It’s late afternoon and the night is falling. The summer is at its peak but it’s not hot, nor it’s chilly. There are no people around. Just me at the rooftop of the mall, catching some fresh air after a long day at work and thinking about what the future may hold for me while staring at the mountain in the near distance. It’s a peaceful moment, and I am alone with my thoughts. Again.
There is this uncomfortable idea that bugs me every day. The idea of failing miserably in life and not fulfilling the expectations of my family; of my closest friends and relatives; of not being able to give back to her, him, and them, as a way of saying thank you for being there when nobody else was.
No matter what I do, these bothering thoughts are coming back to me every now and again to remind me of that I am frightened. That I am fragile. That I feel pain. That I hurt. It is eating me from inside-out, and I feel like it won’t stop.
Sometimes, it stops.
And then, I remember: That’s what the beauty of being human is.
Pain is part of the process.
Back in 1950’s, there was a Polish psychologist named Kazimierz Dabrowski. He argued that “fear and anxiety and sadness are not necessarily always undesirable or unhelpful states of mind.” Rather, just like our emotions, they are often the feedback signs pointing us in the direction of a necessary psychological growth.
Just like one must suffer physical pain to build stronger muscles, one must suffer emotional pain “to develop greater resilience, a stronger sense of self, increased compassion, and a generally happier life.” With that being said, it turns out that to deny that pain is to deny our own potential as humans.
When I turned twenty, a series of unfortunate events began for me. My mother discovered my father’s affair with another woman, for which I knew, and had to pretend as if I didn’t. As a result, the relationship at home suffered. I decided I will be better off if I just vanished, so I went to study abroad.
Then, another set of problems arose – my family wasn’t able to support my studies financially anymore and my health worsened. So I had to come back to my country of origin where I would later find I had my liver intoxicated for which I was put on a strict diet in order to recover.
I named this process The Bad Beginning, just like the movie. And ironically, for me, that painful beginning was a helpful beginning because pain is part of the process. It’s important to feel it.
Because if you just chase after highs to cover up the pain, if you continue to indulge in entitlement and delusional positive thinking, if you continue to overindulge in various substances or activities, then you will never generate the requisite motivation to actually change. — Mark Manson
Reinforcing that change and then maintaining it, on the other hand, does not come down only to recognizing the challenges and meeting up with pain. It comes down to how well you can walk through the fire; how well you can endure this pain. It comes down not only to realize you are doing something wrong but that you have to correct your actions immediately. It comes down to having a strong why to help you make the ride more purposeful, and the goal — visible and attainable.
Having a strong why.
I was at a network marketing event when I was first introduced to that concept. Initially, I didn’t take it seriously. I thought it’s a flop. But now, after all this time, I get to understand its meaning better. It can certainly be applied beyond just network marketing and business.
The people who have done amazing things, and overcame the biggest adversities in their lives, have had a very strong WHY to keep them moving forward. It’s not a secret that you must have a strong “WHY” to make it.
The stronger your “WHY’s” are, the “HOW’s” become a lot easier to obtain.
For instance, you wake up each morning, thinking about how far you want to make it in life because your “WHY’s” consists of being able to:
1) Repay back to your closest friends and family for being there when nobody else was.
2) Give back to the community which in turn will help you grow as a human being.
3) Take care of your wife and kids and yourself so that you and they feel safe and secure.
By looking at these reasons, it becomes obvious that paying it forward is what’s at the core of living with purpose.
Not only that but by finding different ways of helping others in the community, you get to benefit as well.
The reverse is also true. Tearing others down, instead of helping them, in order to achieve your goals, will ultimately come back at you and hunt you down and expose you.
As the old adage goes: What goes around, comes all the way back around.
Today is the day to make a choice. To just decide what is going to be. Who you are going to be. How you are going to do it. And to remember that if you do what is easy, your life will be hard. But if you do what is hard… from that point on, the universe is going to get out of your way and you will see the world with a new set of eyes where you will crave victory. Where you won’t give up. Where you will create and conquer.
Where, despite all of the challenges and the naysayers; despite all of the negative self-talk, pain, frightening thoughts and feelings, you will hold the power to change your life and that of others because you understand that’s what the beauty of being human is.