We are our own worst enemies and it is often ourselves that hold us back. You are the best you can be even at the lowest point of your life. It is important you remember this otherwise you will remain content and never be satisfied. Contentment is numb and below any living being on this planet. One needs to be satisfied within in order to radiate the beauty their soul owns, and only then can passion be lived in and love be felt. Only then can you say, “I am living.”

I struggled through years of depression because I believed that nobody loved me outside of the perimeter of my family, and even some of my family could love me a little better than what they do. I labelled myself unsuitable because each attempt at love was met with rejection, tears, pain and suicidal thoughts; even an attempt on my life one time two years back. It was this suicide attempt that turned my life around, but this only became known to me some months later and even then it wasn’t a steadfast rule. I wasn’t writing poetry, I wasn’t communicating and my emotional outbursts were plentiful. I was falling apart and no one could put me back together again. My life was whirl-pooling into nothingness and what potential I had was fading. My academic results dropped, my motivation dropped and dare I share the events of those endless nights of thinking and crying.

Last year, things drastically changed. A previous love interest had moved on from school and I was free, to the extent of a subsequent love interest (that turned foul anyway). I had discovered poetry again and in my darkest times, I sought refuge wherever I could find it. Writing became the crutch I learnt on and the responses I received gave me more confidence. Slowly but surely, I was changing inside and found myself smiling for no apparent reason, laughing louder than anyone and wanting to help those in need, regarded they sought help themselves. And here we are now, after many adversities since, and I can finally use my struggles to my advantage.

I came to realization that I was competing with the people around me. Academically, it wasn’t me coming first, but the fact that I was beating everyone that counted. In my friendships, it was that I was more loyal than she is, so I am definitely a better friend, choose me. I had to be the best in everything just so nobody else could be the best. This included my concurrent failures in love because friends of mine were in what appeared to be flourishing relationships. It was devastating when I was not rewarded as I “demanded” to be rewarded which only added to the depression I felt because no one would love me. Sad story short, I was in a pickle and had only one way to change: I had to start comparing myself to the one person who was always bringing me down – me. Where in the past, I got a better A than she did, I was fantastic. Now if I get the best A I can get, I am fantastic. My best effort towards anything has become the only effort that is important. People tell me often how they would have done something differently in a given situation. I tell them that they are them and I am me; this is how I do it. Being able to accept that you made a mistake and that it was your fault is something people struggle with all their lives and it is sad to be surrounded by a blame shifter or an unenlightened person. Know yourself before blaming someone else.

Humans are beings of progress and improvement; intelligent beings capable of learning from mistakes etc. Realizing my worth and falling in love with myself was what paved the way to my happier life. Although it sounds egotistical, it is important that you tell yourself how great you are each morning and highlight your strengths. I am surrounded by people, teenage, middle-age, old-age, that chase perfection to the ends of this very earth. Instead of focusing on what they are good at and accepting what they are bad at, they wish to be good at everything. I’ll tell you now that I cannot catch a ball, and provided you can, you will laugh. But there are things that I can do that you cannot, and so the differences in humans are underlined. Instead of keeping up with the Joneses, perhaps we should redefine what it means to be a Jones.

Take it for what it’s worth; we are living in a world that is filled to the brim with self-esteem issues and personality disorders. If we weren’t competing to be the top worker, the top student, the best runner or swimmer, maybe we would be able to formulate real relationships. The type that we read about in books and see in movies; the type your grandparents have, where they can be married for fifty years and still love each other as much, if not more, as they did fifty years ago. This world of simplicity is gone, indeed, but we have lost the motivation to build with another. Independence is definitely not a bad thing, but it is possible to give it up sometimes and realise that you cannot do everything for yourself. Only when we realize that we aren’t the be all and end all of everyone’s lives and that different people are good people, will we able to unite and live in a harmonious environment. Until then, I’m afraid it is people like me that need to tell the world to pull up its socks!

By Nicholas Thompson