Wherever you look, there is sadness and frustration. Open your news feed, and you read about rape, murder, political tension. Open your social media feed, and you get exposed to hate-mongering and negativity. The world is broken, and the cracks have been showing for a while now. In all the bickering and bitter arguing about things that don't ultimately matter at the end of the day, it becomes ridiculously easy to lose sight of the things that do.
It also becomes easy to lose hope. After all, whichever way you turn, there's anger, hatred, violence. Your friends seem to have abandoned you. No one seems to care about you, only their own crap. None of it matters anyway, right? It's easier - hell, better - to just give up, right? So much easier to become another statistic, because you can't change the world, right?
I used to think that way. In moments of weakness, I still do. But you read and hear about these incidents in people's lives, incidents that changed them completely, and you wonder if those stories are even real, if one day a similar incident will happen to you and open your eyes.
But here's the thing. Change isn't overnight. You've built up your thinking processes over months and years. It's not like you woke up one day and decided - "Hey, I'll be sad and cynical from today onwards!" No, you did not become you in one day. It took time, and effort, for you to be crafted. And it'll take time, and effort, for you to change. I didn't realize that before. Even when my incident happened to me, I gave it a few minutes of conscious thought, and then I put it aside. But it stayed with me, and I still remember it.
I was walking down a road, and it was windy. Soon I became aware of a paper cup rolling along the street by my side. It was being pushed forward by the wind. You've probably guessed already where I'm going with this - the wind stopped blowing, and the paper cup stopped rolling. It was like a little moment of enlightenment for me.
I've struggled with social anxiety for as long as I can remember. Some of my current friends think I'm socially awkward. I have no idea how they'd react if they knew the type of person I was even 2 years ago, which incidentally is roughly how long ago the paper cup incident happened. My point is that everyone I know kept pushing me to get over my fear, to take steps myself to be rid of the demon that I made my friend. I didn't. I never did anything myself. I stayed home, I avoided people, I avoided everything.
And then the paper cup stopped rolling. It stopped dead. And I realized, with stunning clarity, that I was the paper cup. My loved ones had carried me for years and years, and I was afraid to let go. I was afraid to take steps myself because I'd become used to being sheltered. I'd become used to being protected.
Fear is our driving force. The fear of social exclusion, the fear of becoming irrelevant, the fear of not being heard, these are all our driving forces. But the biggest fear, at least for me, turned out to be letting go of the fear. Of taking responsibility for my own actions and not using my mental health as a crutch.
That one incident, over time, changed me completely. I mean, I still hate parties and would never go to one (Jesus Christ the number of people), but I have no trouble talking to people now. I have no trouble doing things I need to do. The demon has been tamed.
So the bottom line is this - the world is brimming with negativity. Wherever you turn, there is sadness. But that doesn't mean that you have to let it consume you. It doesn't mean that you have to use the negativity as a crutch. Countless people die from mental health issues every day. But countless people conquer it too. If it's easy to find negativity, it's easy to find inspiration too. You can find it every time you listen to a Linkin Park song, or watch a Robin Williams movie. You can find it in videos and stories on the very platform that made bitching and whining cool - social media. You can find hope everywhere, if you're willing to see past all the hatred.
Each and every one of us faces problems. Each and every one of us is born with an innate ability to change the world. We just have to stop being carried by the wind, and be willing to stand on our own two feet.