1. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
From diet pills to the law of attraction to prostitution to psychotropic drugs, humans are constantly on the search to change, restore or improve things. Sometimes we are able to improve things, sometimes we aren’t and sometimes we improve things but cause other things to get worse.
Using the examples I just listed, one can see how these things may offer solutions but cannot make any promises.
Diet pills work for some who are just trying to lose a few pounds; it doesn’t work for people who need an overhaul on their diet. The law of attraction may help some to think more positively thereby causing them to take more chances and receive more results. But because one’s perspective of life is limited, one fails to consider that getting what one wants could be the worst thing to ever happen. Prostitution could lead to sex but not necessarily connection. Psychotropic drugs lessen symptoms for some, but may cause suicidal ideation in others.
We humans will continue to push the envelope when it comes to science and technology but the fact remains that these things won’t give us what we really want. And if they do, it may come at a hefty price.
2. Your Parent(s) May Not Love You
This is a tough pill to swallow for both a child and an adult. To be loved by one’s primary caregiver is to understand that one is inherently lovable, worthy and acceptable. As one grows, anyone who challenges the notion that they aren’t enough will be shut down. The worry of being flawed is merely a thought that doesn’t need to be taken seriously.
But when one suspects that they were loved because of the role they played for their primary caregiver or weren’t loved because they couldn’t play the role, it’s a life of second-guessing oneself, low self-esteem and anxiety.
Children aren’t stupid. They know when a painful shard is thrown their way, whether it was masked in a compliment, a toy or a threat. They also know that they need their caregiver because they aren’t old enough to fend for themselves.
As a result, they will do what is necessary to protect themselves. One of the things someone can do to protect themselves is frame their parents or caregivers in a positive light to mask the fact that one’s parent wanted to create an extension of themselves, not an autonomous individual.
3. There is Something about You that Everyone Sees but You
If I had a dime for every time two friends had a conversation with me about the other friend, I wouldn’t be rich (these are dimes, after all) but man, I’d have too many to not change them into paper money.
In some instances, the two people dislike each other but don’t realize that they have the same trait. In other instances, the two people have completely different attitudes to a core trait.
The reverse of these are also true. There are times when two people come together because they have the same negative trait and times when they complement each other because they’re so similar in general.
But then there’s the shadow, where everyone can see the trait you hate and disowned in yourself because you deny that you do it, despite people being able to list example after example of you doing the very thing you deny doing.
There’s also the defense where one says that they agree with everyone’s opinion on their trait, but the truth is that they really don’t get it. They don’t understand the gravity of their situation at all. If they saw what everyone else did, they’d be astonished. In fact, that is what they feel when they finally see their shadow side.
The point is, you don’t know yourself as well as you think you do.
4. You Do Not Have the Truth
For the most part, anyone who tells you that they have the definitive, objective truth about anything is a charlatan. As a matter of fact, if I’ve ever said that in any article, feel free to take whatever made sense to you and discard the rest.
People who claim to have The Truth annoy me. This is a pet peeve of mine but I doubt I’m totally innocent of thinking and saying I had The Truth. I feel like I may have slipped up at some point. I wouldn’t even be surprised if I still believed in people who claimed to have The Truth. It takes a while for me to unsee things sometimes.
From religion to political parties to spirituality and mere opinion, I’ve had my fair share of being duped by people who claimed to have all the answers. But honestly, how can one answer apply to every situation, context or person? It’s reductionist.
Also, it’s so common to hear a half-truth that you can accept depending on the context, suddenly give birth to opinion, subjective experiences and even falsifiable claims.
No one has the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. What we have are approximations of the truth or incomplete truths that will become closer to truth the more information we gather.
5. The Human Race (and Earth) May be Doomed
The thing is, we were already going to die at some point. But we act as if we have a death wish. If we don’t die because of something outside of our control, we have a tidy list of ways we can kill each other: man-made climate change, some extreme weather conditions, autonomous weapons, genocide, nuclear war, capitalism, communism, ecological collapse, pandemics, racial tension, social tension, mental illness and cyber-attacks.
I liken humans to autoimmune diseases. They attack themselves and then have to fight themselves to defend themselves. Just like a body that has this type of illness, whatever is considered foreign needs to be destroyed.
People like Vasili Arkhipov and Stanislav Petrov probably still exist; people who are not trigger happy and weigh the consequences of their actions before plunging their country and potentially the world into more conflict.
But sometimes I question how many times are we going to be this fortunate? Then again, are we fortunate? Perhaps to an extent. Things could be worse, I guess. But couldn’t things be better too?
I suppose the answer could be that things couldn’t be any different than they are. How can one argue against what is?
6. Things Cannot Make You Happy
Let’s look at this logically. If things could make you happy, that means that despite what you think of the thing, it’ll make you happy. If things could make you happy, why are people from different walks of life taking their own lives and the lives of others?
If things could make you happy, why is it that when you get something you’ve wanted, the happiness only lasts for a little while? And then that very thing turns out to be a nuisance later on? Also, why is it that one could get more and more stuff and feel even worse?
Maybe it’s because things don’t make us happy; at least not forever. Maybe what encourages happiness is being able to embrace what is happening in one’s reality. After all, resisting what is makes one feel worse.
I will admit that resistance is what galvanizes one to try and change their circumstances. It shows boundaries and what is/is not acceptable. But just as the yin-yang symbol illustrates, there is some good in the bad and some bad in the good.
As good as some things may prove to be and as happy as some things may prove to be, there will come a point where it won’t be so good or happy. And then it’ll change again. And on and on it goes until one’s time here is done.