Who we are is too often contingent on what we were told we are supposed to be. There is an old proverb regarding the duality of man about two wolves in each of us, to paraphrase: there is a good wolf and a bad wolf, the one that thrives is the one you feed the most. It implies that not only are the two sides at odds with one another, but that only one can be in control. The two wolves reside in us all, most deny one and focus on nurturing the other. Each of us decide in every moment with which side we are going to identify. I don't believe that we have to decide. The greatest detriment to finding happiness is believing that the road to understanding is universal.
Visualize instead that the point between the two sides is who you are. Imagine that we are not the sum of our positive and negative but rather we are a point between the two, each side a gravitational force drawing us toward it. We are then merely an entity between happiness and misery. The influence of these emotions is not written on our souls it is the effect of external forces. A person can be mired in awful emotion but still remain a good person and vice versa. The key to getting past this dynamic is understanding.
Everyone will be unhappy at some point, but realizing that happiness isn't removing tragedy it is learning the difference and accepting each for what it is becomes paramount. Emotions can be managed if you have the presence of mind to be in control. Know that without sadness happiness is meaningless. Without hate love is meaningless. Learn to navigate the spaces between your emotions.
Many of us are so selfish that we cannot look beyond our own feelings, empathy is a powerful tool for making others happy and divining what makes us happy. To be able to experience all of the highs and lows through someone else makes your own experience manageable. When someone you love suffers, you suffer only to a lesser degree. When someone you love succeeds, you succeed through them. Envelop yourself in that feeling, immerse yourself in their grief or joy and you will grow exponentially.
Explore your emotions, push them to the limit. Is levity a bandage for happiness or can it be sustained? Is our perception of all of this just a result of chemicals reacting in our brains? Are we all addicts chasing the dragon of feeling worth, maybe even just to feel worthy? Each of us has that one thing to make the feeling of emptiness subside if only for a moment, is that what we were meant to do? Is there even such a thing as meaning? Is complacency second prize to happiness or are they completely different things?
We are comprised of millions of moments, each bearing a variable impact on who we have become. Every moment up until this point formed who you are right now and who you are is not who you were nor is it who you will be a moment from now. There is no one version of me as I would imagine there is no one version of any of you. We aren't what we were, yet we hold on so tightly to what was and what could have been that we stop valuing what is. So much time wasted looking back that we miss what is right here and now. Most of my life was regret until I decided to start looking forward.
Our past ripples into the future and what is important carries over. To live with both eyes in the rearview leaves us castrated, weak. You are only who you are now, right now. So be here right now! Any moment of doubt or skepticism or fear is you, own it. By the time you read the next line you will be someone else, embrace the “in the moment” you. What you were taught growing up is just the best attempt by someone who doesn't get it, its up to you to figure it out. Stop leaning so heavily on what you were lead to believe and decide for yourself what is.
Be something undefined. We can be anything we want to be at any point. Make each moment count and be the best YOU in every moment. We are human, we are Yin and Yang... We are something in between. Be what you are, not what you were told you should be.