Take a good, hard look at yourself in any or all aspects of your life and ask yourself this:
Am I wholeheartedly fulfilled and satisfied with where I am, or have I given up under the guise of content?
In other words, are you genuinely ok with where you are, or do you just tell yourself that so you can sleep at night?
A Conversation with Contempt
This is actually the title of one of the stories I'm writing about in my book of crazy, yet true stories from my life, but I’m bringing a piece of it into this article to give an example of what I’m talking about.
I have the conversation written down, word for word, so you’ll get to see exactly what this excerpt of our exchange looked like.
During my conversation with a player I met in a video game named “Contempt” (that was the player’s name), he told me:
“I personally do not seek monetary gain, I don’t want it, even though it would make life easier. I have accepted my role as a bottom feeder and I do a DAMN good job at whatever I am doing.”
To which I responded:
“And why have you settled for being a ‘bottom feeder?’ Have you, in a way, given up yourself?”
Then, he said:
“I have learned to be content with less so I’m fine with making less.”
What inspired me to write this article is what I said in return:
“You know yourself better than I do, so I believe what you say. I just hope you are distinguishing ‘contentment’ from ‘giving up,’ or thinking that you are not capable of much.”
And just like I expressed this statement to him, I now express it to you.
Don’t lie to yourself
As I mentioned at the start of this article, answering this question honestly is perhaps one of the most important questions you could ever answer honestly.
Why? Because if you fool yourself into thinking you’re genuinely ok with your circumstances when you’re not, you could spend the next year, two years, five years, 10 years, etc. staying stagnant while not progressing towards where it is you truly want to be.
You’re wasting away the time you could be using to move forward, and that’s time you never get back.
Let’s pull up a relatable example, one that I’ve read quite a bit about in people’s personal lives. Let’s talk about dating life.
What happens when you “give up” and lie to yourself about it?
Hang out on the internet long enough and you’ll come across a story of someone who “gave up on dating.”
Chances are, this person’s had some bad luck and ran into some bad apples, and now they condemn the idea of dating.
They’ve ultimately decided to resign themselves to a life of being single and vow to never pursue another person again.
Now if this person would genuinely be happy being single until they take their last breath, more power to them.
But let’s take a look at what happens if deep down inside, they don’t genuinely feel that way.
If inside their heart they secretly still long for someone but decide to stay firm with their initial promise, for the first little bit of time that passes, this person might be happy with their decision.
I know this is what I want, they tell themselves. I hate dating and I’m done with it, and I’m happy staying single for the rest of my life.
They do whatever it takes to convince themselves that they don’t secretly long for someone so that they can sleep at night. So that the disparity between their convictions and buried longings doesn’t see the light of day.
Years go by and they turn down every opportunity at romance that comes their way, stubbornly resolved to their initial commitment to give up on dating.
And then one day, out of nowhere, something inside them is going to snap and possibly explode.
The aforementioned disparity can only stay buried for so long. It violently erupts and breaks loose from its chains as the person realizes: What have I been doing with my life?
I never truly gave up on dating. I was just tired of meeting the wrong people.
But because I convinced myself to give up, I ended up wasting all this time, turning down opportunities, just to perpetuate the idea that I was fully content with being single for the rest of my life when deep down, I wouldn’t be.
That’s what they’ll say. If they’ve finally decided to be honest with themselves, anyway.
Prevention is better than the cure
It’s one of my favorite mottos, and for extremely good reason.
You don’t get back lost time. There’s no undo button on the human body that you can just press to rewind your mistakes and actions.
My goal with what I’m writing in this article is to wake people up to the reality that if you don’t take your buried longings seriously, you will internally snap one day just like the person in my example did. I promise you this.
And there’s a good chance you’ll want to beat yourself up for neglecting your deep desires and needs after you realize how much time you wasted trying to suppress them. That’s not going to help you in any way.
So naturally, the best thing you can do for yourself is become aware of this issue and catch it before it starts and festers.
The only solution, which is hard to digest
It’s right there in front of you. Perhaps you already know what the solution is, but you don’t want to look at it. You don’t want to acknowledge it.
I’m not saying it’s easy to keep going when you’ve had it rough for so long. I am perfectly aware of what it feels like to want to give up and just throw in the towel.
So take the time you need if you need a break. You don’t have to keep up the pace for your whole life.
If you take the dating example, I’m not saying you have to keep asking people out. You don’t have to go out every weekend. You don’t have to stay on the dating apps.
But if someone who seems like the right person comes along, your mind and your heart need to be open to the possibility of dating them.
If you shut yourself off from this path because you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve “given up” when in reality you haven’t, you’re just denying yourself an opportunity that presented itself right in front of you.
Doing that is like tipping your plate over when food walks right onto it as you sit there, hungry.
Like I said, it may not be easy to swallow, but not giving up is the only solution to your plight. Don’t make the mistake of trying to fool yourself into thinking you want something when you really don’t deep down inside.
The human brain has a terrible way of trying to convince itself of things just to cope. It’s not an ill-intentioned mechanism, but it’s one that will ultimately do you a disservice if you succumb and listen to it.