Stings? It’s a Good Sign

“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final..”

Rainer Maria Rilke

I don’t recall where I stumbled upon this quote, but I discovered it in my digital notes as a potential topic for another blog. I fell in love with this passage from the very first reading. It touches on so many aspects of life and wisdom that I’ve only truly grasped after more than 30 years of living. What’s even more remarkable is that the author encapsulated it in just three sentences. What could be more relevant in our fast-paced world than 15 seconds of poetry that can change your perspective on life? Many of us claim we don’t have time to read books, but anyone can spare 15 seconds to read these lines. If one takes a moment to reflect, they won’t regret it.

Every day, I observe people chasing pleasures and avoiding discomfort and unpleasant situations. While this may seem like a logical approach, it’s a flawed utopian dream. If we never experience sadness, we’ll struggle to appreciate happiness. Without knowing loss, we can’t truly understand gain. It’s a bit like someone describing a delicious dish in vivid detail, but we can’t fully comprehend it until we taste it ourselves. It might turn out to be different from our expectations, leading to disappointment or even surprise at how much better it tastes. We won’t know until we try.

There’s a theory that “bad and unpleasant” experiences are crucial for shaping our character, and it’s hard to disagree. The phrase “get out of your comfort zone” has become so overused that it often elicits eye-rolls. Yet, when we think about what lies beyond our comfort zone, we often confront emotions like fear, rejection, failure, defeat, sadness, and disappointment. However, it’s through these challenges that our character toughens and we grow and develop as individuals. In situations where we feel “uncomfortable,” we seek better solutions and change because complacency leaves us with no motivation to act. The children of the very rich and famous, who seemingly have everything, can often experience depression because they struggle to find meaning in their existence and lack a compelling reason to get out of bed. After observing both myself and others, I’ve noticed that it’s not the achievement of a goal that brings us fulfillment and joy, but the journey towards it. When we reach our goal, the triumph is fleeting, and we’re left searching for the next objective that gives our daily life purpose and meaning. So, let’s embrace both the good and the bad times, for it’s through these experiences that we learn valuable lessons, grow as individuals, and lead fulfilling lives.
When I began writing this post a few hours later, I received news that my friend’s wife had passed away. I even felt a sense of guilt about writing this in order to process my emotions, recognizing that every feeling is transitory. While the situation doesn’t directly involve me, it’s easy for me to say that the sadness and grief will eventually fade in this case as well. However, at this moment, my friend’s despair is profound, and I empathize as much as I can without having personally faced such a tragedy. It’s crucial to permit ourselves to experience and express emotions, even if it seems like the end, and we believe that nothing will change how we feel at that moment. Fortunately for some and unfortunately for others, this isn’t always the case.

My mother comes from a very small village called Mosty in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. Most of my childhood and teenage years were spent there during school breaks. The village was home to around 30 inhabitants, nestled in a valley, surrounded by forests on both sides. A bus carrying essential supplies would arrive once a day, and sometimes, once every two days. The nearest shop was a 5-kilometer trek on foot. Only one village resident owned a car, the village administrator had horses, and the rest had one bicycle per farm, reserved for urgent trips. We were completely cut off from the outside world.

Due to my parents’ habit of taking me to my grandparents whenever possible and leaving me there until it was time to return to school, I spent many isolated moments in Mosty. In the initial week of my stay, I often found myself missing my parents, television (a rare luxury, since hardly anyone had a TV, and electricity was intermittent), my friends and colleagues from the neighborhood, and even something as simple as drinking a Coca Cola. As the weeks progressed, my longing transformed into curiosity about new experiences, the joy of caring for animals, and helping my grandfather work in the fields. I discovered that I was having genuinely happy moments there.

After several weeks, everything started to look the same, and boredom set in. Frustration took hold as I grew impatient, resenting the fact that my mother hadn’t come to pick me up yet, and I felt trapped with no way of returning. However, when my parents eventually did come to get me, I didn’t want to leave. I had grown deeply attached to the place and the way of life.

Upon returning to our house in Lodz, everything felt foreign. I missed Mosty, my grandfather, the animals, the silence, and the freedom to do as I pleased, something the countryside allowed. As you can see, each of these feelings was intense and transient. When I reflect on that period of my life, I wish I had cherished it more and paid greater attention to every detail with mindfulness. I recognize this now, as my grandfather has passed away, my grandmother resides with my uncle in another village, and the farm where I grew up belongs to someone else, having undergone changes and partial demolition.

Last year, I found myself near Kielce and decided to make a detour to at least cross the village of my childhood. The sight was heart-wrenching. I hardly recognized the place. I drove along an asphalt road flanked by new houses and new residents, with a massive white sand mine in place. My heart ached, and I felt a profound sense of loss, regret, and the realization that I had underestimated those moments, assuming they would last forever. How wrong I was.

When I met my husband many years ago, we were deeply in love with each other. We loved passionately and argued as if the world was on the brink of destruction. During that time, everything felt absolute and so intense that we couldn’t fathom anything different, or think rationally. Now, that feeling is nowhere to be found. It’s been replaced by a more mature, steady, and enduring love. Back then, it seemed almost impossible to imagine ever not feeling what I was feeling. Looking back, my certainty appears rather absurd.

As you can discern from my two life examples, nothing lasts indefinitely, even when it seems like it will. Life continues to progress, regardless of our preferences. When we grasp the concept that ‘everything flows,’ we can take charge of our own lives. Even if we do nothing, change will persist. People will depart, governments will change, workplaces will cease to function, and new opportunities will arise. Families will diminish as members pass away, but new additions will also be born. If we don’t hinder it, perhaps it’s worth charting the path we desire for our lives rather than merely existing and allowing everything to happen.

If you’re currently feeling down, anxious, and uncertain because the future remains unclear, try looking at it from a different perspective. The notion that everything is transient and no feeling is permanent carries with it hope and the promise of an intriguing journey throughout our time on Earth. Put simply, if you’re in a challenging situation right now, life isn’t unfolding as you wish, you’re experiencing sadness, or facing financial struggles, remember that it will pass. Someday, the sorrow and distress will subside, and you’ll have a more comfortable life, surrounded by family and friends. The essential element here is the magical word ‘someday,’ a timeframe that depends solely on you.

What do you do with "now" to find your "someday"?

Just as the author of this text encourages, take deliberate steps forward, free from fear, filled with hope and faith. Embrace the present to the fullest. Set goals, dream big, and work toward achieving them, all while recognizing that life is full of surprises and writes its own stories. Destiny can be unpredictable, and fortune, capricious, so seek your confidence from within, rather than relying on external sources. True self-confidence is knowing that you have the resilience to handle whatever comes your way, regardless of how the world changes, as change is constant and nothing is set in stone. Allow yourself to feel and experience, for it’s through these experiences that personal growth and development occur.

Organize your life.

The first publication in the Untold product series, created to share methodology for organizing everyday life, cultivating systematic discipline, and developing proper habits. Drawing from the author's experience, knowledge, beliefs, and commonly available coaching tools, she aims to inspire you to take action and present you with a straightforward approach to achieving fulfillment and building self-esteem. Written in a simple way, it contains examples from everyday life, practical tips, exercises, and beautiful graphics. Available in e-book and audiobook.

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