Are You Really Living?

Sometimes I wonder if there is any point in sharing my thoughts. I always get things wrong, so I’ll probably get this wrong too. And people have probably already heard what I have to say. Even if I have discovered something for myself, I haven’t made a new discovery; it was already there, and people probably already know about it.

But even though people might have heard it before, sometimes it takes a few times for it to fully sink in. Maybe it is told at a time when someone really needed to be reminded of it, or it allows us to take a look at it from a different angle that we haven’t looked at it from before.

I suppose that is what happened when I watched Soul yesterday evening. I knew that life was about the little things; the moments that we can easily fail to capture if we let ourselves become fixated on what we want or who we think we should be. And that we should find joy in the journey, not to just wait for or focus on the destination. But it allowed it to sink in deeper to a place that it hadn’t reached before. It reminded me that life is about living.

Are you living right now? Or are you just surviving; trying to get through each day until whatever this is that is going on right now is all over? 

This time, the news of lockdown hit me a little harder than it had previously. I found myself getting up later, eating more, reading and writing less because, well, I felt a bit rubbish. 

I justified my actions because we all keep hearing how we don’t need to be achieving anything of great quality, we just need to get through this. So, I thought that as long as I kept going, it was acceptable. And yes, it is acceptable, for a day or two, or a week or so. We are human. But is it acceptable to keep dragging our ‘just get through’ mindset along since last March?

It is encouraging to know that we are not expected to do anything with this time, but that shouldn’t act as a free pass so we then don’t push as hard as we know we can. Having said that, there are days when we will just have to get through since we are facing grief and loneliness, as well as the problems that were there before the pandemic, and of course, the pandemic itself. And that is okay. We need to be kind to ourselves. But are we being kind to ourselves if we start to realise that we are just surviving, rather than living?

Am I living right now? People are getting vaccines. Isn’t this the light at the end of the tunnel that we have been waiting for? Why is it now, when we have proof of the light, that everything suddenly seems darker?

I suppose that because we now have proof that things are going to get better, I have kind of given up believing that it would. Instead, I am just… waiting. 

“You just need to believe in yourself.”

I’ve heard those words quite frequently during the past twenty-odd years. At primary school and at high school; from friends and family, tutors and work colleagues. But how do you believe in yourself, because even when I try, I still seem to mess up. And by messing up, I’m practically providing evidence as to why I don’t – and shouldn’t – believe in myself. 

But no matter how much evidence we seem to collect, the act of believing in one’s self isn’t a court case. We do not need any evidence. The whole act of believing is to trust in something without needing proof, otherwise it isn’t believing that we are doing. 

Although there is power behind positive affirmations, just telling myself that I believed in myself wasn’t as effective as I needed it to be. I just found myself… waiting. 

I’ve often thought that maybe I just need to wait until I’m older; until I’ve gained more knowledge or achieved the things that I want to achieve. Maybe then everything will suddenly click into place. After that, I will then be able to really believe in myself. Be patient. It is good to be patient. 

But patience doesn’t mean to just wait – it means to endure; to accept that it is going to be difficult, but to also carry on. 

Believing isn’t about waiting until we believe, just like learning isn’t about waiting until we have learnt. In order to do both of these things we have to be willing by demonstrating through our actions, even before we reach the goal or destination, and before we feel as though we are ready. 

As I watched Soul, the idea that what we want to achieve is not our purpose also sunk in a little deeper. I have often struggled with the sense of purpose, but more recently it has been because I know that my writing doesn’t meet the quality standards of the publishing world, and what with Furlough the Third…

But our work and whatever our ‘spark’ may be is not our purpose. Our purpose is just to simply be us.

‘As bees transfer pollen inadvertently, the flowers are fertilized. But the bees are not intentionally pollinating flowers, they have another mission – rearing young bees.’*

What if, like the bees, by looking after others, as well as doing the things that create that ‘spark’ within us whilst looking after our physical and mental wellbeing, we happen to pollinate a few flowers along the way? We don’t need to focus on pollinating (finding purpose) because just by ‘beeing’ (sorry. I had to…) us, not only is that enough, but we are also spreading our gifts without realising it.

We need the things that give us our ‘spark’; they are important. But we won’t fulfil our purpose by having them approved, whether that be by someone verbally, or in the form of money or status. Whose approval are we looking for? No matter how much we admire or respect someone, or want to make them proud, no human beings’ approval will ever be enough. 

Just as you don’t need any evidence to believe – whether that is in yourself or that everything is going to be okay over the next few months – you also don’t need to justify what makes you who you are. 

Life is found in the living,

 And it is lived just by being. 

Your purpose is to just to be you, 

And that doesn’t need to be approved.

Believe through your actions,

And when faced with distractions,

Don’t wait until they have gone,

Have patience…

And carry on

Being you.


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