Words on Words: finding the root of growth


Photo Illustration by Alice Yu.

Alice Yu

A french novelist, Marcel Proust authored a seven-volume novel named À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time). Proust based this series off his own personal life, exploring homosexuality, love and vanity, among various other themes in life. For the last three years of his life, Proust confined himself to his bedroom to finish his novel, only to die of pneumonia and pulmonary abscess in 1922.
Many people ask me how I stay positive all the time. The answer? I don’t. There are times that I just don’t want to meet people. I don’t want to go outside; I don’t want to constantly be happy. Sometimes I question the human race and lose faith in those around me. I don’t see the point of working everyday to create a better world when it seems like everyone else doesn’t even care.
In no way do I want to come off as pretentious or arrogant, but a lot of my positivity comes from myself — especially my mindset. I actively try to seek out the good and approach challenges with a calm and open mind. But one of the reasons I’m able to stay positive almost every day is because I have people around me encouraging me. They return my smiles, crack and few jokes and give me their time and company.
I may have planted the seeds for my own happiness, but those around me ward off the weeds and provide rays of sunlight into my life. My soul wouldn’t be able to grow without all the caring, loving people in my life and just as they help me, I’m more than willing to give up what I need to help them.
Discover yourself through others
This absolutely does not mean compete constantly with others. This is a call to notice how others act. Is there a trait they exhibit that you like or don’t like? Even the people who don’t make you happy can help your soul blossom by showing you what type of weed you don’t want to be like. Absorb traits you like and support and be wary of adopting traits you don’t like.
Pay it forward. Seriously
Just like how others support and encourage you, always be open to help others. It doesn’t have to be everyone, but try to form a supportive community at least between you and your friends. A small act of kindness can go a long way. This is so, so cheesey, but it cannot possibly be overstated. I’ve had plenty of bad days that deplete me of any energy I have, but a smile, greeting and hug from a friend gives me hope to continue smiling, just because I know that someone cares. There’s nothing more powerful knowing that someone out there cares for your wellbeing, so don’t ever be afraid to express it. In my book, showing compassion isn’t weakness, but a rare strength.
Many of the things I said in this post as well as my previous posts may be sound cliche and naive, but if that’s what it takes to be a better human being in this world, then I’m all up for championing those traits. We’re all on this journey of life together, headed to the same ending. There is no doubt everyone’s goal in life is different, but I would prefer to enjoy the walk of life, meeting new people along the way, than to rush through with only myself on my mind. I’m in this life to love and be loved, not to win.
To me, that’s the ultimate prize.
photo illustration by Alice Yu