Things I Want to Think About Before Saying "I Have to Be This Way" and "I Have to Be That Way"
I wrote my favorite words, actions, colors, and things down on paper.
Although they’re just text, it felt good to look through them.
Contrastly, I also wrote down the words, actions, and things I disliked.
Somehow, the more I read through them, the worse my mood became. As I continued to read through them, my mood worsened.
This is exactly how I feel.
As someone who thinks deeply about things, sometimes it is hard for me to distinguish between things I want to do versus things I have to do.
However, when I visualize it in this way, I come to understand my feelings that I surprisingly didn't notice before.
This is what I noticed when I started writing more.
One psychologist said that as he continued to learn about peace of mind, he became more and more aware of what made him feel secure, which ultimately made his life easier.
I like psychology and read a lot of such books.
Certainly, the values that make people feel secure and happy are different.
However, we live in an era where we can live vicariously through other people on social media.
As it is said "birds of a feather flock together," we tend to share our tastes in clothing, food preferences, ways of thinking, values, etc. with those who we interact closely with every day.
If you subconsciously look at the lives of various people on social media every day, you can see several good things. Everyone seems to be sparkling, beautiful, and fashionable. If you look at social media like this, you will come to see everything in a better light than it really is and lose sight of the real nature of things.
Sometimes when I'm feeling down, I feel extremely envious of them. I feel kind of heavy and inferior.
In a world where we coexist with social media, if you focus too much on the waves around you rather than on yourself, that feeling will continue to build.
Some people develop an inferiority complex if they are overwhelmed by the glittering, superficial images and positive words on social media that may not actually be true.
People who develop this then post their own shimmering highlights or feelings that are not genuine, in a charming way.
Then someone else seeing this, yet again, develops an inferiority complex.
I feel like I have been seeing a lot of this kind of thing lately.
The concept that positive and sparkling = right/correct is too prevalent, and it's a bit of a suffocating movement. Rather, I often feel that it's not essential.
I wish I could be adaptable, but it's hard to find the right balance.
Sometimes we want something because everyone else has it, but oftentimes it's not something we truly want.
A recent memo that made me happy:
Zoning out and making breakfast early in the morning when I could not sleep.
Going for a walk while listening to my favorite music after work
Going to the public bath on the same day during that walk
Leisurely talking with strangers.
Taking that first sip of beer with snacks 🍺
Dyeing my hair or changing my makeup
Being sore the day after pilates
Sleeping with my cat
Being praised for a piece of writing I wrote about my genuine feelings
Being featured in a major digital media outlet
Being able to work at this place that I had always longed to work in
Starting my own work from scratch and producing some tangible results
Being able to now trust my own senses and feelings a little bit more
This happy memo is neither good nor bad.
I just felt happy. Everyone has different standards of happiness.
However, partaking in actions that I knew would bring me happiness, rather than those from the perspective of a large number of others, undoubtedly created a chain of happy events for me.
If the content of the "happiness" you are trying to grasp is not your honest happiness when you are tired, hurt, not feeling well, or in a hurry, but happiness from the perspective of others, I feel that no matter how many things you are able to obtain it, it will only be momentary happiness that doesn't last long.
Yet our country has been educated, politically and culturally, that the life of the majority is the correct way to live your life.
For example, going to college, working for a good company, getting married, and having children. If you feel that the way of thinking that has been considered good in Japan until now is your own true happiness, then that is fine.
However, even though it was not what I truly wanted, pushed by the criticisms and pressure from others, there was a time when I conformed to the majority. Later, it turned out to be short-lived happiness after all, and I came to realize it was not what I wanted.
I have quite a few friends who laugh and say that if they do not get married soon, they will become old ladies and get left behind. I wonder what kind of mindset they have to have to be able to say that so naturally. How and why did society become like that? It is honestly sickening to me that this atmosphere somehow continues even in today's generation.
I do not want people who have had a lot of experiences in life to call themselves “uncles” and “aunts” (“being middle-aged” or "not young anymore" in Japanese societal terms, sometimes used in a self-deprecating or derogatory manner) already or to say they are still single. You are fine as you are. A society where you can decide your own value is ideal.
However, we grew up in a country where everyone is "cooperative." We are built to "be patient" and "persevere."
But lately, or rather for a long time, I think we are trying too hard to fit into a mold. The concept "patience is a virtue" is overly emphasized, despite the fact that we are all different in gender, age, sexuality, appearance, work history, nationality, and so on, and all have different ways of thinking and different roots.
Rather than a society that is made up of only a set definition of "normal people," I prefer a society that accepts different definitions of "normal."
A society with an atmosphere that protects the soft and vulnerable parts of everyone is better.
When I began to lose sight of my true nature, I wrote down words, things, actions, colors…everything and anything.
Write it down and try to visualize it.
Is it natural or not? Is there a lie there?
Is it pure? Accept it and be as you are.
I know I like this.
This feels right.
What I want to cherish will surely remain this way now and in the future.
When you know yourself properly, what you choose and how you live your life will change.
You will not want to be like anyone else. You will be good just the way you are.
What I want to say is, everyone is fine as they are.
If it is to the point of forcing yourself to be positive and faking it when you are really feeling down, it is more important to be true to how you really feel than to try to be positive.
When you do not know what you like or what you value, try to write your favorite words, colors, and things down. As you return to yourself, you may be surprised at how many things you can find yourself coming to realize.
If there were no restrictions before you said I have to be this way or that way, what would you want to be?
Written by Himawari Murano
Translated by Savannah Sutton
Edited by Emiru Okada
Graphics by Momoka Ando