for quite some time, years even, i largely remained a cynic towards social interactions mainly because it takes a lot of energy to actively engage and pretend to care about the issues at hand.
this is probably because of my underlying fear of being judged (i.e. accidentally being politically incorrect, etc) and the amount of brain juice needed to think on what to say next. this to me is very tiring.
earlier this week, the trajectory of the view changed.
i realised that, while i often avoid social gatherings, i actually enjoy the synergy between myself and the people i actually care about.
this came to me when i had a coffee chat with a friend and left the social interaction feeling pretty trivialised and generally happy.
people are innately in pursuit of meaning and fulfilment. no one is after living a dissatisfied life (i think). while many try to find what fulfilment means to them, it is often the idea that achieving a certain amount of money, purchasing the nicest house or reaching a novel status in the workplace makes life worth living. but like life, these moments, too, are fleeting.
even when once attained, it is only then one will be in a constant never-ending run along the phenomenal thread of a hedonistic treadmill.
we only chase after arbitrary life goals like getting a pretty house or having a position higher in the rat race because we innately fear what others will think of us if we don’t achieve these things.
but if you were the only being living in the world, would you still care about these things?
i have a brutal desire for recognition. in previous social interactions, i am hyperactively conscious on what i say and how i act in these occasions because of my fear on how people will perceive me but i realised that when i found my people, i did not try so hard to be mindful of others and no longer felt to adjust myself to them.
when you have gained courage to be disliked, your relationships with others will become more enjoyable.
for most of my life, i have not realised this because i actually chose the wrong people for the wrong reasons (i.e. i only wanted this set of friends because they made me look cool, etc).
it is actually when you’re naturally comfortable with yourself and find pleasure in sharing a laugh with a couple of lads who you vibe with— that is happiness.
when you contribute to their lives in meaningful ways — that is fulfilment.
why? it’s simple.
it’s through being recognised by others that each of us can truly feel we have value. it is through recognition from others that one becomes able to wipe away one’s feelings of inferiority. one learns to have confidence in one self.
it also occurred to me that while we are living in the present, in hindsight, our inter relationships with others are just temporary.
in the future, when we look back at this we would all just be insignificant, unimportant and disregarded.
despite this, it is equally important to acknowledge that these relationships define us right now, mould our present and future selves.
while they may be a drop in time years later but it is a mundane yet potent part of our identity.
ultimately: i find meaning when i add value into someone’s life by helping them out and everything in between. this makes me happy because i feel i am a part of a community with people i genuinely care about and am intrinsically motivated to be a part of. social interactions can only work if it is outside a zero sum game.
when in pursuit of happiness, be in the constant of enjoyment. worrying how others will perceive you and achieving arbitrary life goals is close to zero when you imagine if you were the only being living on earth.
if you liked this piece, consider reading ‘The Courage To Be Disliked’ by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
The title sounds like another clickbaity item but it’s actually pretty solid.