by Ruwaydah Safa Kalb
First place in Essaymama Essay Writing Contest
The ambition for knowledge and self-realization is as old as humanity. The man was born with the thirst for ultimate realization engraved in the deepest layers of his being. We all want to discover the reason behind our existence. We need to understand why we were born and why we die. What is the purpose of life? Is it joy or suffering? Whatever the true meaning of one’s life is, he can never come to the final realization without going between these two absolutes. When I look around me, I see how everyone I know has his own struggles and reasons to live. I am aware of the fact that people and governments create wars for oil and diamonds, which cannot be owned by anyone, simply because of our temporary existence as individuals. The obstacles in life taught me one thing: nothing is mine, except for the naked truth I was born with. As all other people, I carry a baggage of anger, hate, love, joy and dreams. My emotional layers would be poor without the experiences they resulted from. My evolution as a human being would not be possible without the struggles that taught me how to be strong.
Obstacles are necessary even when a person is put in the ideal surroundings. He has enough money, a compatible partner, and successful children. What does he face? Insecurities. Our complex personality is consisted of many aspects related to internal perceptions about the events in our life, especially the ones from the period of early childhood. There are many elements that determine the way we react to the events and relations: the way we were raised, the education we received, the community we grew up in, and much more. We are not always aware of the impressions that influence the way we perceive reality. We can only become stronger if we understand ourselves, and we can only come to that understanding if we learn from the struggles in our lives. I’ve had the opportunity to observe people who have everything others wish for: money, power, love, health, and achievements. They are the perfect foundation for developing domineering, overly-aggressive behavior that intoxicates people around them. Their lives seem perfect, and that’s the exact obstacle they face.
The difficulties on our path to self-realization have a “permission” to exist. They have a purpose, as gears in a complex mechanism that is perfectly balanced in its apparent chaos. Through pain and suffering, life forces us to realize when we’ve wrapped comfort around our existence. We cannot fix something if we don’t face an experience that leads to awareness. How would we recognize progress if we didn’t work hard for it? When I realized the purpose of the difficulties I faced, I understood they were a necessary tool that taught me how to make a difference between good and bad, important and insignificant, useful and pointless. I was not aware of the value of some things until I lost them. The most tragic event in my life made me realize that the world did not exist for me. No one is in charge of making me feel safe and happy all the time. It is my own responsibility to deal with the emotions that resulted from something I could no longer influence. Every experience comes with a lesson. In reality, obstacles are a necessary part of the journey towards our goals.
People, like societies, are not solely transformed by revolutions. In fact, revolutionary transformations can often take us backwards. It’s the little, often understated changes that make us stronger by forcing us to face our fears and disappointment. When something is too painful for us, we are not immediately ready to take it as a lesson. Nevertheless, we eventually come to the realization that the purpose of the event was not to make us give up on everything we stand for, but to make us stronger and more committed to discovering the reason we live for. For me, the only way to surpass the barriers is to understand the way they influence my emotions, thoughts, and overall personality. When I see the bigger picture, I am able to perceive the difficulties not as a punishment, but as a necessary impetus that’s never as serious as my current emotions make it seem.
The biggest obstacles in life don’t come from external factors. They come from people’s ego, which is rarely willing to accept a situation that doesn’t make it feel comfortable. Each difficulty tests my ego. When things don’t go as planned, I wonder: “Do I have enough knowledge and strength to proceed? Will this experience make me a bitter person, or will it help me grow?” Every moment in my life may seem like a struggle when I observe it with a negative state of mind. Thus, my mind patterns, dictated by the Ego, are the main obstacles I need to overcome. The bumps on the road are necessary lessons that help me surpass myself.
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