Life is like painting: it takes patience, practice, and just know that you’re going to mess up. Sometimes we sketch out our plans and outline them and everything, but the second we start to actually carry it out, we have doubts. We want to switch the painting around. And while we hate the idea of painting without that nice skeleton outline, we can make do with what we have.
Things won’t turn out exactly like you have them in your head. Even if all your dreams come true, the people populating them will be more different and varied that you can possibly account for. Being at peace seems like a joke in many ways. Life has conflicts! Life has people, and people are hard to deal with. However, without those people, life is miserable. The trick then, is learning how to be okay with people, how to be at peace with your relationships.
Communication sounds simple but it’s the hardest thing to do, because we don’t necessarily know the words or phrases to express exactly where we’re at. We have to trust every time we open our mouth that the person will be listening, and if they’re listening, that they will understand. It takes courage to say some things, and it’s okay if it’s difficult for you. Words are hard. However, pushing through our fear and expressing our feelings to those closest to us is the right thing to do. It keeps us honest and open. When we let other people idealize us, we do both people a disservice. You are human and you are flawed– so is everyone else. Aim for tact, but if worst comes to worst, just know that the most important thing is to get it out there. Tell people where you’re going, where you want to go, what you plan on eating, if you’re tired, if you want them to go away or stay; tell people because they won’t know otherwise. Life is like painting, it takes practice, and patience, but don’t be afraid to lay it all out.
I recently watched The Breakfast Club for the first time, after years of hype and exclamations of it being peoples’ favorite movie. While I can see and understand the ways that the movie is moving, I didn’t really like it. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I had an idea in my mind of what it was going to be like, and it veered away from that vision considerably, but mostly, I didn’t get the turn around. A group of incredibly different high schoolers get thrown into a room and they hate each other. Then they run around a bit, and suddenly they consider each other to be friends, or even lovers at the end. While the movie was much closer than most at reproducing actual human interaction and connecting to those different from you, you know that one Saturday they spend together probably won’t change them.
The good thing about the movie, however, is that you don’t see Monday at school. It leaves open the possibility that the Breakfast Club stays friends somehow. That’s the inspiring part of the movie, the fact that it could be the start or the end and you’ll never know. While I dislike parts of the movie, I do think that there can always be a takeaway, and that is, don’t give yourself an ending just yet.
We can probably predict relatively well what path we’ll take within the next day, week, year. Sometimes it can seem like we can predict years and years into the future. However, you don’t know. You aren’t kept to being the same person. If you want, you can make a difference in your own life. The problem, the hard bit, is what they don’t know in the movie. If you want to make a difference in yourself, you have to be different every day. You can’t just air fist one day and be a victor, you have to work every day at being kinder, more understanding, more outgoing, whoever you want to be. It’s challenging, and the challenge rarely lets up, but it’s doable. Whether or not you’ve seen the movie or like the movie, you can make a difference in your own life. You are not alone, and you can get through whatever obstacle is set before you.
Our experiences are tinted with all that we are, context, and natural human biases. Just misunderstanding the tone of someone’s voice can cause a massive conflict. Intent matters, but so does what actually happened, and what other people understood it to mean. We’re flawed, but so are the people around us.
My point is that your opinions and experiences matter– and so does everyone else’s. We cannot make a bubble for ourselves and give ourselves extra rights. But it becomes frustrating, because, as humans, we like to feel special. It’s our psychological tendency to blame context for our failures and give ourselves credit for our successes. Even though logically we know both choices and context matter, we ignore the role of whichever one is most uncomfortable to recognize.
We could do a variety of things with our lives, but at the end, we need to take responsibility of all our choices. Context matters. Environments can change personality drastically. We could want to be set apart and admired, but first we have to earn that and work towards that. We’re human! We mess up! The real question is whether or not we’ll chose to step up to the plate when the pressure is on.
Logically, you can know that A is A, and B is B. In your head, you know certain facts and can truly believe them. Reason can tell you it wasn’t your fault, or that it doesn’t matter. However, sometimes the emotions don’t fit. We want to move on and yet our hearts don’t want to go along with it.
Emotions are hard to handle. They surround us in a medium of our existence. They guide us more than we would sometimes like to admit. However, a basic part of being a human is dealing with and expressing feelings. When we don’t talk about how we feel, it tends to get clogged up inside of us. Making a habit of stuffing things down inside of us makes us get stuck on what to say when we really do need to express ourselves. Communication is a skill after all! And practice is the key to any skill. Not dealing with emotions is like being an emotional couch-potato: very unhealthy in the long run.
Even we know what we need to do logically, we can still get stuck on the feeling parts of things. Ignoring the emotions or trying to kill them off somehow doesn’t fix things; if anything, it makes them stronger. Instead, if we want to move past things, we need to face them. We need to admit to ourselves our faults and our current state of mind. It’s hard, and it’s not easy to even know what to do once you’ve acknowledged it. Still, it’s a necessary step to moving past things.
Our brains are not static blobs of muscle in our head. They are dynamic, plastic, growing pieces of us that literally change everyday of our lives. Each action we take, each bit of information we take in, it becomes a part of us. We learn by our neurons changing their network in slight ways, making pathways easier or harder to follow. That’s amazing. If you haven’t thought about it in a while, just take a moment here. Pathways are making us who we are right now. Nothing about our bodies are static. It’s awe-inspiring, really.
Sometimes we have horrible days, and there’s not much we can do to fix that. Then there’s the good days that we cherish and are grateful and greedy for. However, a lot of times, we just have ordinary days; we have the sort of days no one remembers the date of. From doldrum to doldrum, life can become weary. Yet, even when the day means nothing to us in the big picture, it is affecting us in our neural pathways. We learn, grow, and attach new information to a vast world of connections within us. That’s why it can be easy to forget how much we’ve changed– we don’t often change in an instant. Rather, we most commonly develop slowly, through an accumulation of little nothing-to-remember-about days.
That’s why every day matters. At the start, we never truly know what it’ll turn out. As much as our brains have changed and grown to that point, we could break the pattern we think we’re falling into. Our minds are brilliant for predicting things, but there are always pieces we don’t account for. That uncertainty is surely frightening! And yet, it also matters so much. No, not every day is spectacular. Yet, every moment we are given is open to the possibility of changing for the better. Sure, things could go wrong. Things could be dull. But if you think it’s going to turn out that way, why don’t you try and do something to change that? If you’re going to change anyway, make it for the better.