Too many feelings

June 1, 2013

I've always been a social person, but the effort of socializing exhausts me. I need regular time alone to recharge and have the energy to talk to people once again.

My wife is the opposite: she loves to socialize and draws energy from the people around her. Not me; I just want to run away after they're gone. Actually, when I was a kid, I'd even leave parties half-way through, find a quiet spot and take some time to myself before returning to the party. I needed space to breathe.

The most important people in my life are my wife, our three kids, our extended family, friends, co-workers and clients. Each of them are individuals and as such, of course have their own feelings. That is, stuff they're dealing with, issues they're working through or news they want to share.

For a guy like me who can only take in so many others' feelings, thoughts and words before needing to escape and recoup, adding more feelings to my pile is really hard and best avoided. If I'm going to listen to and empathize with others, the feelings of the most important people in my life will always come first.

Not too long ago, I realized this was a primary motivation in deleting my Facebook account that I'd held for years. At the time, I deleted it because it bummed me out and was too distracting. After some time away and upon further reflection, I realized it was due to unwanted overload.

This also why I'm no longer on many of the other popular social networks. On each, there just exists too many people wanting to share too many feelings - and constantly seeking way too much validation; something that they should be getting elsewhere - and I was almost always completely out of capacity to absorb, process and deal with it all.

I don't know if admitting this makes me come across as an insensitive jerk, but it's truly the way I feel (look, more feelings!) and me removing myself from those arenas has helped lower my stress and anxiety levels. Simply, I'm not as stretched.

As it's said by Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings, I felt, "like butter scraped over too much bread."If you're the same way, I hope reading this helps. If you're not, well, I bet you're glad I shared!