We always hear people say ‘think positive’, ‘keep your thoughts positive’, ‘ward off the negativities’, but the question that arises is – Can we really control our thoughts or remove the negative ones by just thinking positive? Even if we are successful in doing that, wouldn’t it be short-lived as we have only suppressed our original thoughts because what exists, exists? Our thoughts are transient. They are who we are. So, how long can we suppress or control them, telling ourselves to live in a make-belief world?
In today’s time, we are burdened with the responsibility to think positive, be happy, strong, etc. come what may. We are human beings and have chosen emotions to experience ourselves. We understand who we are through the experiences those emotions bring. But the unpalatable connotation we’ve attached with crying, sadness, stress, misery, depression etc stops us from accepting them as our natural emotions. So, the moment we experience any such emotion, we start looking for ways to escape it instead of embracing it. We believe these negatively-tagged emotions make us less than others, proving us weak and indecisive. We fail to recognise that the only way to find our inner strength is to face them. In proving to be happy and stoic in front of our family and friends, are we genuinely happy or is it just pretence? Isn’t that happiness or strength short lived? Aren’t we already feeling dead and suffocated inside? This suppression eventually bursts and our intensified emotions spew out on others in the form of anger, blame and contempt. Thoughts like “I do so much for my family to keep them happy but they never understand me” or “I get no acknowledgement for the sacrifices I made for my family”, cloud our minds. We start building a wall of ego around us to hide our so called weak emotions and begin to operate through the same. We fail to recognise that the only way to find our inner strength is to go through the entire process of experiencing, understanding and imbibing the deep-rooted aspects of ourselves completely.
Rahul was an extremely talented and intelligent young boy. As he grew older, the expectations of his parents started building around his talent for arts. Seeing his vibrance and level of intelligence, he was expected to perform exceptionally well in all spheres including academics. He had to be a part of every competition and was expected to win it. But what was not allowed for him to experience was fear, tiredness, hesitation, any inhibitions or apprehensions. At any point in the day if he wasn’t up to his best performance, he was reminded of all the expectations he had to meet and remain No. 1 because he had something that the others didn’t. His intelligence became a burden for him. The responsibility of keeping up with all the expectations to lead in every aspect of his life started to take a toll on him. He started hating himself for his special qualities. Rather than appreciating what he had, he started wishing he had nothing and was just an average child. Everyone around him put him under the pressure of how perfect he was and had to sustain the perfection at any cost.
Later, he took admission in an engineering college though he was still in love with the arts. He could indulge in painting for hours and had an eye for seeing the world from a unique perspective. But how can people like him explore themselves through what satisfies them emotionally? They are answerable for each step they take and the burden wears them down. His creativity was curbed and he was pushed into a rat race. He survived two years of college caught in the rut, but whenever he tried to paint, his teachers came down hard on him, berating him in front of his friends. He started believing his creativity made him weak and being in touch with his emotions was wrong. He thought one must only rely on their intelligence and logical mind to succeed in life. Suppressing his fragile and creative side, he continued to focus ardently on becoming an engineer, lost touch with his emotions and started living a robotic life.
After college, Rahul got a well-paying job at a Multinational company but it just wasn’t enough. He felt empty inside. He had forgotten how to smile or what being happy felt like. A few years on, he found love and chose to marry but found him unable to reciprocate the love he received from his wife. His married and professional lives were both becoming insipid. The disconnect with his emotions trapped him in this dreary routine of corporate life. Yes, he always had a sharp mind, was uniquely talented and was a gifted creative who deep in his heart somewhere knew that he should have followed his instincts and done something different with his life. Centring on his aptitude, he could have used his creativity to make a difference to the world, but he had lost touch with that side of him. He had suppressed his individuality deep inside of him doing what was expected of him rather than where his heart lay. Today, the suppression has led him to go astray and lose his way bringing him to a place where he doesn’t know where his married and professional lives stand.
Human Beings are both logical and emotional by nature. When we suppress our logical side, our emotions get affected and vice versa. A balance of both is essential for our growth. There will always be lows and highs, likes and dislikes; we just have to learn to embrace them equally. It is alright if someday you don’t feel happy or at the top of your game, it is acceptable if someday you are unable to perform to the best of your potential or expectations. Cut yourself some slack, allow yourself to experience that as well. Only when you let yourself confront your emotions completely, do you accept yourself completely. Our emotions help us see our own selves earnestly with which we can delve deeper inside our limitless being. In limiting and controlling our emotions, we limit and control who we are. Allowing ourselves the emotions never meant lashing out on strangers or the loved ones, instead it implies recognising that you feel angry today and accept that too. Stop burdening yourself with always wanting to think positive. When you accept yourself with every emotion as it is, you accept others also with equal ease and surrender. Through this unconditional acceptance, you recognise the beauty of the latent existence of love and there is nothing more positive than the power of love. The lines below describe how with all your acceptance and non-acceptance, all your scars and pain, you are still the most beautiful version of yourself, because you are love.
“उलझने भी हैं और तनहाइयाँ भी
Your agony, your pain, your own twists and your turns are all just as beautiful as you are because they are nothing but a reflection of you. Accepting them is Accepting Yourself.