Lady with an Ermine
Leonardo da Vinci, 1489 – 90.
It’s so incredibly easy to beat ourselves down, especially when life feels a bit harder than usual, isn’t it? We tend to be experts at picking at our own scabs and wounds until we immerse into the pain once again. What for?
It’s like our unbeknownst sadistic and masochistic sides both appear at the same time, and the intentional perpetrator and victim both happen to be the same person: ourselves.
So, without further ado (and a special thanks to an encouragement of a close friend), when you feel defeated and broken, look at the world in rose-tinted yet somewhat realistic glasses crafted by yours truly for just even a remote minute:
Well, first of all, you’re alive. Sure, you may not be at your physical prime right now. There might be an illness you’re battling – be it temporary or chronic. There is physical (and possibly, emotional) pain involved, but only you know the extent. Even so – you are alive. All of your essential organs are functional enough for you to be able to open this page, sit / lie down and read.
You are here.
You somehow stumbled upon this post at this moment, and your eyes are following the words that I have written down. If you were to break it down to all of the intricacies, then you’ve come a long way already. The road ahead of you might be longer, but don’t forget the paths you’ve crossed so far. You’ve reached limits that many others are unable to already.
You have the ability to read, which usually accompanies the ability to write. This means that you’re most likely not illiterate, and you possess the capacity to communicate with others.
Humans are social animals, and we need one another (the extent varies depending on the person, obviously) as socialization, in essence, makes us more fulfilled and content. Think about the family, friends, mentors, acquaintances, or even strangers that you have encountered so far and see if you can reach out to them. It might just make someone’s day.
The power of communication, albeit scary / terrifying / uncomfortable at times, is extremely effective. You hold some sort of capability to make (well, and break – but don’t do that on purpose, life is hard already) someone’s day unexpectedly. Trust me.
There are times that you will fail and end contact with certain people, but that’s okay (learned the very, very hard way and occasionally the easier routes). It’s all a part of life and a risk that you should be willing to take, because the rewards are out there and they are worth it. Falling out doesn’t necessarily mean it is negative all the time, it could mean a lack of fit when it comes to beliefs, values, and compatibility. It may hurt now, but it will work out inexplicably for each and every one of us in the long run. Don’t believe me? Utilize your hindsight, and then come back to me.
Remember: it takes two for a healthy relationship to occur, so both parties have to be involved in it. If it is a singular path, then it’s most likely not going to last.
Some people do avoid confrontation or uncomfortable situations for their own sake, and that will harm you. It is a recurring struggle in life we all have to deal with at one point or another. Perhaps the next time you’re contemplating about doing some sort of fading out to someone because of how you feel and how he / she made you feel, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Sometimes honesty hurts a lot less for both sides. Who knows – maybe the problem at hand can be another one that’s under the bridge and both sides can restart without any sort of resentment again. The glass is half full and not half empty at times.
It is okay, and even more than okay, to be selfish at times.
I’m not advocating beliefs where you should intentionally hurt others for your own benefits. I mean it in a sense that it is essential to take time for yourself.
Don’t curb to other people’s expectations, desires, and wishes…just because. That is a lousy reason.
It’s important to find a balance at times, and if it means to be occasionally egotistical (whether it’s talking to your friends about your issues for once as a source to vent, taking that trip you’ve longed “forever” because you are finally sick of delaying it, or eating that bag of chips because you want to), make sure to tell yourself that it is completely acceptable. Stop being too hard on yourself, especially when it comes to the small details.
It’s important to take it once step at a time, and sometimes you do have to look at the forest and neglect some of the smaller, individual trees.
There is at least one person who is thinking about you today.
It could be good or bad, it doesn’t matter as you don’t know what he / she is thinking about unless he / she decides to tell you. (Side note: if you miss someone, tell him / her! You might not get the reaction you are looking for, but I promise you that person will feel somewhat warm and fuzzy inside…unless you have crossed the line and done some sort of terrible things to that person, then that’s an exception.)
You successfully and effortlessly occupied some of their mental real estate. That’s pretty amazing, because you see – thinking requires time, and time is something no one can buy. One can buy convenience, which saves time, but it’s not directly purchasing time itself.
