Pain demands to be felt.
Love demands uncertainty.
And freedom demands consequences.
I think that in the midst of our chaotic lives, we guard ourselves from vulnerability.
The fear of rejection and failure runs the course of our lives.
But we allow it to.
We smile at the pain, ignorant of the inspiration that can be gained from it.
We run from love although it is capable of freeing us from worry.
We find impossibility in freedom and drown in the comfort of restraint.
Perhaps if we didn’t allow fear to dictate our lives, we would live with less pain, more love, and bask in our freedom.
Perhaps then, we would finally be able to breathe.
There are many things in this world that I fear of. They say that fear holds us back from doing what we want most but having no fear whatsoever would leave us oblivious and naive. I fear the unknown. I fear not having answers. But more than that, I fear having the wrong answers. I fear commonsense.
What I’ve learned about commonsense is that there is none. Everything that we assume we know can be looked at from a different perspective and similar questions we all have can be answered with different opinions in mind. We tend to forget about the grey area that lies between what is thought to be right and wrong. But maybe it’s not that we forget about it. Maybe we are simply ignorant towards it. I for one admit that I love having answers. It makes things easier. It makes life less complicated. But the problem comes when we fail to question anything anymore, simply assuming that what we know is correct. How do we know that though? Is it because that is what we learned while growing up? Is it because that is what our parents, teachers, guardians, or siblings told us? Is it because someone we look up to shares the same view?
I believe one of the scariest things someone can do is live their entire life not questioning anything and then waking up one day unhappy but confused because they thought they did everything they were ‘supposed’ to do. They did everything the ‘right’ way but then realized that that was not what they wanted in the first place.
I’m not saying there is a time limitation on when you should be doing what you should be doing but the longer we live without questions, the longer it will take to find the answers. What we don’t always realize is that the answers we have are subjective. They are useful, but usually they are only beneficial for ourselves. And other times, we will realize that there are some questions we have that we will never receive answers to. I think a reasonable goal to achieve for the benefit of our own mental state is to be able to live with questions and only questions. Once we are able to do that, I think we will find more peace and content in our lives.
We tend to focus on conversing about our accomplishments all too often, which is not a bad thing I might add. It’s good to be proud of ourselves. However, we don’t place enough importance on our struggles. We either forget or fail to mention what it took to reach that particular goal. In an attempt to embody this ideal image of ourselves, we place great emphasis on our strengths. Many believe the media to be the source of instilling this idea of perfection into our minds, however, I think that this stemmed from our own insecurities – the media then took its course and used the power of influence to emphasize them.
We have taken it upon ourselves to be unique, strong and independent because that’s what our society defines as success. But in the works of becoming who we strive to be, we tend to embellish the individual we currently are in the face of others – A.K.A.: We fake it ‘till we make it. Again, nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with striving to become a better person or setting goals for yourself. However, in the midst of all of this, we place band-aids on the wounds left on us and cover up the scars that reveal any sign of struggle, hoping they will vanish with time. We don’t want to look back on the hardships and so we aim to forget about them altogether. When we are finally happy and proud of succeeding in a particular goal, we tend to get lost in that emotion.
We don’t want people to know how hard it was to accomplish this because that would make us look weak. We don’t want to people to know we needed much help and support along the way because that would make us appear to be less independent. We don’t want to tell people that we were inspired by someone else because that would make us less unique.
Each struggle we face seems to be the toughest one we have to conquer. We look back on being a child, reminiscing on how simple those days were. But what about the bullying you faced? What about listening to your parents argue every night through your bedroom and not being able to understand what was happening? What about losing friendships and going to school with the fear that you will spend recess all alone, again? Childhood seems simple now that we’ve grown up and now that we are facing different battles. We forget about the struggle once it’s over but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there in the first place or that it wasn’t a hard one. That’s where I think the root of the need for perfection lies.
Insecurities are strengthened by listening to how great everyone’s lives are, forgetting that others embellish their stories just as much as we do. We don’t hear about their struggles – only the good parts, and so we forget that they are there. We feel alone, wanting our lives to be as “perfect” and successful as theirs and so we then aim for that kind of life. We aim for a life filled with accomplishments but no obstacles to overcome along the way.
The media is the problem, but so are we. It’s difficult to remember that failure and hardship is what makes success as great as it is. We forget because we don’t talk about it. So let’s start talking about it. Let’s stop being ashamed of going through a hard time. Let’s stop thinking about it as a weakness. Let’s stop pretending our success came with no failures along the way. Let’s stop letting others believe we live the perfect life, knowing that it is unattainable and let’s stop believing that others don’t struggle simply because they don’t mention it. Let’s start accepting that life comes with obstacles but it also comes with great rewards. And let’s begin this change by just talking about it.