“One day you’ll have to wake up and realise that the only reason the world revolves around you is because of the goodness of the people around you who let it.”

Usually I prefer to let myself be the canvas that needs decorating. Because I know I am flawed, and in all pretense of humility, I do want to grow to be a better person, though it might mean struggling with accepting criticism, dealing with inner demons, and what not. But recently, thanks to certain people/situations, I feel like I’ve uttered too many audible sighs. And that’s not a good place to be in.

I was under the impression – as a child – that one simple outgrew certain behaviour one might deem childish. I thought by the time you were in your 20s, you’d be an adult and thus mentally and emotionally equipped to handle social situations, life challenges, testy troubles and basically, anything. Of course I also thought that I’d already know what I wanted to be “when I grow up”, and would have the perfect dream job I’d always wanted. Ha. I still don’t know what I want to be “when I grow up”. Hmmmm.

Of  course now we all know that it actually takes much effort and determination, a lot of cuts and bruises, but yes you do “outgrow” them through pain and experience. You grow because you see a better future, light at the end of a dark and bitter tunnel.

Sometimes certain situations force us to grow. Sometimes it’s the people around us. Sometimes it’s something we read. Sometimes it’s when a friend tells us a story about a friend of a friend of a friend. It’s usually because there is a lesson to learn, a moral to the story, and we are showed a better way of being. But to see these, you have to be open to seeing them. You’ll never see Tinkerbell if you don’t believe in faeries. *Gasp! How could you not?!*

I think with all journeys, that first single step is always the hardest to take, but at the same time, certainly the most important. Otherwise, you might be walking through life without your 3D glasses, wondering why everything’s just a blur.

So, if say you’re not on that journey now,  is it a case of liking the dark and bitter tunnel that you’re in? Because it’s familiar, it’s comforting, and if you can’t meet up to others’ expectations, you can just crawl back in there and pretend that everyone is a monster out to get you?

Or is it a case of just finding it too much effort to have to Step 1: Discover lessons in everything around you, Step 2: Acknowledge there is something, and figure out just how, you can personally benefit from them, Step 3: Make the effort to apply it in your life, Step 4: Be open to feedback and criticism, Step 5: Fail but pick yourself right back up again and try and try and try again?

Or at the end of the day, are we just too stubborn about “being ourselves” and expecting others to accept us just the way we are – or “Too bad; your loss.”?

You know how they say if you can’t change the situation, seek to change your environment, and if you can’t do that, then change your mindset? It’s tough. Especially if you’ve already subscribed to one kind of belief for the most part of your life. But again, that first step – you need to know you could be a better you. And most importantly, you cannot do it for anyone else BUT you.

We do not change or grow to be popular, to be accepted, to be well-liked. That, in my opinion, would be a little vain and conceited to me. Just like I don’t believe in lying through your teeth to clinch a deal, or putting on a fake smile and talking to people you simply can’t stand in order to benefit yourself in one way or another. Self-serving, that’s what it is.

And sometimes, it might be easier to say, well, I’ll just do without those who can’t stand me, there are so many other people on this planet anyways. And how many friends do we actually need? I guess maybe just 1 or 2 close friends are all I need, everyone else can just F.O. if they don’t like it. I know this for a fact because I’ve been there, done that.

It’s also easy to place your happiness in the hands of the world, thinking it has to function right so you can be happy. If something happens and you’re upset, it’s really up to the world to make things right again. If someone upsets you, the only thing you can do is to remain upset until the wrong rights itself. I wish this were true. It’d be so much easier.

Then we wouldn’t have to do breathing exercises to calm ourselves down to avoid raising our voice or flipping a table somewhere. Then we wouldn’t have to find excuses for people so we could give them the benefit of the doubt and tolerate their behaviour. Then we wouldn’t have to force a smile on our faces so that our head would be tricked into thinking we were happy so that it could then continue sending happy signals to the rest of our body and convert our sadness into not-so-much-sadness. Then we wouldn’t have to do the whole long-drawn cause-and-effect model in our heads wondering how what we say or do will affect others. Then we wouldn’t have to constantly struggle to be humble and giving and forgiving and tension-relieving and humourous and generous and…

It’s tough. Every day is a battle. Every day we’re tested on how much we can apply what we’ve learnt from past lessons in life. Everyday we’re on on the lookout for situations where we can learn new lessons for future battles. Every day we face new challenges where we have to invent new coping strategies.

Is it tiring? You bet. Is it worth it? I think so. You may not gain more friends. You may not gain better relationships. You may not gain the love of someone special in your life. You may not gain a bonus in your employment. If you do, well those are all bonuses. I think the most important thing you can stand to gain is this: Peace of mind. Knowing that you’ve tried your darndest to be the bestest that you could be today. And if you didn’t, well that in itself is a lesson, learn from it, buck up, and try again tomorrow.

Life is a box of chocolates, but it doesn’t have to be 99% cocoa all the time. It’s up to you to make a change, and turn it into an assortment of all things delightful and beautiful. Because life is beautiful, but only if you choose to see it that way. ;P


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