As children we enjoyed life immensely. Almost everything was a party, an opportunity to discover, grow, have fun… But over the years we sacrificed our happiness on the altar of duty. We were taught that we should apply ourselves more, do more, always go beyond… We were told that if we believed to be satisfied with what we had we were conformists…
We have been inculcated the idea that our value does not depend on what we are, but on what we get. In this way we have learned to set goals, and to focus on them, not to give up until we have made them. And so life, without realizing it, has become a kind of salon in which to hang our trophies. We converted in the perfect victims of the virus that infests our society: the conclusionism.
There is a very simple test to determine if you have fallen into this trap: Imagine having to explain who you are to someone you’ve just met on the street. That person has only 30 seconds, so you have to carefully choose the words to form an image as accurate as possible about you. What would you say? Think about it.
If you mention your profession and the things you’ve got in life, chances are that you are a victim of the conclusionism. Surely the things you achieved are part of you, but belong to your past, these are not your present and, above all, are not you.
You are so much more, you’re your passions, your dreams, your hopes, your plans for the future, the things you like and do not like, what you think, what you love, what excites you and you despise, what you reject.
Why the conclusionism is so dangerous?
Living a life for the conclusionism means limiting our life and happiness to the achievement of certain objectives. It is the tendency to think that we will be better and we will be happier when we get something, that it is always in the future.
Obviously, the conclusionism contains a death trap, since it is impossible to put our lives in standby, time continues to pass inexorably, even if we don’t take advantage of it and we don’t enjoy life, even if we keep lying to us repeating ourselves that tomorrow will be better, that when we achieve what we wanted we will be happier, more relaxed and we can afford some “luxuries”.
But the truth is that is not necessary to have everything to enjoy life, because we already have life that allows us enjoy it all. There is no reason to postpone happiness, joy, pleasure or the inner peace more than the belief, or rather the urgency, we feel to finish something that we started.
This belief is based in considering life as a stair of which each step is an accomplished mission. Obviously, the society is structured in order to confirm this, just think of the different degrees we get as we advance at school. However, what we usually remember of those years is that brilliant professor, friends or that we had fun. It is understandable then to ask ourselves if we are truly living our lives.
Life is what passes while we are busy doing something else
The concept that you have of life will determine how you live and, above all, the spirit with which you will face the different situations you will encounter on the way. This is not simple philosophy, this concept has some very practical implications in daily life.
I like to think of life as a river that runs continuously and in which many projects, objectives and goals are overlapping, but everything ends up being dragged by the current, going to form our past. That means that life is not a race whose goal is the finishing line, is not a competition to determine who is the best, but a stream of experiences, sometimes pleasant, sometimes not, but always valuable.
Who does not understand the difference is likely to live constantly on the run, always waiting for “better times,” that probably will never arrive, because they’re going on right now. The good news is that you decide how to address them: in a harrowing race to a non-existent goal or in a gentle flow in which every experience counts.
A thought of Charles Chaplin is particularly illuminating in this regard:
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment, so I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE!”