What is the purpose of goals and direction if not to expand our lives? When we set a goal that we would like to accomplish, it is often just another way of stating what we would like our lives to be like. This involves taking an idea and creating a path to make it reality, with every step into the unknown being a source of inspiration. The further I go from my comfort zone, the more I am able to expand myself. The past is the past, and the future – we don’t know what will happen. But we can try, now. We can dream, now.
Perhaps change does make us vulnerable, but vulnerability is only responsiveness – for better or worse. And that makes us human. Sensitivity is often seen as a negative trait. In a way, yes, it does mean that we will experience unpleasant emotions due to external circumstances. But if you turn that around, if you make the external circumstances nourishing, can sensitivity not be then a cause of growth? If vulnerability makes you the person who suffers the most in bad environments, can it not also make you the person who profits the most from good environments? Can this high responsiveness that makes you maladaptive in one circumstance, also make you highly adaptive in another?
A lot of our social systems focus on what is wrong with a person and what needs to be fixed. For example school results. We start to consider ourselves not as good as others, less than average based on grades. Or the notion later in life that you have to ‘be someone’, ‘be successful’: what stronger way is there to convey the message that you, by yourself, are nobody, are unsuccessful. Is it not obvious how harmful that message is? These cultural notions state that you are not enough as you are, there is something wrong with your natural state, and you need to strive to prove that you can overcome your worthlessness.
Perhaps this method can be beneficial for a lot of people if they do not internalise that something being wrong with a result they produce means that something is wrong with them. However for the more vulnerable of us, that can be disastrous. It is like being told over and over again that you are not good enough, there is something wrong with you as a person, without a possibility for further adaption and change. Is it really then such a surprise that there is a rise in depression or anxiety?
This does not make me lose hope. Yes, putting vulnerable people into these kind of social systems is disastrous for them, but what if we build our own systems that nourish these kinds of people? What if we focus on the other side of the coin; these are the people that will thrive the most in good environments. If vulnerability is nothing more than high responsiveness to external stimuli, then imagine the kind of results these people could be producing if surrounded by encouragement.
What if you stopped believing that you have to prove to people, who don’t really care anyway because they are too busy trying to prove themselves, that you are someone? What if you abandoned common ideologies of success and redefined them according to what suits you?
What if we actually appreciated the other side of the coin; the deeper connection we are able to have with people and life itself and the greater capacity to learn from our surroundings.
We shouldn’t have to find comfort in our tragedy. We shouldn’t have to ‘deal with it’. We should have our own encouraging environment that we can thrive in. I believe this kind of thriving could be unparalleled.