May 17, 2022

The Westfield Voice

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Outlets and their many forms

3 min read

I am of the opinion that everyone experiences times of intense anger and sadness, sometimes both at the same time. Some people experience these emotions more frequently than others. These emotions are natural to the human condition, so it is important to note that one is not abnormal because of the feelings they are experiencing.

The Bard himself, William Shakespeare, describes such intense feelings through his hero Hamlet in “The Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark,” where he asks that immortal question “To be, or not to be.”

Now, in this he contemplates the reasons for which mankind stays in this world through the “whips and scorns of time.” He wonders, quite famously, why we do not “end/The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks/That flesh is heir to.” Hamlet is, of course, incredibly damaged, and many strong feelings of both sadness and anger are exhibited in his behavior and his soliloquies. What Hamlet does not do is keep his emotions within him; he has an outlet.

Now, there are some outlets that are healthier than others. For example, in Hamlets case, there is a lot of self-deprecation involved in his venting. Not only that, but he also speaks to no one but the air. Other people use friends or family as an outlet for their anger by lashing out in the form of physical or verbal abuse. This does not help anyone, and only hurts those around you. There are resources for those with these issues, and if my reader believes he or she is doing any of this, I would urge you to seek help. For those who may be physically or verbally abused by someone in these circumstances, I would you to seek help as well you as well.

I believe that the healthiest outlets depend upon the individual, and sometimes the subject that is the source of this intense emotion. Sometimes that source can be difficult for an individual to put their finger on, but there are some simple outlets that can do wonders; however, the question I have is whether or not the normal outlets many people recommend are actually healthy.

(Photo from wordpress.com)

 

Whenever an individual is going through a hard time and comes to me for help, they often tell me the story of what occurred; they use me as an outlet. Many times people tell me things that I am not comfortable with knowing, but for some of these people, I am their only outlet. The truth is, as much as I listen, I am not a trained counselor or therapist. I am not qualified to give them the kind of help that, in the end, they may need more than a nod and a kind word. Of course, these things do not hurt; however, in my experience, they only diffuse the issue, and sometimes enable the issue to continue.

An individual should never have just one outlet, and using a friend, as that only outlet can be beneficial to a point. This can be unhealthy for the outlet, however, as they carry the emotional baggage of the person who has come to them for help. As much it is the purpose of a companion to be there for their friends, it should not be at the expense of their own mental wellbeing. Nevertheless, this is what is often primarily suggested to an emotionally unstable individual, or someone who just wants some help through a tough time in their life.

There are many other outlets that people use that others often suggest: drinking, partying, gaming, listening to music, reading, hiking, working out, etc.

Only a few of those, however, have been widely considered to be unhealthy. The unhealthiest outlet can be depending on a friend or acquaintance as their main source of comfort or council.

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