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January 5, 2021

Deglorifying Pain & Trauma—10 Ways to Heal & Welcome Change.


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Today is 5th January.

The past four days of the new year 2021 have been full of greetings and messages and new year resolutions. One of the most common themes that I came across in all of these was to remove negativity and toxicity and narcissism in every form and kind from our lives.

It’s like the world is shouting from the rooftop this exact same message, only invariably, it ends up attracting more and more of it.

Go through your feed on any social media platform, website, publication—you will notice that words like toxic relationships, narcissist ex-partners, abusive work, and home environment, or anything on similar lines are most frequently used. Even if someone is saying something positive or sending a happy message, it is covered in the veil of negativity.

Irrespective of our experiences of life, especially of those in the past year, the question that has been haunting me is: are we actually ready to leave negativity behind and move toward a simple, happy life?

Before I address this issue, there is an underlying factor to be considered here—why does negativity sell so easily?

In essence, the life force bursting inside of us is joyful and bright. Nature has blessed us with such intelligence that we have conquered mountains, soared into space, and dived deep into oceans to unravel the mysteries of nature. Why is it then we could not handle our own mind and its nonstop underlying current of thoughts?

I am no expert in psychology but I have generally seen our first thought toward any situation is negative. From video games to movies to the written word, why does destruction bring such satisfaction? Why is chaos so normal for us?

In Freudian psychoanalysis, there is a concept called Death Drive. Like everything else, there are two opposing poles in the human psyche—Life instinct (Eros) and Death instinct (Thanatos). Freud referred to these instincts as Greek gods Eros and Thanatos. In this, he says, people with past traumatic experiences are more likely to repeat the same pattern in the future. A common example is: young family members of war veterans joining the armed forces. It is highly debatable how much of this is related to patriotism and how much is controlled by the death instinct.

Living in the moral fabric of society, the death instinct finds its expression in the thrill of adventure and amoral behaviour which is glorified in these video games and media all around. The reward in the end which could be material or metaphysical negates all the questions of right and wrong in the moral sense.

Probably, this is also the reason that terms like anxiety and depression have been trivialised so much. Although a healthy discussion about mental health is required more than ever, the disturbing trend is the use of these terms causally by youngsters so much in their routine conversation. I have never understood how can we feel so depressed just because a single day in our life didn’t go as you planned? Isn’t actually insulting to people who are in reality facing real mental health issues?

We can go on blaming media, our past experiences, toxic people in our life, the Freudian death instinct, and find excuses everywhere, but it is our responsibility to move past our experiences and make a better life for ourselves.

There are broken homes, toxic relationships, family members who have troubled us, politics of the workplace, but how did we actually miss the fact that nature has blessed us with an abundance of many other things?

So, if we are actually serious about healing and moving on, there will eventually come a time in our life when our present and future will be more important than our past traumas and we will be willing to let go of them. We all need time to heal, to visit our griefs time and again to understand ourselves better, but if we are sincere even for a moment, there will come a time when we are ready to move on. When the life instinct will take over that death instinct.

This brings me back to my initial question—are we ready for a simple, happy life?

Just because a date changed in the calendar, did we change? Did anything around us change? Do we want to change in this new year? I can only speak for myself—I am ready for change.

Here are my new year resolutions:

1. I am done with all the negative words—toxic, narcissism, stress.

2. I will learn to differentiate between having a bad day and actually suffering from anxiety and depression.

3. I will learn to deal with the uncertainties of life in a positive way. The daily chores of life will not be a burden, rather things to look forward to.

4. I will be more mindful of my thoughts. In order to do that, I will be more mindful of the content that I consume on social media, in movies, on TV.

5. I will try my best not to ponder over past experiences. Even though my mind still might travel to that forbidden territory, I will gently steer it back.

6. I believe that I have the power to choose—so I will choose life instinct in spite of, and despite everything.

7. I will recognize my own behaviour patterns that are detrimental to my physical and mental health, and I will use my intelligence to break those patterns.

8. I accept that I can’t control everything, but still, I will take responsibility for my actions and responses.

9. I will not visit my old wounds time and again and rub them in the guise of healing.

10. I respect my hurt and regrets, but they will not overpower my present and future.

Let’s try not to glorify trauma and pain so much.

Whatever happened is not our fault, but moving on is our responsibility. Give yourself a time frame to grieve. Shout, cry, yell, break things, but when you get up don’t look back. Even if the thoughts travel back, to act on them or not is your choice. Exercise that choice. Don’t twist the narrative every single time to find new meaning in them. Nothing new will come out of it.

Be courageous. Embrace your new happy self. Believe that you deserve to be happy and joyful.


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