figuring out life, one struggle at a time

We inadvertently change to ensure our survival among our fellow humans.

We start life as innocents, unaware of the good, the bad and the ugly which awaits us in the future. The lucky ones among us are cared for by loving, well-adjusted, stable and hopefully long-living adults who try to teach us the basics for surviving in this world.  The teachings of faith, morality, good values are the foundation we build on, our frame of reference, as we grow up.

When we reach kindergarten-age we are encouraged to spread our wings. We learn to interact with other people. People, all shapes and sizes. It’s scary! But hey, we are told to be big boys and girls. We’re told to not be scared, so . . .

So is this when it (the change) starts? When we are removed from our safe havens, those little cocoons which are our lives up to that point in time. When we are taken to school and we’re told  “Don’t be afraid, you will have lots of fun” or “See, here is your nice teacher” and of course “You will make lots of new friends”.

Yes, okay, so kids are build to learn. Learn what it means when someone hits you on the nose, for example, and you have to turn the other cheek. Learn what it is like to admit guilt and apologize. Learn that for every action there is a reaction. {Sigh} There are so many life-lessons we learn while growing up.

The mind does not stop learning, even if we want to pretend otherwise. So even as adults we are still growing. Everyday, interacting with other people, coping (or not) with situations – it affects us. Sometimes the impact is an unnoticeable prick and other times it is a heck of a big bang. I have come to believe that we grow in stages, that it is more than likely that the patterns/events/personality types which influenced us in the past is bound to recur, in some form or another, in the present and future. Déjà vu.

But how did (and does) that shape us? Some of us decide not to rock the boat and will do anything to keep the peace. Some feel that life, or the world, owes us something and we are entitled to do what we want, without regard for others’ feelings. Some feel we know best and are always right. Givers/Passives, Takers and the Self-righteous’. So, who is right, and who is wrong?  Is there a right and a wrong?  Or is there just;  What is right for me?

How much power do we give our “influences”?

I used to think that I am untouchable and that I can control who and/or what influences my being, my state of mind, the person I am. Maybe, for a limited time, I was an island, keeping myself apart from others. I knew who I was, knew who I wanted to be. Then one day a ship came and dragged my, oh so willing, butt to the mainland so that I could earn a living. Now I’m bombarded everyday by people and their ways. Alas, I am an island no more!

The unhappiness we experience from time to time is caused by . . . other people! Or is it? It is so easy to blame other people for our dissatisfaction or unhappiness, because they DO influence us. BUT, and this is the hard part, we can decide if and how they affect us. I know, I know! It’s easier said than done. I KNOW.

This is what I found as truth for myself:

I really miss being an island. I miss taking time to reflect; time to do soul-searching; time to analyze what I feel and why. Time. Time to put myself in another’s shoes, to try and understand that other point of view.

I can imagine the mainland where I have to carve out my life. When the ship brought me there I was placed neatly off its shore at a point in the middle of two sides. On the one side, there are faint lines, borders which show where other islands found a place to be themselves and yet a part of the bigger land. The other side is one big indistinguishable blob where some islands blended together. To me that is a scary place and I don’t want to go there.

But as time passes the tides keep pulling me closer and closer to that part of the mainland. Every day the waves keep chopping away at me, making my shoreline disappear little by little, making me smaller so it will be easier to join with the big blob.

It is hard, fighting against the waves and the tides. And sometimes, when I get so tired of the struggle and needs to rest for just a second, the tide will pull harder and the waves will grow stronger. It will rush my shores, pull me in different directions, overwhelm me, try to drown me. Naturally, a storm will break out with howling winds and peppering rain, a full-on assault.

I fight back in self-preservation, with a lot of effort, to keep my head above water. The strain of the fight makes me scream and yell in frustration. It is so exhausting and I hit the Low. . . that point where I wonder if it is worth it. Won’t it just be easier to give in?

But The Voice inside my head tells me: “Don’t give up! Keep fighting! Remember who you are!”

Remember who you are, and always be honest with yourself! It is not a shame to ask for help if you can’t fight the battle alone. There is courage in the asking too.

17/08/10

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4 thoughts on “figuring out life, one struggle at a time

  1. Indeed, very insightful and thought provoking, Riekie. Touching a cord here too.

    I myself do not like change much. I like things to stay pretty much the same, and to arrange my life and my daily routine on my own terms. But sometimes, I can also sense a pull away from that which is predictable and familiar and safe, towards excitement, adventure and the new, because I know those things enrich my life experience, and stretch me into areas outside my comfort zone, and that is good. But not TOOO much! And as long as I do not lose my sense of self, my sense of what is right and wrong, good and bad, though those aspects too get questioned sometimes.

    Riekie, I believe that your inner core is stronger than all the influences that come from the outside. The one you are inside of you, deep inside your heart-and-head, that ‘you’ will always have its feet on solid ground, unshakeable at its core. Hugs. 🙂

    • This is one of those posts that still rumble around in my head after I press the “publish” button. It occurred to me yesterday that a healthy body-mind-soul balance is like a good marriage (I’ve heard) – you have to work at it, and continue working on it. Sometimes it’s easy, other times not so much.

      Thanks for the comment, Reggie!

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