Updated: Jan 16, 2022
It came as a real shock to me when, after 30 revolutions around the sun, I finally realized that maybe happiness actually was NOT the point of my existence.
That might seem obvious to you, but for me it was pretty revelatory. After spending decades climbing my way out of depression on repeat only to find myself inevitably back in the same pit again, the concept that my depression did not mean that I was broken and entirely failing at life was an indescribable relief.
Somewhere along the path of human evolution, we were socialized to believe that emotions are either positive or negative, good or bad. We began to reduce our tolerance for the discomfort of “negative emotions” and began seeking “positive emotion” through almost any means necessary.
But what if ALL emotions are equally worth experiencing? What if life was meant to be 50/50 by design?
Experiencing what is hard, dark and uncomfortable in this life allows us to appreciate the good things so much more when they inevitably come along. It is impossible to selectively numb emotion, so when we block out what’s “negative,” we end up closing ourselves off to the “positive” as well. Having known utter numbness at times, I can tell you that I would much rather feel all of it than none of it!
I don’t want to waste any more of my short existence chasing after an unachievable goal of perfect, lasting happiness. I WANT THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE. I’ve known extreme happiness at times, but I have also known the depths of genuine despair. I can see immense value in what I learned from both experiences and I honestly wouldn’t trade either one. I want to experience the whole spectrum of emotion. I think that's what it takes to fully be alive.