Finding a purpose for being alive is a difficult thing. Very few are told from birth what they are meant to be, most others have to hunt for it themselves. And in the absence of a definitive purpose, we keep roaming around meaninglessly collecting experience after experience until we die one day and it matters to nobody that we once lived. My attempts to find my purpose for being have been futile so far and so it adds to the feeling of inadequacy that’s already been implanted there from childhood. So I figured, constantly trying to better oneself could suffice for a default purpose for life until a better one is discovered. For if success is indeed a combination of preparation and chance, one better be preparing whilst waiting for the chance.
Honesty, in this journey, has become more and more important by the day for me. Honesty among all people but in particular, among people that stand to affect you in some way is a very important but underrated quality. People at work, neighbours, friends and/or relatives that observe you and critique you, let’s call these people ‘friends’ regardless of what they really are, for friendship is the best of all relations one makes. It turns out, and many people seem to know this but I’ve only recently discovered it, that people love living in groups of people that are almost of equal stature. And if one particular person tries to better oneself much more than the rest of the group, one faces nothing but discouragement from the rest because most people would rather bring one to their level than rise up to theirs. And in a group like anywhere else, if it is one against many, the one either succumbs to peer pressure compromising ones personal growth or dares to move on from the group and continue bettering oneself. It is easy to see why most cases eventually have the former ending. Our need to be with people that like us are far greater than our need to better ourself. So it requires a great deal of courage to leave the familiar faces and onto your own journey. Perhaps, on the way, one finds another group much more equal now to ones grown abilities but one can never be sure that it would last either.
It works the other way round too. Because the group would rather have everyone on almost the same level, one is also forgiven a lot of mistakes. Group members try not to be too critical of their own kin and they exaggerate the mistakes of someone from another group if one member of their group was in conflict with them. This makes the group feel like a secure and protected place to be in, of course, but growth happens outside not inside of ones “comfort zone”. If group members always try to ignore each other’s mistakes because in turn, it guarantees that their own mistakes would not be punished either, it is far too comfortable a place to grow. And it’s not honest.
What’s one to do? I cannot possibly presume to know the answer mostly because it can depend on context a lot of times what’s the right thing to do and even then one can never be sure. But I think, as a good default, the truth can lower the burden by a lot. I’ve come to appreciate, and not by experiencing it frequently but more by the lack of it really, when friends tell each other how bad they suck. It’s unfortunate that I don’t have friends like that and more unfortunate even when I look around and I see not a lot of people have friends like that. We are a society based on comfort and convenience. And while there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it does not get preferred over what’s right and necessary, we should all be alright I guess. As far as the unfortunate reality goes for most of us, I think I’d try to be that friend first for people that matter and hope that I’d be told the bitter hard truths too along the way myself that save me years and years of failure to otherwise learn from on my own. And if I don’t find enough people like that, it wouldn’t be too bad to get rid of the existing ones that won’t change. Over time, a circle will emerge with carefully selected friends that most of all do each other a favour by speaking nothing less than the cold hard truth.
Life’s tough. That’s why it’s important that we are tougher.