“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.”—Elizabeth Gilbert (via thechocolatebrigade)
The message that sustained me as a child—that the cruelty we take for granted is not natural—sustains me to this day. For I know that beneath the fear and hatred, beneath the urge to kill and destroy, far beneath the scarred shells that protect and define us, people are good. Deep down our needs are simple: apart from food, shelter and clothing there are the needs to love and be loved, for community, to be open to the world at large and for it to be open with us, to affect and to be affected, to understand and to be understood, to hear and be heard, to accept and to be accepted. It is only when we fear that these needs won’t be met that we grasp at them, and grasping, lose any chance we have of satisfying them.
Love controlled is not love; just as sex demanded is rape and acceptance expected is subservience. But if we fear, then demand we must, for to fear these needs will not be met is to fear for our lives as surely as if our lack of love and acceptance were instead the absence of food and water. With these deep needs unsatisfied, we waste away, shrivel, and die from hunger and thirst. We die, but we go on surviving. the search for that which should have been there all along continues, but we can no longer receive it, or even recognize it.