They say, as years go by, you get used to the pain. When life slaps you in the face, you are not so sensitive as before. But as I grow older, every slap seems more painful, more intense, and I frantically look for a recovery like a drowning man to a raft after endless hours of floating. As if the resistance weakens me, and my soul wants to say:
Hey, life, it’s ok, I understand, just ease up a little.
While we were young, we were unaware of all the things life could do to us. Even when it drained us, our pride never allowed us to break, our firm hope that life was more than two courses of sorrow and one of happiness.
While we were young, we thought: When I grow up, I’ll be wiser, more attentive. I’m not some weakling who gives up at first obstacles. And we weren’t. And yes, we are doing it better – that is why it hurts more. No matter what abilities we attain, life is still life. It still hurts. It still serves us meals that we don’t like the most, and we wish we could avoid them. But things don’t work like that; without pain, there is no progress, no growth. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.
I remember the time when I was a kid. I remember my thoughts, that child’s attitude towards life, the belief in the magic of existence, the feeling of excitement – because when I grow up, I can be and do whatever I want, the world waits for me. That feeling was present even when I was unhappy or sad because I had genuinely believed in the magic of life, and a few unfortunate events didn’t have the power to overshadow my belief.
When I was hurt, I dramatised, I saw the end of the world because of the failure in a tiny piece of the same. Still, I’d get up on my feet, shake my bloody knees, wipe my runny nose, and with high-lifted head went further. Stubbornly. Proudly. Full of life.
Do you still remember that feeling? That young heart, deprived of reservations that we as adults put around us every time we feel a bitter pain of disappointment? I do. But I also remember when I started to believe that the world doesn’t work the way I’d pictured it in my mind. That there is no difference between my life and any other; We are all in the same gutter, some of us are just better actors than the others.
I also remember when I had locked my young heart and told it to be silent because the world was no place for it, but for someone much more cautious, someone filled with suspicion, scepticism, limitations, distrust, resistance… for someone called an adult. For someone who, while life strikes at her, stays firmly on her feet with dignified posture and a tear in the eye that slides on the pillow in a silent night without a witness, withholding all blind expectations…
When I ask them, most people say that life is a struggle. I nod approvingly remembering my own fighting gloves, which, instead of resting somewhere in the dark corner, were right on my hands. Hitting back. Not giving up. Fighting.
But then I grow sad.
Because if it’s all about the fighting, if our every muscle is in spasm, tense, ready to hit, when do we really live? In a short sigh between two strikes?
It’s like we’ve lost the point and no, I don’t think we should be like kids again. Not completely. Just find that goddamn balance, accept life as it is, its ups and downs, without attaching to the outcome.
What if we choose to try something different? How would it be if we ceased to provide resistance to our thoughts and to things that happen to us in our life? If we decide to replace fighting with acceptance? Put this state of mind high on our priority list?
Why is it that fighting is considered to be a feature of a strong person, and acceptance is attributed to a weak person, when what we accept disappears much faster and with less pain than the fighting attitude we are so proud of?
Perhaps because we associate acceptance with doing or not doing. Accepting something does not mean giving up, stopping working on something we truly want.
I recently read a beautiful sentence about it: Acceptance is the state of mind, not the termination of any effort.
So, let us accept our life as it is. Even if we’re not satisfied with it at this time, it is our reality. We must first accept it precisely in the form in which it exists and then work on all those parts we wish to change. We must accept all our sadness and suffering, as well as all our joys and happiness. Without any resistance, because our resistance in the case of suffering prolongs our sorrow, and attachment in the case of joy creates new pain when happiness temporarily abandons us. And what are we then but someone who does not live? Who is unhappy because it is in constant conflict with what the universe has made to fit us so naturally?
Remove your boxing gloves. Remove childish, naive belief that there is a perfect life waiting for you with wide arms opened, while your actions only come down to your fantasies.
Accept. Take action. Grow. Live.