My Interpretation of a Few Well Known Quotes

We have these quotes that attempt to shine wisdom on different aspects of our lives, but I’ve found their helpfulness to be varied depending on where and how they’ve been applied. My interpretation of these quotes are based on the ways in which I’ve observed them being used.

‘Life is tough’ and ‘sometimes you have to do things you don’t like.’
It’s easier to endure suffering if we can accept it as an unavoidable part of life that everybody experiences sometimes. Fighting everything that we don’t like will lead to frustration and it can be far better to practice patience and perseverance. I also think of this in terms of working towards long term goals, instead of falling to the temptation of short term rewards. If we focus too much on this statement however, we can feel guilty during the times when life isn’t tough and also resentful towards anybody that appears to be breezing through it. I’ve also found there to be two different approaches to the statement; If something isn’t working out I try to seek solutions to improve my situation, but others have used it for acceptance and a reason not to act. Our feelings are there to inform us when something is wrong and to be assessed to see if we can do something about it. For example, we might be really unhappy in a job that just isn’t going anywhere and this could be an indicator that it’s time to take a new direction in our life. On the other hand exercising patience and going through all of the tasks we don’t like could eventually lead to greater opportunities later on. Only we can know what feels right to us, even if others treat us like we’re shirking our responsibility in taking some of life’s hardships. It’s not worth worrying about the things that we have absolutely no control over, but otherwise why shouldn’t we seek solutions to help us to escape some of life’s hardships?

‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’
This statement has been used to comfort me. I do believe that hardship can make us stronger; It can teach us how to overcome obstacles and to solve problems in our lives. If everything always came easy to us we’d become complacent. I do believe my experiences have shaped my values, built my empathy and taught me what to avoid. If others mistreat us it can motivate us to work harder so as to prove ourselves. However, psychological wounds can be some of the hardest to heal from and I certainty don’t feel strong right now. My experiences have left me with learned helplessness, a difficulty to trust and a lot of self doubt, all of which pose challenges when striving towards my goals. Perhaps I’m strong in the sense that I keep getting up despite having such obstacles in my life, but I’d much rather not have the obstacles there in the first place. There have been times when hearing this has felt more like a justification to those that have treated me unfairly. We can’t change the past however and fighting it will only make us feel worse – blaming others never helps. As such the only thing we can do is to try and find the silver linings. My experiences opened my eyes to other problem areas in my life and I’m learning how to protect myself. It has also led me to seek spirituality to help me to live my life in a more positive way. In that sense I guess my experiences have made me stronger.

‘Time can heal all wounds’
It can be reassuring to us that with time we will be able to experience joy once more. I’ve found this to be true when experiencing loss. In the moment it’s very painful, but after a while it becomes easier to accept. Having been through this process a few times now I know for sure that it can pass and that I’m strong enough to get to the other side. As such I can be kind to myself while going through the process. Some problems are also very small when we put them into perspective. I might feel embarrassed about a social mishap, but will anybody still be thinking about this years from now? However, I do think it depends on the type of wound we are addressing. Some wounds require us to tend to them to allow them to heal. If we don’t they can continue to bubble back up the the surface years later. I made the mistake of trying to move on too quickly, and then because a lot of time had passed I felt ashamed to admit that the same issues were still causing me problems. The cause of the wound might not be directly influencing us anymore, but it might have changed us in some way that continues to impact our lives. For example, the anxiety, confusion, distrust and lack of self-esteem that arose from what happened. These types of wounds need more than just time to recover from. Some issues are also cyclical in nature, so they’ll keep aggravating themselves until addressed. For example, anxiety can affect how we behave in a situation, which in turn increases the anxiety.

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’
I use to hold onto this saying to remind myself to keep an open mind, and also to comfort myself when others were judging me based on factors such as my appearance. I think we’re all guilty of making judgements though. It’s a part of what makes us human. We have to be able to make judgements about things to protect ourselves from harm. If something looks dangerous, then we should avoid it – better to be safe than sorry. Too many of us ignore our gut instincts when they inform us that another doesn’t have our well being in mind. Unfortunately, our judgements can also be off due to our own interpretations of the world around us. For example, I’ve had bad experiences with certain sub-cultures, so when I see people dressed a certain way I feel wary. If I give some of them a chance I might find that I have misinterpreted the sub-culture and that they don’t all intend me harm. I see others judging Goth culture in this same way, as if it’s scary and unapproachable. This seems strange to me because Goth festivals have been some of the friendliest and safest places I’ve ever been to. In fact, the idea of not judging others based on their appearance is often emphasized at these events. It’s better to interpret this statement not as we should feel bad for judging, but that we need to think carefully about how we choose to act based on those judgements. We might be missing out on a chance to widen our minds if we allow our judgements to take full control. On the other hand, if we ignore all of our judgements we could end up getting hurt.


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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

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