Last night I was talking with a friend about my progress since getting out of business school. I went from naïvely feeling on top of the world to feeling that I was lower than dog crap and worthless. Now I’ve climbed part way back. As my friend pointed out, I am now at least to the point where I acknowledge that I have feelings and can talk about them, which hasn’t always been true.
It’s a reinforcing loop. As men stay silent, the culture becomes accustomed to men not expressing their feelings. Eventually, expressing feelings becomes an exception, exceptions aren’t tolerated, and the cost of not expressing feelings becomes over time too high to bear.
But I missed one point. As time goes further by, it becomes easy to forget that you have emotions. Which is a mistake. Emotions can’t be destroyed; they just get expressed in other ways, like inexplicably lashing out at friends or convincing oneself of one’s essential worthlessness.
I’ve been fighting a Black Dog since getting to Seattle, if not before. Now at least I have lifted the crushing cycle of self doubt and understand a little of what caused it. The only question about my newly rediscovered emotions is what to do about them?