"...It is not love that hurts, but those who do not know how to do it.
And I don't know how to do anything, my father used to say.
But how often are we afraid to be happy?
Convinced we don't deserve what's good for us
And I smile and pretend I don't care
I fall so hard that I laugh too
And you laugh, but you'll fall like me
I'm Buster Keaton"(Gio Evan)
Italian version at the link: Sarò felice quando...
How many times have I heard or made speeches like "I will only feel at peace when I finish my exams", "I will only be free and happy when I retire" or "I will have my own life as soon as the children are grown up", "If only I had a partner I would feel fulfilled". It is the eternal illusion of happiness 'on condition that'. In reality, the problem is not the children, the partner, university or work, but ourselves, who for various reasons are unable to adhere to the present life and attribute the cause of our discomfort to external impediments.
We therefore try to convince ourselves, and convince others, that 'everything will be better' when we get a decent job, when we get engaged, when the pandemic passes or when they abolish the green ass. The point is that as long as we believe that our happiness or sense of freedom is dictated by external conditions, we are simply slaves, and what is worse, we are slaves to ourselves.
Awareness, on the other hand, comes when we realise that no matter how much the children grow up, or the exams are over, or the pension arrives, we will always find other 'obstacles' or pressing deadlines in order to postpone the confrontation with our inner selves and with the mechanisms that sabotage authentic happiness. All the rest is a little theatre to distract us from the real problem, which is an obsessive style of thinking, unresolved inner conflicts, sedated or deferred emotional charges. At best, distractions and procrastination serve to avoid the ultimate taking charge of our lives, i.e. avoiding making choices and taking consequent action.
It is not easy to take responsibility for what we feel, think and do, or for the inconsistencies we continually bring into our existence. The truth must be faced with courage and in small doses, preferably through a mirror, as the myth of Perseus and Medusa teaches us. The mirror can be our mentors or, in any case, the people we love and who are following a similar existential path: a path that leads from the unreality of illusions and self-deceptions to the reality of our indomitable and immortal essence.