When You’re Done Surviving, Remember to Live a Little.
I know you’ve been through some hardships, some that no one should ever have to go through.
As a result, you’ve found yourself surviving more than you’ve actually had a chance to live. It’s normal, don’t worry. However, there comes a point in time during the survival phase when you realize you’re surviving out of habit — being ready for battle at any given time. It comes so naturally to you that anyone or anything that tries to come close is seen as the enemy, often feeling the full extent of what you’ve had to overcome.
Truth be told, it’s not fair to them, but mostly, you deserve better.
As you’re sitting there, you may think back on all the tears you’ve had to cry to prevent yourself from becoming a cold-hearted product of your struggles, all the battles you’ve had to fight in your head trying to convince yourself that you’re not who you felt like during those moments, and most importantly, that tomorrow will be better. You’ve told yourself many times that This too shall pass.
You may not have known when, or even how, but you were clever enough to know that all things — both good and bad — do come to an end. So you pulled together all the courage you had, you put on your shiniest armor, and you bravely fought every battle… maybe even won the war. You may be sitting there at the end of the day feeling completely exhausted, a little bit bruised, and you have a few scars to show for it, but you’ve made it.
So now it’s time to start living again. It’s time to put down your weapon and allow happiness to enter, because if you’re brutally honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you’re more afraid to be happy than to fight another battle. You’ve become so good at surviving that anything else feels uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel right to be happy, or even to feel love.
You’re so used to doing everything yourself, and expecting nothing from anyone else, that you feel uncomfortable when someone offers a simple, nice gesture. You’re not sure if you have anything to use as payment, so you’d rather not accept anything from anyone, without realizing that sometimes, a kind gesture is just that, something someone gives out of kindness.
Living in a world with just you is safe and predictable, because you’re not sure, after everything you’ve had to endure, how you’d react towards that one person who just wants to love you. If you don’t allow happiness to enter, you’ll never have to feel disappointed if it leaves, right?
So instead, you choose to stay in survival mode where no one and nothing can touch you, where you’ve become such an expert at it that you don’t feel vulnerable anymore, ever so often peeking out from your hole to find out what happiness looks like. The truth is, all you need is 20 seconds of courage at a time to experience happiness. To experience what it’s like to be vulnerable.
It may be terrifying at first. There may be plenty of times when you decide to retreat back to your hole, but you deserve those 20 seconds.
There’s so much you can teach the world about pain and the need to cry, about hardships, and even how to really love. With everything you’ve had to overcome, you’ve transformed into someone who understands life more than life itself. You’ve seen the raw beauty of pain, and how, through hard work and perseverance, you’ve managed to become more of the person you were always meant to be.
If you look hard enough, I can guarantee that you have more love and patience to give than you know what to do with. So face it, we both know it’s time to start living, even if it’s only 20 seconds at a time.
Zenka Hattingh originated from a classic romance novel, grew up in a small coastal town, and decided to venture out into the world, which led her to discover a passion for putting words together in a way that offers a little inspiration, an equal amount of laughter, and a whole lot of gumption.