Life

A friend recently told me “I feel like I’m walking a tight rope of razor blades. On one side is a path of righteousness. The other is a path of evil. I feel like I can’t fully commit to the path of goodness because the good man can’t do any good. Good requires the ability to do evil, to harm if necessary.”

This is not an uncommon belief, that life is all shades of gray. This is true to a degree. There will inevitably come times in our lives that any decision will hurt someone. This dilemma has existed for thousands of years. The Hindus say that the solution is to strive for pure, good intention and eventually we will free ourselves from negative karma.

Here’s my take: goodness does not necessitate a gray area. Goodness is merely a commitment to the virtues. We can be good and still eliminate bad by following the virtue of justice. It’s a continual striving, a continual reflection, a continual battle. In times when it is hard to differentiate what is just and what is merciful, it is necessary to surround yourself with a good-natured, trusted counsel who can shed some light. These are your friends and mentors who are walking kindred paths.

It will be hard, but the mere act of striving places you on the good side of the tight rope. Learn and follow the ways of virtue, and don’t fret over the possibility of falling victim to evil. As long as you seek the good and have fellow travelers for accountability, you’re going to be fine.

You may not always get it right. That’s okay. You’re still good. You’re just in the arena.

Take care of yourself. You can’t help the world in the best way until you’ve helped yourself. Some might say it’s selfish, but it’s necessary. Take care of your body through exercise and a proper diet, set aside alone time to play and experience joy, and reflect on what brings you happiness.

No one you meet in your life will be what you expect from them completely.

There will inevitably come a time when you find they come up short.

They might not show enough attention, give us love in a way we feel we need, offer us advice that is helpful or insightful, take care of themselves in a way we respect, or might not always practice what they preach. The list could go on indefinitely.

We’re all just human beings just trying to find happiness. We’re all dealing with things, and we all have our own struggles.

Here’s the thing: is this person giving it their best shot? If yes, then accept them and just let them live. The time will come to help if you love long enough. It’s vital to your overall life’s happiness to understand the dangers of pressing too hard. It’s easy to be too heavy-handed and to cross the line from caring to judgemental.

But what if they don’t seem to care or really be trying? Well, then move on, forget about it.

This quote will serve you well: the greatest thing a person can be is easily forgiving and satisfied.

Yes, it’s important to care and to want to change things. People tend to hate change though. They tend to see themselves in a good light and take criticism poorly.

So, change systems, change institutions, change the freaking world. Just don’t worry about changing people you care for too much. It would really stink to lose them.

 

 

Faith is believing there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. Confidence is knowing that if there’s not, you’ll be okay. Faith is a certainty of outcome. Confidence is a certainty of ability. When combined these two forces give you powers of stabilizing your environment.

There’s a caveat though. Blind confidence is dangerous. This is arrogance. Anyone can go around making decisions. For confidence to be legitimate, it must be earned. You must study. You must know your limitations.

The rise of social media, algorithms, and seemingly limitless options for customizability in our lives have brought with them a unique kind of comfort: the comfort of familiarity.

It’s easier than ever to stay in a worldview and ignore different perspectives. It’s almost effortless to create an echo chamber.

Perspective, in contrast, breeds uncertainty. It challenges not only our existing beliefs but, at its most extreme, our entire self-conception. This certainly is not comfortable. Changing who you are when you find out you’re not living right takes hard work.

But we must accept these challenges. We must shed our pre-conceived notions if we are to grow. If you’re not striving to learn, you’re doing everyone you interact with a disservice – and a massive disservice to your long-term quality of life. There’s genuine satisfaction knowing you fought for a well-lived, upright life that can’t be matched by the simple bliss of ignorance.

How do you get there? One main action you can take is finding those in your life who are willing to tell it like it is. Most people very much dislike conflict, so finding these people can be hard. Once you have them, though, they are priceless.

Real friends tell you when you’re being a jerk. Fake friends are there for a good time.

The question you have to ask yourself is, “Can I handle the real friends?”

 

I strive to achieve this balance in my life, particularly to spend quality time with friends and loved ones, but my life is inundated with responsibility.

With so much time spent driving in addition to an intense school and workload, I barely find time even for self-care, let alone relationships.

I tell myself it’ll be worth it in the end. I don’t know if it will. I don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t get into a good PhD program, besides cry. There’s so much heart being poured into this process. There’s so much hope and sacrifice. There’s so much struggle.

Nothing is being handed to me. I’m proud of that, but the pressure feels extreme. I just pray for a worthy outcome.