There is an assortment of memories that can make you smile, or even brighten up your day.
Yes, even the awful ones that you thought you could never, ever get over. Those ones. You might break a smirk, because of the growth you’ve experienced that brought maturity along the way. The grin might be caused by hindsight, by looking back and thinking how naive you were back then. Even the disastrous flashbacks seem mild in the present tense.
Now think about the positive ones. The ones that make you laugh or feel butterflies in your stomach. Those are yours that no one can take away from you, even during the rainiest days.
There is / was someone who cares / cared about you out there.
Before you go full on negative and tell me about how many friends you don’t have, think again. We tend to aggrandize our sorrows and miseries, and forget what we do have, because we already have it.
Pause for a minute here and express gratitude for what and who you have. These are what actually matter.
You are not the only one experiencing the same issues that you are facing right now.
Same plot, different lines. It makes you feel a bit better that you’re not completely alone in this.
You have the ability to change.
Let’s take out all of the realistic factors and say that there are certain activities and goals that are unreachable for the time being. I definitely agree with that, especially when money gets involved as it is usually the issue that is the most difficult to overcome. I’m not downplaying any problems over here.
Sure, you might not be able to afford that Ferrari that you’ve always wanted now, hell – you might never be able to (too realistic?) but what you can do is to start off small and set realistic goals. Perhaps the job that you have right now isn’t paying enough and you want out. Think about what it is that you want to do or is interested in pursuing and see if there are any routes leading to that.
Yes, there is a chance that you may fail and dislike the industry completely (which happened as I vowed to never work in fashion again, but still having an affinity towards it), but what I’ve learned after much introspection is that having knowledge of what you do not want to pursue is just as important as being aware of what you do want to pursue.
Hey, maybe that’s where the “when one door closes, a window opens” saying came from.
It’s great to figure out your life’s general path and having the awareness of what road you should take, but that’s not usually the case, isn’t it? Think of figuring out what you dislike as one less course to take, and thereby saving you the one thing humans cannot buy: time. (Unintentional full circle there!)
You have feelings and / or the ability to feel (at least, most of you do – and most of the exceptions come from mental illnesses, which should not be taken lightly).
Even the pessimistic, gloomy feelings are valid in this case that I’m making. I know, it is terribly difficult to make yourself think of the bright side when there are thunderstorms and hurricanes in your head. I can totally relate.
However – I’d like to quote the birthday card I got from my friend:
“Everyone wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.”
I should stop elaborating here, but without the sadness, anger, despair, guilt, regret, loneliness, and the whole spectrum of negative emotions – we cannot appreciate the magnitude of positive feelings and experiences when we do run into them.
It is also important to note that it is no one else but your own responsibility to keep yourself content. If your personal happiness relies on someone else, dependency manifests and that creates an unhealthy and imbalanced type of need towards that person. It will drain not only him / her, but also you, as this validation is insatiable. It will drive that person you like / love away.
(Yes, this was a lesson learned the hard way.)
I think ten makes a good list. It’s definitely not because I’m running out of ideas. I’ve somehow been gifted the ability to think in many aspects, so I do have more if anyone is interested.
If none of the first nine appeal to you, then here’s the tenth:
I appreciate that you have taken some time out of your day (no matter what time it is now) to read this post.
I may or may not know you, but I really still do have gratitude for anyone who has reached this point. We are so easily distracted nowadays, especially by technology (not to mention what comes with that as there has been a surge in apps that throws out external yet probably vapid validation such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) that I do believe our attention span may have been more or less affected by this.
Right now I’m on word 1,800 and you’re still here? If I’m not appreciative of that, then I’m not quite sure what I should feel.
I truly am thankful for the fact that you have read and / or scrolled so far down this post.
Writing is a passion of mine, and even if my skills are not as well honed as others out there – this is a personal space of mine. I carve out the time and effort to keep up with this hobby that I have neglected for so long, it’s endearing to see that there is at least one person (and if there are none, fret not – I reread my posts multiple times, and last time I checked: I am a person) out there who exhibited nothing but patience for my work.
The rain will eventually go away.