Today I had a moment of revelation. Today I finally saw some light in the darkness that was following me around for months. Today, at least for a little bit, I finally had the courage to live, to free myself from idleness and passivity and really try to live my life to the fullest. This feeling, unfortunately, lasted for only about an hour, and then I got scared. I was trying my best to resist the panic that was slowly but determinedly overtaking me, heart and mind, covering them in a thick fog of sheer anxiety and negative thoughts. I failed though, and spent the rest of the evening too exhausted from this fight to be able to achieve any of the things that I have planned for myself. That’s ok, though, tomorrow is a new day, and I will start again.
I feel that the word that most defines our age is neurosis. The number of people with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and constant insomnia has grown so large in the recent years that it seems like every other person you meet has encountered them at some point in their lives. I don’t need to read statistics to know that. More and more people are publicly opening up about their mental health problems every day and it creates a pretty good picture. Not to mention dozens of friends and acquaintances who have told me about theirs.
Where does this neurosis come from? I think it’s because we are scared to death. From very early age we are brought up into a society which puts an extreme pressure on young and fragile souls to strive for productivity, efficiency, fame, perfection. Hardly anyone tells you that you are allowed to make mistakes. Teachers at school make it seem like if you fail an exam your whole life is ruined and the biggest dream you can ever hope to achieve is to work behind a McDonald’s counter until the end of your days. Children at school bully each other constantly – they don’t forgive each other mistakes, they don’t accept people’s differences. And is it their fault? Parents bring up their children telling them they have to be perfect if they want to be successful, loved and appreciated as human beings. Moreover, they have to be better than others. Stronger, more attractive, more intelligent, more successful. Mistakes, once again, are not allowed. Young people are brought up to compete. No wonder they’re at each other’s throats all the time.
We are not taught to take care of ourselves. We are not taught to love one another and put another’s happiness before our own. We are not taught that we are enough as we are. We are not taught that we can allow ourselves to pursue the dreams of our hearts even if those dreams are not economically profitable. We live in a spirit of War. No wonder we’re exhausted, anxious, depressed. No one taught us how to live in a moment, how to give each other presents without an occasion, how to sacrifice your time for someone. No one taught us that it’s okay to fail.
Yes, I failed today. And you might have failed too. You might have been failing for the last five or ten years. You might be unemployed, struggling to get out of bed in the morning. But that’s okay. The only thing that we have to stop failing at is being vulnerable. Letting ourselves be who we are (without hurting one another, of course) and ceasing to try to please everyone. We have to let go of the fear that others are going to judge us and do what our hearts are truly after. It’s freaking terrifying but I’d rather live my life burning myself every moment for something I believe in than staying safely inside my box and watching life go past me. Until I’m old and grey and there’s no time left anymore.
This is my favourite Ted talk of all time. It talks about vulnerability. I hope it can inspire you today.