Emotions and feelings, we really all have them. Yet we often find it difficult to talk about it properly and we stick to container concepts such as fine, chill and broke. In the book Is Broke a Feeling? Fifteen millennials tell their personal stories. These are about the struggles in daily life and the feelings that come with it.
The millennial group, born roughly between 1980 and 1996, is the largest generation to date. They grew up with the idea that the world is makeable, and that you can get there ‘if you just do your best’. This is reinforced by social media, where the positive side of life is often highlighted. This context means that the conversation about feelings (positive and negative) is rarely held, the writers notice. “The aim of the book is to evoke recognition through vulnerability and personal stories, and to make it easier for others to have the conversation,” say authors Renée Feijen (28) and Sjoerd Teeuwen (29).
Is Broke a Feeling? is the title of the book. The two millennials don’t think so. “We often use container words to express how we feel, words such as fine, chill, medium. But actually you don’t know exactly what the other means. We do this because we cannot find the right words for that feeling. After a night of partying you usually feel broke, but that is not really emotional emotion ”, says Sjoerd.
Millennials as a generation
Millennials’ parents grew up in a time when freedom, authenticity and liberation were central. “Our parents grew up in unprecedented prosperity, which also had an effect on the education of millennials. We grew up in a time where almost everything was going well ”, Sjoerd continues. “There were many opportunities for our parents. That created an image among the millennial generation that if you do your best, there are endless possibilities. ”
According to the authors, this image is reinforced by the rise of social media such as Instagram and LinkedIn. Here, almost only the positive sides of life are highlighted. It seems as if success and happiness have become a measure for many millennials. “At one point I got my satisfaction mainly from ticking off all the activities associated with a happy and successful life,” writes a millennial in the book. “We think that social media also has an influence on this. In particular successes, beautiful trips and joy are brought out. That someone experiences a struggle is not part of this ”, says Renée.“ A lot is about making the right choices. But not everything can be made, you cannot influence everything. ”
The authors see in their own circle that these elements can also have negative consequences, such as stress and burnout. It is not for nothing that 40 percent of millennials indicate that they have ever suffered from a burnout or similar complaints. And it seems that the number is now also rising due to the pandemic. “Everyone has struggles, I think. We want to show that having a conversation and talking about your feelings has helped us in any case. We secretly hope and think that this can help others too. ”
The personal stories in the book
The book originated from astonishment, the authors indicate. “The surprise that we have no words to describe our feelings and to tell someone else what’s going on, what you feel and how you experience things.” The book consists of several parts: a theoretical framework, an emotion fan, in which degrees of different emotions are described and the most important part: the personal stories of the writers. Stories about feelings, insecurity, vulnerability, and about what we experience, think and feel. The writers Sjoerd and Renée both also have their own story.
Sjoerd’s story is about the “perfect picture”. “I have made a perfect picture in my head of how I want to be, at work and in private situations. I want to comply with this picture at all costs. During the start of my first job, I noticed that I had already set the bar way too high for myself. As a result, there was little room for making mistakes and learning. So this perfect picture worked against me and this realization brought me a lot.
Renee: “My story is about trying to prove yourself to others. I have developed a pattern where I often show one side of my personality to others: my positive and tough side. I preferred to keep my insecurities to myself. At the same time, I look for confirmation from the people around me. For example with my colleagues or my manager. Until I found out that this pattern actually caused me unrest. Step by step I tried to break through this by showing more of myself to others. Then I noticed that if I did that, I no longer needed the confirmation from others. ”
The book Is Broke a Feeling? is here to order.
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