Food for Thought

My Life is Insignificant

Here I am, in my entirety.

65 inches and 120 pounds of stardust taking the form of a fragile package made up of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus. I occupy a tiny space, on a tiny blue rock, in an enormously wide and vast universe. A couple of hundred years from now, everyone I have ever known will be gone, and with them, the knowledge of me ever existing.

I am simply a drop of water in the cosmos. The universe blinks and my entire life will have been lived. All of my memories. My thoughts. My worries. My fears. My jokes. My adventures. My relationships. My children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Poof.

I am no more significant than a cow or a leaf or a pebble skipping across the surface of a lake. Like my buddy Eckhardt Tolle once said, I am just the Universe expressing itself as a human for a little while. And that is just fine with me.

Here is a little secret of mine:

I used to be depressed.

I know I am not the only one who has this as a secret. Statistically, 1 in 4 people reading this have or will experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime. Shame on us, for not normalizing what so many of us experience on a regular basis. Imagine the progress we could make as a human race if we acknowledged what it actually means to be human. Being ridiculously happy all the time is not human. Neither is always being positive. Or selfless. Or confident. Our egos have tricked us into playing into a facade of perfection for both ourselves and others. We think we are significant in the greater scheme of things and therefore our lives should appear significant. We define significance by accomplishments. Pieces of paper with fancy credentials from fancy schools. How many friends or followers we have. The cars we drive. The houses we own. The vacations we take. The trophies on our wall.

But we do know that we all end up the same — don’t we? That none of that stuff actually matters?

I was depressed because I never felt like I was doing enough. I didn’t accomplish this. I didn’t go there. I didn’t do that. I didn’t acquire this. I felt like I was not earning my keep on this Earth. That I was just taking up space. I was deeply focused on whether I was doing enough instead of *being* enough. My depression ended almost abruptly with the birth of the greatest epiphany of my life — I am insignificant. Now before you jump to conclusions…please understand that being insignificant does not mean that I am not loved. That I am not unique. That I am not cherished. My insignificance does not equate my being without value. My life is precious to me and the wonderful people that surround me. Recognizing my insignificance simply means that I can let go of the idea that in order to be loved and valuable I need to somehow transcend my singular human experience. That I need to pretend that I am more than just a blip in the cosmos. That I need to do something extraordinary in order for my life to be worthwhile. Because let us be completely honest — whatever I do or don’t do barely scratches the surface. It does not matter. And not mattering is absolutely the key to bliss.

Please think about this with me:

What makes you unhappy?

What are you scared of?

What hurts you?

I guarantee that your answer to these questions all stem from your fear of not being significant. Significant to the world or your partner or your work or your community or your parent. The list goes on and on. The fear of not mattering is the root of all of our pain. But what if we tried something new? What if we just accepted that whatever we do or don’t do with our lives — it does not matter — because being alive in itself is enough? That our children don’t have to “live up to their potential” to be worthy? That we don’t have to earn our space on this rock by finding the cure to cancer or being one of Forbe’s 30 under 30? Just imagine that being kind and happy was enough. Mister Rogers famously said that we do not have to do anything sensational for people to love us. Whoever tells you differently, is lying.

The moment during which I realized I was as insignificant as a grain of sand, I experienced true peace and joy. It was as though my entire human body became illuminated from head to toe. Instantly, I became aware of the oxygen in my lungs, the blood flowing through my veins, and the beat of my own heart. Everything became a gift. My sight, my hearing, Dan Kim’s smile. The sound of music made me cry like a child. The taste of a strawberry brought me to my knees. My true purpose became crystal clear to me — to become a mother and to serve others — my own personal definition of being happy and kind. Everything else became white noise. I was overwhelmed with humility and the gratitude for even just experiencing what it is to be alive. To be human. To experience.

Now do not get me wrong. I am not a modern day buddha. I do not always live in this mindset. Sometimes I get distracted by societal expectations and the absolute bullsh*t we try to define our lives by. I feel sadness. Envy. Anger. I can be ungrateful and every blue moon — unkind. All of which stem from the fear of not being significant. But whenever I catch myself going down the rabbit hole of valuing what truly has no value — money, things, fame, superficiality — I come back to this truth:

I am insignificant. But I am loved. I am worthy. I am cherished. And by simply existing, I am already enough. As are you. And we always will be. ♥️

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