Upon his deathbed, Oscar Wilde was famously quoted for saying, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.”
Gallows humor, or witty remarks made in the face of a grim situation, have become the new way of communicating with the world, replacing honesty and emotional vulnerability.
We have become accustomed to removing all real and valid emotion from daily conversation and instead relying on dark humor and sassy comebacks to relate to others.
It is how we are successful in the workplace. It is how we are able to maintain “carefree” dating relationships. It is how we have learned to survive in this individualistic society.
We are taught by society that we must withhold emotion and instead place all of our time and effort into working hard and making things happen.
While this is not generally a bad principle, it has been misconstrued to seem as though we must be emotionally shut off entirely in order to be successful or respected.
We have been conditioned to believe that being emotionally detached is not only an acceptable quality, but also one we should intentionally develop.
Sarcastic complaints and emotionally void quips have become the new norm. It seems that it has become more acceptable to make a gallows joke than it is to open up to someone and be emotionally vulnerable in front of them.
Often people who turn off all of their negative emotions and put on the appearance that they live in a constant state of equilibrium are the most well-received and well-liked.
It is not that you should be an emotional wreck 100 percent of the time, or that you should be so open with your emotions that even a passing stranger knows the intimate woes and details of your life, but there is something to be said for transparency and honesty.
We are beings created to live and feel and experience emotions. Ecstasy and sorrow, joy and misery, intense pleasure and agonizing pain -— these are all emotions that we are meant to feel and experience.
Breadth of emotion is what allows us to grow as individuals, and sharing these feelings with other people is how we connect with them.
When we shut out these emotions, we our doing ourselves a disservice. We are not embracing what it means to be human.
We must learn that it is OK to tell friends what is hurting you or what struggles and adversities you are dealing with. We must learn that it is OK to cry and to ask for help and to not want to be alone.
Stop relying on dark humor and sarcasm to communicate your feelings. Making an edgy joke will not make you feel any better, nor will the people you share it with feel better connected to your life.
Vunerability should be more highly valued than snappy comments that avert commitment to any sort of true emotion.
Share both the good and the bad. Share great laughs and shed a copious amount of tears. All emotions are part of what make you human. All emotions make you feel alive.