Do you ever feel like breaking down? Do you ever feel a pain in your stomach? Sometimes, everybody feels down and hurts. No matter how hard you try, sometimes your efforts may not produce results. Disasters may happen to you. There may be pain and distress in your heart for any reason. Although it is not in our hands to avoid such troubles, we may develop decent approaches to overcome these hardships. Of course, we must make every effort to prevent the disasters we can meet. What is meant here is the sadness that is formed within us because of things we cannot change. Darwin’s definition of Natural Selection and the suggestion of prominent poet Rilke to treat sadness as a guest can change the way we look at the troubles in our lives.
To begin with, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has been discussed for centuries. In Struggle For Life, Darwin touches upon Natural Selection. Natural Selection can be explained simply as survival of those who best adapt to conditions in nature. In Darwin’s Natural Selection, the strongest was the winner, but the strongest meant the one who can adapt better. Darwin says: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” In this regard, it can be said that we have two options when terrible things happen to us that we cannot change. We will either complain and upset ourselves, and we will be depressed more, or we will accept all these and try to adapt to this sadness in order to survive. We can experience many events and meet many people that affect our mood adversely. However, instead of complaining about them every single minute, we can be like a stream that can take the form of the bed it flows. Is the real talent to be in tune with all this, is not it? Accepting, adapting and growing from sadness instead of complaining about that pain can relieve our sadness and strenghten us. Darwin also says that “When the tide comes, the feet come out of the shell. Almost like a feather, the feet move in harmony with the tide. Every living nature struggles for life, but those who will win this struggle are those who best adapt.” Thus, instead of rejecting troubles that we cannot change, we can adapt to these troubles and develop our own self.
Secondly, Rainer Maria Rilke also brings a different perspective to sadness. Rilke uses “the guest” metaphor for sadness. We should accept our sadness as a guest and watch the changes they will make on us. Let us welcome the sadness as a guest who only stay with us for a certain period of time and will leave us one day. Like happiness, sadness is not permanent either; nonetheless, it is in our hands to learn and grow from them. Rilke says: “…we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.” This means, sadness can transform us. Sadness can turn us into better people, turn people into more respectful ones, turn into more generous people. We just need to welcome and understand the sadness as a guest. For example, being mistreated by a person you exalt in your eyes will teach you not to idolize anyone in your eyes. When you are broken by this person, sadness will appear in your heart. If you try not to completely reject this sadness, and if you try to understand that; you will learn a lesson, learn not to idolize anyone. Moreover, Rilke also says: If sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? In other words, instead of rejecting our sadness, we must face this sadness, and we must be open to the possibility that this sadness will mature us. We don’t know how this sadness will mature us. Our sadness is one of the pebbles on the way of personal development and transformation. We can spend the whole day complaining and pitying ourselves, and we can make our unhappy moments even more terrible to ourselves. Otherwise, we can choose to learn lessons and gain experience from our sadness. How will we evolve if we refuse the learning process that sadness brings to us? How will we improve ourselves if we do not adapt to the guest? In this case, we will only complain and make no progress.
All in all, in the history of science and literature, it is possible to see many approaches that will contribute to our personal development. None of us always feel great, but we know that pain and struggles in our lives are temporary. It may be good for us to see them as an experience, to grow up and to look at things from different perspectives during the hours of sadness. We don’t know, what will change inside us and what we will earn from all these experiences. Not to be prejudiced against what we face may help us. Because we do not complain about what we cannot change, we may have a more peaceful mind and soul. As Mayakovski says in his poem “Now we’ll have to wrest the joy from coming days!” To wrest the joy from coming days, in my opinion, we need to be courage to face what is happening, not to reject them wholly.