So much of who we are comes from our childhoods; how we learn to deal with pain, how we learn to cope, and how we learn to overcome.
Remember back to when you were a child.
Remember the long days outside during the summers. Remember running and jumping and laughing. Now remember falling down and getting hurt; a scraped knee, or hands, or elbow. You’d feel the pain rush through you and sometimes you would cry. Then an adult would fly in, scoop you up, and help you inside. They’d clean off the dirty wound, they’d wipe the tears from your eyes, and smile, saying,
“You’ll be fine, it’s just a little scrape. I know it hurts, but you’ll be okay.”
Then they’d bandage you up and either sit with you until you felt better, or send you back out to play.
So much of who we are comes from our childhoods; how we learn to deal with pain, how we learn to cope, and how we learn to overcome. As we grow up through our teenage years and early twenties, and even as we age beyond, we find that the little cuts and scrapes grow with us. Sure, we still get them here and there, but we’ve long since mastered their difficulties—it’s the big ones we worry about:
- the heartbreaks
- the broken limbs
- the lost jobs
- the failed relationships
- the huge mistakes
- the disappointments
- the embarrassments
We strive to be the best we can, but at days end we have to come to terms with a simple fact: That we are human—that we are no more or less capable than anyone else on this planet at achieving our goals. We are each created with individual strengths and weaknesses and nothing that we face in life is outside the bounds of our individual capacity to overcome. These are innate features of the human spirit:
- The strength to rise up
- The strength to never give in, even in the face of unbearable odds.
We learn to see the difficulties, the darkness, the poison that filters through our world and threatens to kill us. We find that our mental handicaps are hindering, and at times, downright dangerous. Everything, we realize, could be lost in an instant. Life has a way of secretly piling up behind us and then pouring out in a moment’s notice. It also has a way of grabbing us by the throat and thrusting us into the deep, and no matter how hard we struggle, we can never seem to break free.
Through all of our efforts and strength, sometimes it just doesn’t seem to be enough. Sometimes we feel defeated, all power depleted. We feel our strength drained and the only thing we’ve gained is a head full of doubt. This, we can live without—this self-defeating smog; this seemingly lingering bog.
- How do we rise from a life clouded by darkness?
- How do we overcome the demons that plague us, the miasma that wafts and enshrouds and chokes us?
- How do we rise, when it feel like all our lives have been drained away?
We are all created with a secret weapon.
Something we can only find when we are in true need of it. We often fall our farthest before we discover what it is, but it’s there all along, waiting for you to appreciate it. We all have one. Something that makes us tick. Something that jump-starts our engines; a catalyst to start the reaction of power within us. We were born from that which once made stars after all, do you really think we aren’t just as strong?
This catalyst is different for us all. I need to envision my power, like the end of a movie when the hero rises from near death and must overcome insurmountable odds. It’s the same thing, what I envision and what I need to do. The hero fights for himself, and his friends, and his family, and for those in need against an evil that threatens to take that away. I need music, a film score, or something moving like Moby’s Stella Maris or VNV Nation’s As it Fades 2nd Movement. We may not all live a life where we face a physical, tangible evil, with a name like Megatron, or Voldemort, or Suaron—but make no mistake, the evils we face are just as deadly. They threaten to tear you down, and without you, what purpose is the whole of the world?
- Your anxiety will own you.
- Your depression will own you.
- Your vices will own you.
- Your obsessions will own you.
- Your weaknesses will own you.
- Your pride and vanity will own you.
- Your need for acceptance, for status, for material things will own you.
- Your laziness will own you.
- Your indecisiveness will own you.
- And your fear will own you. Your fear of all things.
Every single decision in life can be reasoned out in one of two ways: We either do something because of a desire for A, or we do something because of a fear for B. We either want, or we fear. Living is knowing when being afraid is a good thing, and when kicking ass needs to come first. I’ll let you in on a little secret, most days, and most decisions you make, kicking ass is the way to go. It’s pretty simple to know what the best decision for you is (most of the time), and since you are going to be spending your time either way, do what’s best for you.
