Voices: The importance of maintaining positivity


Alex Rosa-Figueroa

Staff Writer 

Life is a complicated mess.

We as humans are fraught every day with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and it very often seems like we have little — or as it seems increasingly likely no — control in our lives. And this awful backdrop is merely the stage upon which we play; to describe its routine horrors is merely to scrape the surface of the impossible madness we subject ourselves to every waking minute (and even some of the sleeping ones, too).

Self-doubt, self-consciousness, self-hatred or loathing — these words are the bane of our existence. And make no mistake; we are all, if at least once in our lives, subject to the turgid terror and pain when this diabolical triad forces our hand to turn against ourselves. They work in tandem to tear us down while building each other up — consciousness feeding doubt, which births the very displeasure that turns a self-conscious eye to ourselves.

With the triad of internal misery at play, the aforementioned daily slings and arrows that dearest Shakespeare warned us about become even sharper, more painful. Life can seem, at many times, unbearable, insurmountable — indeed, at times the thought of getting up in the morning just to face another day of internal and external beatings seems impossible.

It’s no wonder that so many give thought to giving up.

But, as we are told at a young age, quitting is never the answer. When we are beset at all sides from any number of plagues and woes, the answer may seem like a simple and clean one. But to throw it all away is to throw away so much more.

There are a thousand upon a thousand more reasons to keep going, to push forward with unflinching stride, to block out and push out the hissing whispers on the edge of our consciousness. They are very often, though, hard to see; but then again, so many things are.

It is a tired and clichéd sentiment, one of the many in our culture that is so beating into our consciousness that we scoff with a condescending air whenever we hear it, but we very often — almost always, actually — fail to see the big picture. We internally become so engrossed in the finer details that we lose sight of the grand design, the overall image. We fail to notice the important things that surround us and that with which we surround ourselves. Everything mistaken brush stroke or slipped hue is magnified a thousand fold when we are close; yet when we step back, we find that when surrounded by the form and structure of a full masterpiece, its presences almost seems negligible.

But again, that is a tired phrase, and one that’s easy for me to spout off from the relative safety of my computer, which currently rests in the warm house of my loving family. But while repetition seems to wear down the beauty of a statement, the wondrous nuance of every phrase and syllable, time has surprisingly little effect on the message, on the very spirit of the word.

As a man far more clever than I has put, ideas are bulletproof. Which, again, seems a tired phrase tailored to a quite specific context — but I know you’ve caught my meaning. Though, if my tired words and dated ways have yet to sway you, let me tell you a few other things I know about you, and the big picture of which you rest.

You are good at something. Wait, actually, you’re great at something (and possibly a lot of things). It is alarmingly easy to knock ourselves down and convince ourselves of our own lack of worth, that our skills are negligible, or soon will be when faced with the perilous stage we speak of in hushed, worried tones: the Real World. But we all exceed at something, even if someone else exceeds at it as well.

But what is this? I hear a multitude of voices from the crowds claim with righteous indignity that they do not, in fact, exceed at anything. Well, I say with a certain level of softness in my tone, get excellent at something. If you truly think yourself what some may call a talentless loser — a phrase the whisper of self-loathing loves to bandy about — then get good at something. Learn a language. Pick up an art. Consume a library’s collected knowledge; by the time you’ve finished the last book, a certain level of mastery in some skill will be guaranteed.

But if the notion of skill collection, of taking faith in one’s own ability, does not appeal to you, then at least consider this: you are not alone. While it may seem like an empty stage, with you in the spotlight before an increasingly restless audience, you must realize that the stage is not as empty as you think. You will always have someone to support you, to care about you, to pick up the scene when you flub your lines. You are never as alone as you think.

And that simplifies this mess of life, doesn’t it

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