I have a few friends at school and on FurAffinity. They like me and I like them. School is mildly hard, but my parents help me through it and push. My parents are getting a divorce, but for some reason I have not been affected by this very much. I love them both and they each help me in their own ways.
But there is one other thing that I struggle with. I always feel as if I have to keep pushing myself, always, and I have to let go of some things that I value such as kindness in order to "man up" for the real world, and if I don't do it right now I will never be completely successful. But if I do keep pushing myself and going through life that is always moderately challenging, I will lose some kindness. Is this normal? And what should I do? Thank you, "high paws."
NickHusky (age 19)
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You speak in generalities, so I will as well. You are at a critical time in your life that will, indeed, do a lot for molding who you will become as an adult. And you are undergoing the kind of family and social pressures that our society deems fit for a male; that is, you should be “tough,” “man up,” hide your emotions, be strong, etc. etc. In other words, as with almost everyone else in the mundane world, you are being asked to put that mask on and hide who you really are inside. The threat here is that if you don’t do this you will be, as you say, unsuccessful, which means things like have a high-paying job, acquire lots of material possessions, breed, pay taxes, and die quietly without troubling society or rocking the boat.
Papabear says, “Poppycock.” The brave man (or woman) isn’t the one who hides emotions but the one who is emotionally honest, who cares about the world and feels compassion for others. Success--real success—in life is not about wealth, fame, or power. These are the things that give mundanes (pardon me for saying this) boners because the majority of people are shallow, self-centered, and materialistic.
And you know what else they are? Unhappy!
This skewed viewpoint causes people (and you are in danger of this right now) to do things for the wrong reasons. They get college degrees because they want a high-paying job. They select a career because they want to make a lot of money doing it. They even choose a spouse because they are “the right people.”
Here’s my challenge to you: go to school because you love learning; get a job because it is something you love to do (if you have a job you love, you will never work a day in your life, as they say, because your job will be fun and fulfilling); choose a mate—whether it is someone similar to you or not—because you see into their heart and fall in love.
You love your parents and they are trying to help you. That’s a wonderful thing. Although I don’t know your parents, I suspect they are like most parents: they are scared for you, they don’t want you to be poor, and they want you to be accepted by society. But Papabear can tell you something here: he gets more letters from unhappy people because they are too busy trying to please their parents or someone else instead of themselves. Consequently, they don’t learn who they really are, and so they go through the motions of life without really living.
Let you in on a very secret secret, Nick: the truly happy person doesn’t define success by money and material things but, rather, by his or her ability to discover who they truly are as a person and to search for, and even discover, what life is really about for them. Each person must find his or her own path. While I can’t define that path for you because it is a personal journey, I can tell you that if you seek a pot of gold at the end of the journey you will have wasted your life.
Your job, Nick, is not to “grow up,” or “man up,” but to discover who you are. I have high hopes for you because I can see you value kindness. Please, I beg you, don’t sacrifice your heart just to be part of the swarms of mundane society. Be a kind person and you will find more happiness than you ever imagined.
Thank you for your letter.
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