With freedom comes independence, individuality and self-expression. To ensure that we enjoy this freedom, we protect said freedoms. Safety in our jobs, money, insurance, relationships and more. Despite all this, do we ever feel completely safe or ever insured that the walls we build will withstand the storms of life?
Great cities of old bear testimony to life’s sorrowful realities. What stood must at a time fall. Your next step could be your biggest mistake, you don’t control the bigger cause and effect realities that surround your life. From the small life threating diseases to the next nuclear bomb, we are left feeling defenseless, fearful and at most filled with unrest.
Life growing up isn’t as promising as it was sold. We never really have enough information to make the right solid decisions over the course of a life time. We can try to hold back all these detrimental forces of life but, soon enough, we are shadowed and engulfed by the chaos and madness.
All the things we think, feel and have placed our safety are as King Solomon puts it as “chasing the wind” and the weight of living hits us and we see and realise how desperately venerable we all are.
Our hold on life should as such and should be loose, grateful and instead of seeking total safety, we must see grandness of opportunity. Being mindful of this is helpful but, being able to live with it is another task.
Deep down, we all feel weak and hurt, mostly when our cheerful expectations go south, but to embrace a hold on the uneasy realities of life and turning them into opportunities of fortune, individuality and societal growth is our truest and greatest stronghold.
Enduring doesn’t make you strong nor does crying make you weak. How we act and take hold of the opportunities are what makes us conquerors. As Emerson wrote: “what lies behind us and what lies in front of us pales in comparison to what lies within us.” And that’s life’s greatest opportunity.
His paper on ‘self-reliance” holds a bitter sweet strong but bright shining message, we can all learn from through life’s unforgiving dark storms.
Here’s what he says in his essay Self-Reliance;
“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which ﬂashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the ﬁrmament of bards and sages…
There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.”
“The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is hate. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. Being a self-reliant man and having strength means one must be a nonconformist.
He who would gather immortal knowledge and skill must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Know yourself, and you shall have the right and power to overcome the world.”
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t”