It is my deepest belief that one does not need to concentrate solely on the adversities they have overcome in order to be considered an interesting and wise individual. No matter what life experience a person may encounter, if they take something away from it, they are on the path toward becoming an enlightened being.
Let me explain.
On the way to work, I was listening to a PodCast about documenting one’s experiences without compromising the privacy of the other people in the story, the “supporting characters,” if you will. As a whole, it was a brilliant, inspirational PodCast, but it got me thinking. The primary reason writing one’s life stories can get sticky is because people gravitate toward promoting their struggles instead of their positive moments.
First of all, if this applies you, kudos for showing life who is boss, and thank you for sharing it with us. It is an honor to learn with you. Sharing personal information is an undeniably scary endeavor. With that said, although you should be proud of your accomplishments, they are such a small part of what makes you, you. We want to know the whole you in its fabulous entirety.
In college, I took an exploratory writing class. Here we were encouraged to take our experiences and compile them into short stories. One student wrote how he used to be a drug addict, another how she became an orphan by the young age of 15. Then there was me, writing about seemingly inconsequential things like a telephone conversation with my best friend and my immobilizing fear of bugs. My teacher described me as the “warm and fuzzy” writer in the class. I may have kept things more light hearted, but at the end of the semester, I still felt as if I got the same amount of internal insight as the other students. Focusing on the small moments is what I needed to do at that particular juncture.
As a deeply emotional person, the only way I know how to handle my emotions is by confronting them head-on. In term of my class, it wasn’t that I was afraid to confront the more difficult moments in my past. I wasn’t even afraid of people reading about them. When it came down to it, I was already friends with the skeletons in my closet. We’ve met, compared notes, and made peace. This practice is the only thing keeping me from becoming an extremely negative person, and even then I have my days.
What I’m trying to say is, yes my lovelies, explore every nook and cranny of your past. Delve deep into your subconscious and embrace every beautifully ugly part of you. Share what you have learned, and help others on their journey, but don’t dwell on those areas as if they are the only thing making you stand out.
On this mortal coil called life, it’s really just one presumably unimportant event after another, with sporadic note-worthy moments breaking it up. The adversities you have overcome don’t define you, and those big, glorious moments don’t either. It’s all those little twists and loops that knit our lives together; each part joining to form one magnificent tapestry we can all learn from. I would bet you anything, if you also focused on and promoted the small, positive moments, instead of the struggles you have endured alone, you will start looking at life, and your upcoming hardships, through a more positive light. In turn, you will then make the world a more positive place.