Importance of Unnecessary Things: the Slow Process of Personal Growth

Op-ed

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

— Abraham Maslow

I was in the car on my way to the hills when one particular song started playing. Whenever I hear that song, I think of my uncle who died almost two years ago. Usually, I start crying, but this time I didn’t cry. I started wondering how different I felt at that moment; I felt more mature and grown-up.

Let’s ask ourselves a question. What is the most hurtful thing in the world? While you’re busy searching the depths of your mind, digging through your past, I want you to stop. The question isn’t directed at you, it’s a general question. You don’t know what might hurt the person sitting next to you. Hell, you probably don’t know what might hurt you the most. Everyone has a different notion of the most hurtful thing in the world. I mean, why not? Aren’t we all designed differently?

Things change with time. A particular event, thing, or person that we really like currently, or liked in the past, we might not be fond of or appreciate in the future. At this moment, I’m unable to recall that one thing that might hurt me the most.

Sometimes, at night, I forget to shut my blinds before going to sleep. The next morning, the sun doesn't fail to awaken me with its beauty as it falls on the whitewashed teak wood door. It’s unbelievable how alluring the yellow-orange light compliments the teak.

As I open my eyes, the sunlight manages to capture my attention and as I stare at the door, my mind starts to wander. Inside my head, I’m visiting a hundred places, imagining a hundred different scenarios and meeting a hundred different people, but physically, I’m still in my bed tucked in my blanket.

But there is always one thing that bothers me every day, one scenario that is the hardest to forget. Every day, I imagine myself waiting for someone. Now, that imagination is interfering with reality and "FOMO" (fear of missing out) is playing its role. But I’m unaware of what I’m missing out on. It’s as if I’m waiting for that one phone call that I never receive or a run-in with that right person that hasn’t happened. I don’t even know who it is that I am waiting for. Maybe it’s just my fear of missing out, but I just wish I knew.

Something that I find terrifying these days is my inability to feel, the emotional unavailability that my brain has decided to hold onto. Because in the past few years, I have realized that we care more to be loved, and we miss the idea of that someone than that person.

Even if we end up falling in love, we fall in love with different versions of people, the versions that they chose to show us, and the version that we chose. Sometimes we end up falling in love with the wrong version. When we realize that, there is always a mess that we have to clean up.

When we are done cleaning up, we still have to carry our emotional baggage, because that isn’t something you can’t get rid of easily, we choose to shut ourselves down. It’s not that I don’t want to feel; I’m trying, but the idea that some people can scar you for life scares me.

No one likes to talk about their insecurities or things that make them vulnerable. And why would anyone? No one wants to come across as a weak and fragile person. Everyone likes to put on their strong faces, and it is very hard to open up. Sometimes when you try, it might be to a wrong or indifferent person, and it might feel like a setback, but it’s really not because you tried to face the facts and succeeded.

Trying is a very hard thing to do, and it is important that we try. Once you are open with others, you have nothing to lose except the fake people who you thought cared about you. You have everything to gain because now all your weaknesses have become your strengths.

Personal growth seems like a very important concept, but it’s not easy. You are going to cry and get hurt even by the people you love and care about. It’s not something you’ll feel while it’s happening. For example, you don’t realize that you are getting taller until you measure yourself and realize how much you've grown. Similarly, when you’re going to turn around after a few years or so, you’ll see how far you have come in life and how much you have grown as a person.

It's funny how we give so much attention to unnecessary things and when we realize that we have spent so much time on stupid things, we blame and curse ourselves. What we forget is that growth is a slow process and these tiny unnecessary things that we invest our time in shape us.

The aim is to not dwell on the regret but think about these experiences from time to time to remember the mistakes you made and how you dealt with problems that at one point consumed your mind. This way, you recall the process of growth, and you come out a stronger and wiser person.

So, whenever you feel like you wasted a lot of time and resources on a person, or a job, or anything that felt very important at one point, just think about how much you have gained from that experience. If it wasn’t for that one particular thing, you wouldn’t be who you are right now. God only knows what different things you would have been doing otherwise.


Image Source:

1. Photograph clicked by the author

2. Photograph clicked by the author 3. https://images.app.goo.gl/yVJzagPxSrAouvfT8

Simran Tuteja
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Simran Tuteja is 20 year old undergraduate student majoring in Mathematics from the University of Delhi. She started writing when she was clinically depressed and dealing with anxiety and she wants to become a successful writer. Simran enjoys writing short stories, poems and articles. Her poem ‘Little do they know’ got published in ‘In Real Life’, an anthology by Himanshu Goel. She is the Editor-in-Chief at Ananta, the Science Society of Indraprastha College for Women.