What is our life made up of?
What is that makes each one of us unique?
What are the building blocks of our personality?
And the answer is Our Experiences.
And the experiences are made up of different emotions like sadness, joy, anger, fear, disgust and surprise. And most of the time, it is not just made up of a single emotion but multiple of them. And this unique mixture and unique sequence of experiences is what creates us, builds us and differentiates us.
Since childhood, we have been taught by the society that we should always chase happiness. We are taught to find good in everything and to try to remain happy in all the situations. We are taught not to indulge in activities which would lead to experiences with a higher percentage of sadness in it. Due to this, somewhere our subconscious mind has got adapted to the thought that the sole destination that we should chase for is happiness. We want to come first in class because that will make us happy, we want to earn money so that we can spend it where ever we want because that would make us happy, we want to do this, we want to do that, etc, why?, because we think that after doing those things, after reaching those tasks, after achieving all that, we will be happy.
Now, just for a second, please pause and think, have you ever thought that why is that we always overvalue happiness. Happiness/Joy is good, its great, but is that something that should be chased all the time? What happens when we encounter experiences overloaded with other emotions than happiness, especially those experiences which are mostly sad. I know this idea sounds completely absurd, but please give me a chance to elaborate on it further.
In life what I have realised that rather than focusing on achieving happiness we should focus on achieving PEACE and personal growth. When we learn to focus on these and not happiness then we tend to derive more learnings from the experiences which are made up of emotions other than happiness and at the same time, we are in a state of more control of ourselves during those experiences. It is how we behave in and use those so-called negative experiences which will differentiate us from the rest in the future.
When we are sad we get a chance to learn the art of solitude. We get to meet ourselves and one can use this time of sadness to connect oneself to oneself. You get to know your deepest fears and also your deepest strengths. You get to analyse yourself so that you can rise again and rise again stronger this time. It is the feeling of rising from the ashes just like the Phoenix.
I have realised that I would not have valued my happy experiences enough if I had not seen those various local minima of my life. They are what makes the various local maxima, in a true sense maxima. All these emotions are interlinked in the most complex manner we can think of. The existence of one is just impossible without the other and they all complete each other and the combination is what completes us.
And someday when we are ecstatic due to some achievement, it is due to the decision we had made sometime in the past after some experience with zero% happiness content in it. Hence, we can say that many times sadness leads to greatest of happy, ecstatic moments.
When I look back at my life, I can evidently see few incidents which have transformed my life and have taken me to a next level each time. And those experiences were not the happy incidents, but the incidents which broke me apart, exposed my weaknesses and insecurities, and even made me cry. But today I feel that I have gained from them in a much greater factor. Just remember to talk to yourself and don’t do something permanently stupid when your are temporarily sad.
Sometimes you must
Hurt in order to know
Fall in order to grow
Lose in order to gain
Because life’s greatest lessons are learned through pain.
Summing up, I would like to say that next time when I will come across some sad experience, I will be at peace, not because I know that that is temporary, but because I have learnt that being sad is actually not so sad.
When we are at peace— we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Peace is the center, and success revolves around it.
Imperfect tip of the day: Embrace your flaws, because they are what makes you, YOU.
— The Imperfect
This article is the very first article of the series The Imperfect Articles. Please follow the link to get to know more about it. The next article in this series talks about this world as a stage and we as actors playing our roles in it. And how can we learn to become a better actor by looking inside the toolkit of a prominent actor. Hence the title, “The toolkit of an actor — both on and outside the stage”.