All our actions are driven by an underlying goal; to protect and enhance our lives. From household chores to life-altering decisions, whatever we do- we do it to give ourselves a better chance at living. Everyone wants to make our only shot at life count as much as possible. That’s how everything is engineered around us. Yet, some of us decide to end it knowing that it cannot be undone. What is it that makes a person give up on the most wonderful thing there ever was? The answer is both complex and simple. Moreover, do we realize that it might have to do something to do us inadvertently?
Dealing with the complexity of it first, it can be argued that life and its challenges are becoming more and more complex by the day. The contemporary social norms are not the same as they used to be a few years ago. Therefore, in our quest for validation we, at the expense of being ourselves, become someone we are not. Just to get the ‘affirmative nod’, we believe and adopt realities that are not ours at all. We are scared but more scared of admitting it. This takes a toll on the body and soul. Another issue is keeping up with the pace of life itself. There is so much happening around and whether we like it or not, we get to know about it. It is too much to handle and the fear of being left behind makes us jump the bandwagon without a second thought. But the more we try, the more difficult it gets to belong. We begin to compare ourselves with not only those around us, but someone living on another continent with no knowledge of our existence as well. We keep fixating on what’s ‘missing’ rather than cherishing what’s ’present’. Success becomes so important that even the thought of failure gives us nightmares. Money, career, success, being cool etc, become more important than life itself. Slowly and gradually, we bring ourselves to a point of no return where if things do not fall into place, we go into the self-destruct mode.
The simplicity of the matter is that we just forget to live the way it’s meant to be. We stop seeing the larger picture and refuse to realize that none of it matters in the end. We become so indulgent in ‘fitting in’ that we stop talking to ourselves. Somewhere down the road, we stop reminding ourselves that it’s ok to fail and there is nothing wrong with being different. The fear of being judged and looked at in a certain way takes over our contentment, desires, and freedom.
Every now and then, we get to see someone do the unthinkable. Interestingly, it always comes as a shock. We are surprised by how the person looks so normal while alive. The problem is in the perception that a person having suicidal tendencies have to look and behave in a certain way. It is only after the worst happens that we realize that what looked normal wasn’t normal at all. We criticize, judge, and belittle in the veil of friendly banter without realizing the damage it might be causing. What we say and forget might be unforgettable for the other.
On the other hand, this could happen to us. Let’s admit it, even if for a fraction of a second, we have all thought about it whether in anger, despair, or frustration. We need to ask ourselves whether we have someone who is there for us. How functional is our support system if there is one in the first place. Life is too precious to be given up on. Let’s not allow our setbacks but perseverance. If a dream diminishes, dream again and bigger. Let’s learn to be happy, content, and proud of ourselves.
*Muhammad Yasir Ali is an independent researcher and public administration scholar, specializing in social policy studies. He can be reached at [email protected]