Sometimes, it can be hard to sit down and decompress for even a couple of minutes. We become so entangled with, not only our own problems but also other’s problems, we forget to pause and enjoy life. At other times, we become so consumed with our own happiness and search for joy that we forgo responsibilities and even others. But how do we reach and find the balance between these two states? I have been on both ends of this spectrum and am still struggling to find the balance on this fulcrum.

I have noticed that pausing for a moment at any given time in the day, and listing things I am grateful for quickly lifts my mood and clears my negative thoughts. Although I display a positive front, that’s all it is sometimes, a front. It can be hard to be thought of as the “happy” one. Everyone assumes you are always happy and okay. Sometimes people will ask how you are, and your okay doesn’t hold the same weight as someone else’s okay.

Having people depend on you is hard but also very rewarding. It feels good to know that people trust you enough to gift you with a piece of their life. For me, I find it easier to be dependable than to depend. In other words, although it can be a bit much, helping others comes more naturally to me than allowing others to help me.

For me, a simple smile from a stranger can light up my day. If someone waits just a couple extra seconds to hold the door open, I will feel happy and thankful. The fact that someone tells me about my open bookbag(which happens a lot since I am quite clumsy) brightens my mood. There are so many small things that people do, that just make me grateful to be alive and in the place I am.

On the other hand, I can also be easily hurt. It is the price you must pay when you become an open book. The fact that I am so vulnerable in person scares me but not so much as to stop me from being a bit vulnerable. I think, that is what draws people to open up to me. I know that for myself, when I meet people who are truly vulnerable and honest, I reciprocate. Writing this now frightens me. My thoughts, online, for anyone who cares to look to see. Now there are many ways to define vulnerable and many associate the word with a negative connotation. Up until recently, I associated the word vulnerable with weak, defenseless, powerless, impotent. And the truth is, yes. These all embody what the word itself means. And yet, becoming vulnerable is the only way to truly connect with others. Why must we always have a guard up? Who are we protecting ourselves from? If we live our lives with a fortress around ourselves, we will never make real connections and never allow ourselves to empathize. We will never be able to be free. Lowering your guard is a risky thing to do, as it exposes you to attacks but it also exposes you to all the good feelings in life. The risk of not encountering THAT is one I am not willing to take.

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