share how we feel with people we trust – whether that be a friend, a family member or a psychologist - it can be such a relief. However you feel about NCEA exams or even just that big fat pimple right on the end of your nose, I can guarantee you will feel better if you talk to someone about it. Most of us have had big fat pimples on the end of our nose and all of us have had big fat NCEA exams.
Sharing how you feel is about showing vulnerability and as you’re probably aware, showing vulnerability is scarier than that fake tan you wore to the school ball. It takes courage to own who you are and how you feel. If I had talked more openly to my friends and family about what it felt like to do high school, it wouldn’t have felt so hard and lonely. I think I kept quiet, because I was afraid of what people might think. Maybe they’ll think I’m weak? Or maybe they’ll think I’m not good enough? Or worse, maybe they won’t like me. When you talk about how you feel anxious, the anxiety loses its power over you. When you talk about how you feel underprepared for calculus, only then can you start to put a plan in place to help you feel prepared.
When you feel anything that makes you uncomfortable, just talk. Help is like Uber Eats, when you ask for it it shows up. And sometimes you get a free dumpling. As much as it is important to talk about the things that make you feel bad or scared or sad, it’s just as important to talk about the good things. For example, last night I slept on a memory foam pillow for the first time in my life. It’s the fanciest pillow I’ve ever had and I slept like a baby – one that doesn’t cry through the night. Are you getting sleepy? Okay, I’ll move on.
When you share the good times and the bad times, people see that you’re human. And everybody loves a human. We need to own the good things we’ve got going on in our life with the same intensity that we own the dark parts of ourselves.
Take what is inside you and put it out there into the world. And you’ll find that what the world gives back is love, understanding and support. Until you tell your best friend that calculus sucks big sweaty ones, how will they know to share their study notes with you? Until you tell your psychologist you feel sad, how will they help you learn to feel happy? Until you tell your dad that you’re getting bullied at school, how will he know that you need a hug? And brass knuckles.
Writing out your thoughts is a great start, but it’s usually not enough. There’s something that happens when you say stuff out loud to someone that adds clarity to your thoughts. To walk the walk in life, you’ve got to talk the talk. So talk. And don’t stop talking. You will face many different types of ‘NCEA exams’ in your life – getting fired from your job, heartbreak, debt, death - but when we talk about them with one another, we can overcome them far more easily than when we face them alone. Friends, family, psychologists and memory foam – support is all around you.