A long time ago, my family and I visited the ethereal beaches of Cancún, Mexico. I was very young at the time, but I remember that my whole family wanted to swim deep into the ocean. Both of my parents took my brother and I’s hands, and slowly led us into the water. Now, the waves were a lot bigger and more powerful than I was, and if they felt like it, they could have drowned me. However, neither of my parents let go of my hand. In fact, they pulled me in deeper and deeper, until my small feet couldn’t touch the soft sand of the shore. I remember the moment of pure bliss when my tiny body rose up and down with the water.
What could have potentially been a deadly adversary, actually carried my body gently up and down and never actually hurt me.
Although everything turned out fine in the end, I still remember panicking when I saw the huge waves. I was afraid of what might happen to me if my parents let go of me. Afraid is actually an understatement, because I remember my heart palpitating in my ears, and I could feel it ready to jump out of my body (ya’ll I couldn’ve peed myself just because of how scared I was).
And that, is a memory I have held onto this week.
You know, I have found it really hard (extremely hard), to keep a positive attitude when everyone around you seems soulless. Yes, I am not kidding, it was one of those weeks were at the end, you learn everyone had a miserable week while yours was pretty good. And before you get all “Oh Michelle, but you have no idea what I’m going through. Literally shut up, we don’t care you had a nice day!” No, I get it, but the thing is that nothing spectacular happened to me this week. In fact, this week was just as mundane and plain as the others. It’s just that before this week I had been caught up in a current filled with others’ negativity.
I (finally) realised that it wasn’t me, but my surroundings. And let me clarify (again), I’m not blaming people in the “you’re so negative, you’re bringing me down.” I mean that I let their own woes affect me.
Wanting to make everyone else feel good, really drained my own happiness. I thought I could take it you know? I thought I could fix everyone else’s problems.
But I realised my big flaw.
The way I was trying to make others feel better, was to pretend I hated their situation as much as they did. I wanted them to not feel so alone, so I started to be “understanding” by feeling the same way.
Now I understand that that is a pretty sick and twisted way of being “understanding,” and I’m never allowing myself to do that again. Because, there was a very blurred line between pretending to feel sad, and actually being sad—-and honey, I crossed that line so quickly I couldn’t even see it. I actually started feeling sad for things that weren’t even happening to me. It became hard for me to discern my own emotions from everybody else’s. I started to become them, and strayed away from who I was: a girl who is constantly laughing obnoxiously, and gets easily excited and moved by everything.
I finally woke up when I heard this story, that I now have the pleasure of passing onto you:
Once upon a time, there were two Buddhist monks who were going to cross a river. When they are going to cross the river, they run into a woman. This woman was also planning on crossing the river, however, she was scared and didn’t want to cross it.
One of the monks, picked her up, put her on his back, and crossed helped her cross the river.
Once they made it safely onto the other side, the monk put her down and continued on his way with the other monk. The other monk was raging. No, he was furious, he was boiling inside. How could he? Buddhists monks are not allowed to touch women, and not only had he touched her, he carried on his shoulders to the other side.
Three hours later he finally says:
“I’m going to tell our master you know? This is unacceptable, you know it’s not allowed.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“The woman? You carried her across the river.”
The other monk started laughing and goes:
“Yes, I carried her to the other side, but apparently you’ve been carrying her for the past three hours.”
And that was it. The beautiful realization that I was carrying with the weight of someone else’s problems, for absolutely no reason. This week, I was fully happy because I pushed myself out of that current I let myself fall into.
For me, it’s carrying with too much, but for others it’s something else. And to me, the simplest answer is: forgiveness.
We carry too many grudges, who hurt us more than whatever the other person did. We carry with very old, very tiring, and very unnecessary baggage. In fact, someone this week told me that we may not be in the best situation, but we are in the correct situation. Think about that for a split second. I am absolutely sure that we could all list all the things that are going against us at the moment. But instead of seeing them as something against you, they are here to make you surpass your current self. They are quite literally kicking your ass because they know that you are way better than who you are now. Situations don’t just “happen,” they are here to improve and renew you, even if they make you feel otherwise. Even if the current is seemingly against you, it is pushing you to your maximum. It is making use of your intelligence in order to push past your problems.
This is the time for forgiveness and acceptance. Acceptance of yourself, acceptance of your own responsibility to be a better you. Your responsibility to work hard for yourself. Forgive other people, because those chains are going to strangle you the more you let them.
But most importantly, accept the responsibility that happiness is your own choice.
As cliché as I sound right now, it is so easy to say “I am unhappy because this b***h did this to me!” Well honey, you can still be happy in spite of the things other people do to you. Okay? Okay.
In all seriousness guys, know that you are not by yourself.
When I felt the current of the ocean push against me aggressively, my hands never slipped away from my parent’s grip. Both of them were ready to pull my out if something went wrong, and both of them let me go when they knew I could swim on my own.
But you have to be light in order to float, you have to let it go.
Featured Image: Me! Artwork done by me! Yay!