Life is a balancing act. Let no one ever tell you otherwise, for those are lies. We are the Master’s of our fates. We rise and fall like the tides, shifting in life. We must take control of our direction—never trusting the faux perfection. We are not whole, but pieces from a form; and as we learn and grow and acquire, our experiences adorned, we become the phoenix in the ashes, ready to burst forth.
We learn from a young age about pain and how to overcome it—and then, with age, we cause the majority of our own struggles; our own turmoil. We become empathetic to those we love, we care too much about the wrong things, we make decisions with half the facts because we become biased and then somehow we are lost in a life filled with mistakes and regret. We claim to not regret, we claim to have grown and moved on, but what eats at us daily is “what could have been?” Our lives become so filled with poison that we cannot breathe freely. Those we associate with, the activities we participate in—and worst of all, the actions we allow and do nothing about.
The greatest thing to remind yourself of everyday is that life is short. We move in one direction, at one speed, towards an unyielding end for this body we inhabit. We know nothing of what lies beyond. We know nothing of what could happen along our journey. Yet we fill what little precious time we have with pointless dribble. We fight over pride and greed. We take inaction out of fear and laziness. We remain stationary out of the same, and run away from greatness, out of the same. We do not live our lives, we just exist in them—and when they fill up with garbage and we find ourselves not recognizing the person in the mirror, we wonder where we went wrong.
“How did I get here… what did I do?”
Many of us reach this point. We are not alone in our despair and our feelings of helplessness. KNOW THIS. Whatever you choose to do, is what becomes of you. You choose to keep the vice, and pretend to be nice, and follow lies for the rest of your life? Then expect no great reward; expect to be lonely, miserable, and bored; expect that you have put a cap on your happiness and you will never rise above it. For what you need is to follow your heart, and no matter who you are, learn to covet. Love is much bigger than just you and I, or girl and guy; it’s about the truth—what we yearn for from birth. Adventure. Discovery. Beauty. We yearn to find a place where we feel like we belong; another refrain in life’s song.
You don’t have much time. Drain the poison from your veins. Vices are nice, but they waste time. They are not solutions to the problem, they are just problems under the guise of solution. Cleanse yourself of your mistakes. Make amends. Promise yourself that you will do better in the future. Remove yourself from the environment that holds you back. Remove what holds you back from your environment. If there are people that poison you, find the anti-venom. If that means getting rid of them, then do it. You don’t have much time, make your decisions count.
What are you waiting for, really? For a handout; For your dream to stumble into your path; For a solution, or for the key to be handed to you? Do you think that one day you’re just going to wake up and walk outside and your world is going to be fixed? You don’t have much time. Decide. Make a choice. Will you stay silent or use your voice? Is this the life you want? Do you even know? Can you stand outside in the sun, rain, and snow? Be a part of the world. Find a part of yourself. It’s peace that we need. Not a place on the shelf.
Yearn. Learn. Discover.
Have you ever wondered what the path to a happy life looks like? Go to Google, click on images, and type in “CLIFF.”
Yup. That’s it. A cliff. Pick one. Any one. It doesn’t matter which. How high and how steep is up to you. What do you want? Where are you going? Most of your life is going to be a long and arduous climb up a rocky face. Sometimes you’ll have good weather, other times bad. Sometimes you will find a good place to rest and regain your strength, other times you’ll lose footing and fall. Whether or not you make it is up to you, and you alone. No one else can give you a hand. Sometimes, you’ll learn better ways to get there from those you meet in life, and sometimes you’ll be misled. The decisions and actions are yours and no one else’s. The strengths and weaknesses you have are yours and no one else’s. Your life is not a horizontal pathway with some pitfalls, it’s a cliff—and you are going straight up. So get a good grip. Take a deep breathe. And start climbing. What are you waiting for? You don’t have much time.
We learn from a young age how to deal with pain; but we will never stop feeling its weight. We must learn to outsmart the demons and overcome the odds. Five A.M. run with your +4 boots of striding and springing. Dinner while watching TED Talks. Anime with your boyfriend. Making sandwiches and picnicking near a river. Do what makes you happiest. Purge yourself of the poison. And remember… You are the only one who can get you where you want to be.
Photo credit: Getty Images