One of my friends wrote me a really long goodbye text as I was leaving for England. (I know you’re reading this :p) It opened with him asking me to stop carrying the world’s weight on my shoulders which launched me onto a weird thought trajectory and thus this post.
What exactly does it mean to carry the world’s weight? And what is actually weighing on you? These are some questions I seek answers to.
In our life, we face both ups and downs. We are taught to stay strong, on-edge and selfish. Yes, selfish. At my recent internship, my colleague told me, “Sometimes you need to put yourself first.” What most people fail to realise is that putting yourself first sometimes is transitioning into selfishness. Not just my colleague, my own mother said something similar to me. “If you give everyone time and attention, the world will walk all over you”. Such realisations really puzzle me as it leaves me having to choose between my time and someone’s happiness. Is it worth being selfish?
If I was to try and answer this question of the world’s burden, I’d say that listening to, and supporting someone through their struggles doesn’t mean you’re carrying the weight of the world. You form friendships, relationships even on the promise of reliability and if one can’t rely on you to help them overcome their struggles, you’re nothing but a facade of a friend.
Not just relationships, but we’ve also got expectations placed upon us. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this but in the culture I grew up in, a child has expectations set out for him/her from the moment they’re born. These may be behavioural, success-related or familial. They loom over every persona leaving them addicted to climbing this ladder of fulfilment, not for themselves but for others around them. As much as I’d hate to admit, I find myself in a similar chase. A chase to meet deadlines, standards and all expectations anyone/everyone could and would have of me. Sometimes these expectations don’t even exist, they’re just assumptions. Think about that. Doesn’t that make you feel stupid?
One can never tell what might be waiting for him/her just around the corner. Might be something good or something absolutely horrible.
I believe that the expectations or burden that you shoulder is what tells you who ultimately backs and supports you. This so called “weight of the world” is shared between you and those who love you. Not the cheesy sorts of love, but true affection and care. Think of these emotions and expectations as your own for there is someone out there who’s carrying the weight of your world.