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How Finding Miracles in Everyday Life Can Help With Depression

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In the story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, five kids find golden tickets in their candy, which grants them the privilege of visiting Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. While experiencing everything it has to offer, four of these kids are consumed with gluttony, greed, envy and pride, and suffer self-destructive fates because of their vices. The protagonist, Charlie, free from corruption and temptation, is happy just to have been invited. He doesn’t want anything in return and therefore ends up winning the whole thing.

Similarly, when we are born, we are also given a golden ticket, but one that grants access to this beautiful world. Without having done anything to deserve this gift, we are all given the privilege of seeing this great spectacle on earth and marveling at all of its majesty. Then, without being asked for anything in return, we are allowed to indulge in the fruits of the land and enjoy for the sake of enjoying.

But somewhere along the line, the majesty of being alive dulls, and we begin to believe that what we have is not enough. We look at what others have and want more. Then, we believe we have the right to those things just because other people have them. We scream that things aren’t fair. We want the positive things others have without considering the negatives. We fixate on the negatives in our situation and disregard the positives. We complain and disrespect others for being different than we are. We argue and fight over different values and are more concerned with being right than being happy. Finally, once we destroy everything in our own insecurity, we hurt, steal, hate, bully, ridicule, insult, shame and judge people for being guilty of things other than that which we are guilty of ourselves. We even blame people for things that we are guilty of just to distract ourselves from our own shame and embarrassment.

In the chocolate factory, there were miracles everywhere. Some of these miracles included soda that makes you fly, everlasting candies, chocolate bars sent through television and three-course dinner gum. In our world, miracles are also everywhere and include all the marvels of science, all the beauty of art, all the possibilities of life and everyone you know. Unfortunately, these miracles happen so often we call them ordinary things.

We do this because everything that has a beginning, has an end, and that includes our feelings towards those things as well. Nothing has ever started amazing and remained that way. How often have you gotten something you wanted like a gift, an education, a job, a salary, or a place to live, and then, once you had it, you got used to it and wanted something better? How quickly does what we have become normal? How fast are we to want whatever is next? People even become bored with the love of their life, who they call their soul-mate, and wish for another one thinking it will fulfill them.

In the depths of our pain, we turn into the very wickedness that defeated us in the first place. How often do we make up random rules of behavior like it’s rude to tell an overweight person they are fat, but it’s OK to tell a skinny person they should eat a burger? If a poor person struggles, we want to help them, but if a rich person struggles, we make fun of them online. If someone is average-looking, we compliment them, but if a model posts a picture of themselves, we rip their looks apart. If someone rejects us on a dating app we are crushed, but if celebrities get divorced, we humor at their pain. Our double standards are everywhere and because of all this madness, it’s no surprise that so many people struggle with mental health problems and blame the world for all of their misery.

Isn’t this behavior similar to what the kids in the chocolate factory did? Didn’t they all start screaming, “give me more, I need this, I deserve more, you offend me, get out of my way, power, greed, fame, more time, I want it now!” Are we not corrupted with this same madness? In life, as we try to take as much as we can and grasp onto things that cannot be kept, do we not ruin the whole show for ourselves?

It doesn’t have to be like this anymore. Remember what Charlie did? Was he not grateful to simply be invited and be a part of the whole thing? Did he not have the right attitude to avoid indulging in excess, cruelty or vices? Despite battling poverty and the risk of homeless, when he had the opportunity to steal secrets and sell them for fortunes, he chooses honesty and selflessness. In his acceptance of the way things were and his gratitude for life, he ended up winning the whole thing.

You might be battling poverty too, but what do you have? You might be battling sickness, but what do you have? Whatever your battle is, what do you have? Even if you feel like you don’t have anything, you still have yourself. All everyone ever has is themselves. You can’t hold on to people or things forever. How long can you hold onto a cloud? Everything has to leave you one way or another. Be grateful when they come and say thank you when they leave.

This chain of self-destruction inflicting so much suffering in the world ends with you. It’s never too late to undo the damage we’ve done to ourselves. Every moment is an opportunity to practice gratitude, forgiveness, understanding, acceptance and peace. When you have the opportunity to bully someone, such as publicly ridiculing the 1 percent for making a mistake, ask yourself if you’ve ever made a mistake, and what would Charlie do? How would you behave if he was watching and ready to reward you according to your morality?

If you are unhappy, ask yourself, would you rather have more of something, or have a peaceful state of mind? Would you rather receive what others have, or be grateful for what you do have? Would you rather be loved by others, or be loved by yourself? Notice your thoughts that convince you to behave cruelly in this life. Instead of acting on them so quickly, ask yourself if what you are about to do is necessary, kind, true or helpful. If not, let it go. In the beginning, letting go instead of lashing out will make you feel like your blood is boiling. Just watch this sensation come, let it be, and like everything else, watch it go. These thoughts only have power over you if you let them.

If you have $10 and give away $5, you have $5; and if you have a loaf of bread and give away half, you have half a loaf of bread; but if you give away all your love, you still have all your love. No one has become poor by giving, people only become poor when they take.

Getty image by Anchiy

Originally published: December 2, 2021
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