Once in a while, I sit back and think about human nature. I think about why we do certain things and ignore others. I think about why we say things in given situations and what we feel in others. Sometimes, I believe that we do, say and feel the right things. But sometimes, I think we are completely off the path. We speak with negative intention, and we feel the exact opposite than we ought to. We hurt ourselves and we hurt others. We hide our true feelings to save face, and we hide our flaws yet point out those of others.
Why do we stay quiet when a situation makes us uncomfortable? Why do we shy away from admitting that we are suffering? Why do we stigmatize ourselves and others, when we know that being open and honest can help us heal?
As you can see, I usually end up right back where I started. Confused and full of questions.
This weekend, while chatting with a friend about why we search for the cause of an action after it has occurred (a topic of one of my previous posts), I realized that, as a unit, we might all be pretty fundamentally flawed… and that’s okay. I mean, it has to be, or we’ll just keep walking in circles trying to figure out why we do the things that we do, good or bad.
After chatting with her, I went back to my favourite book: Tuesdays with Morrie (by Mitch Albom, read it!). This story has an amazing message about human nature – one which I had forgotten about for too long (even though part of it is tattooed on my foot… way to go Kath). Anyway, I want to share the part when Morrie, a professor, is having a conversation with his final student, Mitch, about how life is a tension of opposites:
“Have I told you about the tension of opposites?” he says.
The tension of opposites?
“Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.
A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.”
Sounds like a wrestling match, I say.
“A wrestling match.” He laughs. “Yes, you could describe life that way.”
So which side wins, I ask?
“Which side wins?”
He smiles at me, the crinkled eyes, the crooked teeth.
“Love wins. Love always wins.”
For those of you who know me (or those who have seen my right foot), you know that this is the most important paragraph I have ever read in my life. And, true to this lesson, the last few months have pulled me in so many different directions that I have lost my way. I’ve forgotten how I keep myself mentally healthy: Love above all. We have over 70,000 thoughts each day. If we can try to tip the scale so that even some of these thoughts are not about tension, but instead about love and positivity, we might have a better chance of moving forward.
We are all flawed. Human nature sucks sometimes, straight up. We try so hard to silently fight our battles and to hide our scars, but at the end of the day, they are what make us “us”. We spend all day battling the tensions and opposing the forces that we forget where we want to be. Living well is not easy, it truly is a tension of opposites. Within this chaos, I believe the one light that can keep us moving in the right, healthier direction is love.
Love yourself and those around you, above all. Some days are easier than others, but I am confident that it can be a constant beacon, however faint, guiding you in the right direction.
About Kathryn Christie
As an HR Consultant with a deep passion for Mental Health, Kathryn spends her days pushing paper and her nights volunteering with the Canadian Mental Health Association as a co-facilitator of the Family and Caregiver Education program. Her passion extends beyond the realm of her volunteer work which has brought her to Healthy Minds Canada to share stories, support and inspiration with her community.