– What do you see?
– A troubled young man.
– Why am I troubled?
– There are a million reasons why but so few remedies. ‘Why do you suffer?’ eludes you. You desperately seek for answers where answers don’t exist. You were robbed of your happiness since the start and it’s unfair, yes. You know that life is cold, unfair and harsh. Life was not good to you and you not good to yourself. So many times you thought you reached your breaking point, but the punches never stopped and you never died. I don’t know why you are in pain, but you are. I am sorry you are not happy. I really am. Everyone deserves happiness and living a life imprisoned is wrong.
– I was not robbed of happiness. I never had it. I did my best when it came to life, but the choices I ‘made’ were made for me. I was a passenger my whole life. I can’t make the simplest of decisions without feeling overwhelmed. I can’t leave the room without the fear accompanying me. I can’t trust myself.
– You do your best, that’s how you live. Fear permeates every aspect of our lives. Doubt is always on our mind. All of us experience struggle but we deal with it as best as we can.
– Am I weak then?
– Aren’t we all weak? How do you define weakness and how do you define strength? I can be strong one day and weak another. No, you are not weak.
– But I feel like I have failed everyone that loves me.
– Have you? Being a good son and a good student is failing? Why do you fear failure when success and potential surrounds you? You spend so much time inside your head life flies past you. You focus on how the circumstances affect your emotions and your thoughts but not what they really are. You ignore your success and concentrate on your defeats. You make a mistake and everything you build crumbles down. Someone critiques you and your strength fades; you disappear. You are not weak, no. You are lost. You are like a soulless ship that wanders alone in the dark.
– How will I not be lost if I don’t know where I’m going… I did not decide my life. My current circumstances are not a result of my doing, but of those around me. I was never in control. And now adulthood is knocking on my door demanding to be embraced. I’m not an adult. I can’t be. I don’t know what to do only to retreat to despair and melancholy.
– No one can find you a path, but yourself. It is never too late to take charge but I know it is daunting. None of us were prepared for adulthood but all of us managed in the end. Life is not defined by how you feel but by how you act. A man who does what he’s supposed to do is an adult despite his feelings of melancholy and desperation. Feelings are not the reality but the reality is defined by actions and intentions.Your thoughts and feelings misguide your judgment of life and mislead you in your abilities. You minimize your experiences and your achievements become meaningless. I know you keep looking for your path but your efforts seem futile. Your emotions are your enemies because they deceive you.
– But what can I do? I struggled for years wrestling that darkness inside me with no progress. My battles were fruitless and my future is hopeless. I can’t do this alone and I have no one by my side.
– Yes yes yes… You ask yourself who are you to demand greatness? Who are you to voice an opinion? Who are you to object? Who are you to succeed? You wait for other people to build you up. You wait for permission. You need the approval of others. However, no one knows you like you do and no one should decide your future but you. Forget what your friends say. Forget what your parents think you should or you shouldn’t do… Why can’t you be a doctor? Why can’t you be a writer? Why can’t you be what you want to be? It’s not about what you can or can’t be but what you want to be… Forget that your father said you are not smart enough to become a doctor or your mother said you are not meant to be a professional athlete… Forget that your friends make fun of your plans to go to university… You are an adult now. You will be responsible for the consequences of your life so you may as well decide on your actions.
– You think I don’t know that? You don’t understand how I feel. I scream for independence and strength. I desire that freedom to decide my life. You don’t understand how bad I want to get rid of these chains and be free from all that pain, despair, sadness, emptiness, futility and loneliness… I want to feel good… I want to feel happy.. I want to feel myself, to be myself. To walk into the room and introduce myself… To define myself… I want to not care… I want to be able to live.
– You have to find that strength. I don’t know how, I don’t know from where… I can only provide you with the information to find that source of strength, I can’t give it to you. It’s a journey, not a destination. It’s a process not a result. You live by different rules than others. You live with your regrets overwhelming you; with the past and future shackling you down. You burden yourself with everything that comes your way and then demand yourself to succeed. It’s like tying 20kg plates on each leg and going for a swim. Your behaviour is self-destructive. You employ criticism when praise should exist. You assign blame and stimulate judgment where love is needed. You put yourself down and demand success. You fail, because failure is the only outcome since all you do is demand perfection and criticize yourself relentlessly. How will you succeed if you don’t give yourself some breathing space?
– Do I deserve encouragement, love, sympathy?
– Listen to me. You can’t ask whether you deserve it. You do and that is the end of it. Your mind is messed up. The fact that you dare to ask that question proves your thinking is flawed. Stop bashing yourself and start praising yourself. You are a bright young man with a nice life and a nice future, regardless of your perspective; of your perception. Love yourself.
– I have not achieved anything of significance or importance. I coasted through the school, I failed tests, I barely made it to the university… I want to believe your words but I can’t convince myself.
– Failing does not define you. You failed, you screwed up, but why does that mean you can’t create a different future? Why does your present reality has to be defined by the failures’ of yesterday? You were sad yesterday but does it mean you have to be sad tomorrow? You can change; you can have a different life than your present circumstances allow you. There is a way out; there is a choice. There is hope… Besides, you did right by everyone; you didn’t turn to drugs or alcohol or anything else; you kept your ground and did right.
– Do you believe what you are saying or are these words just empty, false encouragements? Do you really think that I can get better?
– Does it matter what I think? Should it matter what I think? What do you think? Do you think life will not change and you will feel this way for the rest of your life? Do you think there is no cure? Do you think there is no hope?
– All I ever knew was despair and sadness. How can I believe something else exists? How can I believe your promises of a different reality; of a better, happy, positive life?
– Why wouldn’t you believe it? Life is never either black or white; it’s a full rainbow… How can you claim only darkness prevails when life is all around… You have to believe it will get better, because it will. If you believe in your ability to achieve a better, happy, positive life you will find the strength you desire. One day, soon, you’ll realize life was and is worth living. You will understand that your past failures and achievements have helped you become the man you will be. Your perception about yourself will change and you will feel differently. You will forget the sadness and pain that once surrounded your life and you will live a better tomorrow. You will see life differently and your experiences will help you save someone else’s life from destruction.