Today I stumbled upon an article or a detailed response written by Vivek Mehta. Normally, I don’t depend on my intellects alone. I research, read other people’s write-ups, and seek for answers beyond my instinct.
It’s a credible piece. The only reason why I won’t tag it perfect, is because nothing in life is without mistakes or a little fault.
Here’s his response to a young individual who feels life is not worth living anymore. I hope this piece revives you.
This is going to be a long answer. I sincerely hope you understand what I am trying to say when I’m done writing.
It is so easy to shift responsibility on forces you cannot control – isn’t it? It’s so easy to point a finger at someone and say, “You’re at fault!” It is so easy to move away from a disaster, to run away from the scene saying “I had nothing to do with it”, and then continue living your life as if nothing happened. It is so damn easy to go under your blanket, claiming innocence, saying whatever’s happening to you and around you are not your fault; that the misery that you see around you was not a product of your actions.
Do you know what’s hard? Accepting responsibility for your actions and facing the consequences.
I wish I could tell you that you could be a child forever; at times, I have wished I could return to that stage in my life where I did not have to take responsibility for whatever happened around me. I wish there were someone who could take care of my every need, so that I could keep on enjoying my life without knowing the outcomes of the decisions I took or the mistakes I made. I wish the world worked that way. But it doesn’t. You cannot keep on shifting blame. I mean you can; of course you can, but you see how that works out?
Do you see what happens when you continuously keep on blaming other people and things for whatever happens to you? Your question happens. You reach a stage like the one you’re at right now.
Two years ago, I entered this sh*tstorm – the one you’re in right now. How addictive it is to cry and play the victim! Isn’t it easy to gain people’s pity and yours by saying that you’ve always been a victim of the events around you? I used to do that. I used to cry over my situation, complaining and whining all the time; saying, “Why does everything wrong happen with me?” I would cry about how everything in my life was wrong. I would cry over how I was not social, how I had done nothing compared to those genius kids who could win the bloody Olympiads, and how I could never amount to anything in my life. I would keep complaining to myself, to others, to anyone who would listen and I would feel good to know that I had nothing to do with what was happening with me. Because I felt I was the victim.
Then one day, I realized that I was rolling around in a giant bubble, isolating myself from everything that seemed like a responsibility and in this process, I had lost a sense of my own self. I had lost the concept of my identity. Every day, I questioned who I really was. And at the end of it, I wished I weren’t born – it would have been so easy if I hadn’t existed in this world. That is what you are feeling right now. I know this because I have lived through this.
When I started working to gather the pieces of my shattered personality and to rebuild myself, I realized the fundamental mistake I had done. I had got the concept of happiness all wrong. I used to believe that happiness was something that could be deserved, that could be gained or that could be achieved. I used to tie my happiness to goals. I would say that I’d feel happy when I achieved something. I used to feel that I had no reason to be happy because I had not achieved anything compared to others. That was exactly what I was doing wrong. That was the reason why I failed to live during the time I approached depression. That was the reason why I evaluated each and every point of my past, looking for reasons to be happy and failing in the end.
We believe that happiness is an end in itself. We believe that happiness is like a prize at the end of a race. What we fail to understand is that happiness is the means to live. You don’t need to do things to live happily; you need to live happily while doing things which will increase this happiness. Why do you have regrets? Why should anyone ever have regrets? I have never understood the concept of regret. Today, if I have a choice between A and B, and if I choose B, why should I regret later on in my life? Given the situation I am in today, I will always choose B, because I don’t know the future. How can we always make correct decisions? What are correct decisions anyway? How can you say that you regret something? Regrets never do anybody any good. All they do is make you wander in the maze of bygone days, crying over things which you can do nothing about now.
The fundamental problem is that we think we have something to live for. We don’t. We have nothing to live for. We didn’t come into this world with a purpose. No one was born with a to-do list. You are not here to achieve things. You are here for an adventure. You don’t ask yourself why you’re sitting on a roller-coaster when you go to an amusement park. You don’t ask yourself why you’re eating a delicious chocolate cake. Even if you ask, the answer is going to be blunt: it’s because you like it. There is no higher purpose to it. There is no higher purpose to your life. But that does not mean you have to kill yourself. It’s like throwing away a chocolate cake because it has no higher purpose. Its purpose is to be eaten. Life’s purpose is to be lived.
The deep thinkers that we humans are, we always attach purposes to our living because we want to search meaning in everything. I once worked on a project for several months, day-in and day-out, putting in hours of effort every day. When the project yielded no results, I didn’t kill myself. I didn’t ask myself why I did it. I was just happy that I had worked so resolutely for something that I was willing to involve myself completely in it. I did not look for validation; I cherished the thrill I used to get when I worked for something I liked.
We find meaning around us, thus complicating every damn thing. We try to find a meaning in everything. We work on something expecting it to yield results. We build our relationships expecting them to be fruitful. We expect even before we act. And when these things fail, we wonder what we gained. We don’t look at the abstract; we just focus on the material. We don’t see how much happiness we gained, or how much we learnt in the process. We just see the big fat zero at the end of the race. And then we evaluate our whole journey and wonder why we did what we did and that’s how we gain regrets.
Maybe this answer will be lost in the maze of the internet, but if you’ve reached till here, I want to tell you this: Do not expect everything to reward you. Life is a long journey, but we do not live it to get to the gardens we want to reach – we live it to cherish every step we take while moving on, and helping others move on. There is no greater purpose for anything. Do not think you are worthless because you didn’t get good marks in an exam, or because you are still single, or because someone told you that they don’t like you. These are reasons too silly to stop you from living your life. Who decides your worth anyway? Who decides anybody’s worth? No one can put a tag on people, evaluating their worth. There are so many wonderful things in life to live for; why put on a mask to hide it all? Just wake up early one fine morning, and go for a walk. Leave your troubles at home and look around you. There are beautiful trees, there are birds and animals around you, there’s the glorious sun, and there’s wind blowing right across your face. Take a book, go to a park, sit on a bench and enjoy it, losing yourself in another world as you live on for yet another day.
You have to accept responsibility for what you do because crying about your problems is not the solution to your problems. Be strong, accept who you are and try to be a better person than you were yesterday. You don’t have to compete with anyone. All you have to do is strive to be happy today and keep on being happy tomorrow. Doesn’t seem hard, does it? You don’t want the coming 50 years of your life be invalidated by the 23 years you’ve lived, now do you?
Read more articles by Vivek Mehta – https://www.quora.com/profile/Vivek-Mehta-8#