Are you living or existing?- the essence of life
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and have it make some difference that you have lived and lived-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Growing up, I was a bit of an introvert (because of my poor perception of myself); I had this bad habit of bottling up my emotions, which my family and friends found totally frustrating. I felt nobody could answer the million questions in my head and nobody would understand how I feel. So instead of talking about my feelings, I penned them down. Some days ago, I was going through some of my old stuffs and I saw this particular journal of mine where I had wrote down these words boldly in capital letter…
‘WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF LIFE?’
You can imagine the wave of emotions I felt on reading that. I had this urge to write to a letter to my 10 years younger self and say ‘I have gotten the answer to that question you once asked…’ I felt happy and relieved; and just then it dawn on me that most people ask this same question praying for some answers….I don’t claim to have all the answers, but just maybe you may find that answer you’ve been searching for in what I’m about to share with you.
As a child, I had a fear. Yes, I was suicidal as a teenager; but the strange part about it was the urgency with which I wanted to end my life. I can remember setting deadlines for myself. One time, I told myself I would kill myself before my 18th birthday, and the other time was before my 20th birthday… I’m still here though.
I never understood the fear that was fuelling that insane urgency to die at the time. But years later, I came to realize that the fear I had as a child was real, and many people also have the same fear….it is called the fear of existing…
There is an essence to our existence. There is a reason why we are here in this world….that reason is called purpose, and the moment we separate purpose from life, we simply start existing. I have come to realize that the lives we live on daily basis can be separated into 3 categories. And for us to better answer the question ‘what is the essence of life?’ I think it would be best to dwell a little on them
1) The wasted life– this category consist of people who live life without vision, purpose, and direction. They are people who live with the ‘whatever tomorrow brings’ Ideology. All they care very little about vision or achievement. They are comfortable being where they are and with what they have. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against being contented with what you have, at every stage in life, we must learn to be contented and grateful while we keep moving forward, but when you use it as an excuse for your lack of purpose, then it becomes a problem.
2) The spent life.-the people in this category are the people one would expect to be the happiest and most contented. Why? Because the practically live only for themselves. They live for what they want for themselves, and what they can get for themselves. Their whole existence practically revolves around them…but can I shock you? 45% of suicides committed yearly is by people in this category. You hear stories of celebrities, politicians, wealthy people, models who committed suicide and you can’t help but ask;’why, they had everything they can ask for, why take their life?
I read an article of a young doctor who committed suicide in Nigeria; and I was not particularly surprise when I read the comments. 75% of the people that commented where at lost as to why a young man, with a great career, beautiful home and beautiful life would commit suicide. I don’t know why he did that, but I can tell you that a lot of ‘perfect’ people still get depressed even with their ‘perfect’ life.
The reason is simple- in the world of SELF, everything is never enough! There would always be something you don’t have, or don’t know. Yes, you can have everything you ever dreamed off- materially; but if it is rooted in self, then you still exist.
I love the story behind the ‘pretty hurt’ video. I was totally intrigued by the message beyonce was trying to send across (if you have not seen the video, I encourage you to please do!). When we make life totally about ourselves, we will never be truly happy, because we will keep seeing reasons to make us believe we are not good enough. There is more to life; beyond the flashy cars, amazing jobs, and beautiful relationship- there is more to life. This brings me to the last and most important kind of life- the kind we have all being called to live…
3) The invested life-this is the kind of life that is founded on purpose… like Ralph Waldo rightly stated ‘our purpose in life is to make a difference, and what other best way is there to make a difference if not in man…purpose is service, and service is never about you. We start living the day we stop asking ‘what can I get for myself today?’ and start asking ‘how can I affect life by what I’m doing?’
We don’t start living until we start serving. The success stories we celebrate today are of men who served.
The Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther king, Bill Gate, to mention a few; these are men whose success story is celebrated today because of the effect their dreams had on human lives. A wise man rightly said that the best investment you can make is in the human life….wealth, cars, and fame comes and go; but legacy can only be passed on my men…so make the decision today to serve; connect your dreams, goals and plans to your purpose and start changing lives by what you do.
Today’s article calls us to self examination. We have seen the different kind of life people live on daily basis. It’s time to make the decision to start living. It’s time to find and live out the very essence of our existence.
Have a blissful day!