“Resolution and Independence” is Wordsworth’s poem on how his depression lifted after seeing the “Resolution and Independence” of the leech gatherer.
Do you have a memory of a moment in your life where your mood changed suddenly for the worst but how something else came and brought a smile back to your face?
I want to start answering this question by mentioning the painting of one of my favorite Painters Vincent Van Gogh, who according to my opinion, demonstrates an incredible ability to express feelings through his paintings; this probably due to his inner. As soon as I read the question I immediately visualized in my mind the image of this painting, which represents an old man with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands as a physical expression of mental despair. I would describe this work as a self-portrait or an attempt to portray himself when he was unable to do anything but feel despair, completely subdued by his own mood, just two months before his suicide.
For some reason, I associated this figure to Wordsworth’s poem “Resolution and Independence”, which at the heart poses the question of whether the poet, and more in general a person, can become a responsible human being, independent of others for his own happiness.
During the reading of it, I realized that his essential and main issue for which the mental or spiritual identity cannot rely upon an external environment for its continuing strength, was exactly the question I was asking myself for a long time just before leaving Italy to come here in Australia for my Exchange. And maybe this is the reason why I came and decided to risk and throw myself in this challenging experience: I had the feeling I was falling into the belief that my own happiness depended exclusively upon my partner.
As Wordsworth I was living my days motionless, stuck in a negative mood and I was never feeling satisfied, always hoping for something positive to happen that never did. I was losing my time, I was feeling wasted to stand next to a person who didn’t have the courage to live through his emotions. As Wordsworth, when he was feeling happy just at spring time at the sight of the rabbits jumping in the grass under the sunshine, I felt myself happy just when I felt my boyfriend’s small steps forward towards me. But then again this sense of helpless despair when things didn’t go as I wanted, as I wished. And it was then when I realized how much the power of mind, usurps the consciousness of everything that surrounds us. I couldn’t get out of the situation, because I was completely absorbed and subdued by my love for him. And Wordsworth is so true when he says that this mental form of depression blinds us to the external and surrounding reality. I experienced, even if in another way and probably in a more superficial way, how hard it is to keep our emotions under control and how the human soul is unstable and vulnerable to deep sadness. We were both “emotional victims”.
None of us like to think of ourselves as victims, but I think it is the perfect term that describes our way of being so fragile. The term “victim” brings to mind a pathetic image of a person who is completely powerless. And this is exactly how I felt, unable to do or to stop something that was pulling me down. Therefore, it comes as a shock to most of us to realize how often we allow ourselves to be emotional victims.
I think that we always have two choices in the way we can behave:
- We can try to find our happiness, peace, safety, security, lovability and worth through people (and this is what I have been doing in all my life!)
- Or we can feel joyful, peaceful, safe, secure, lovable and worthy through taking care of ourselves, and then, and only then, sharing our love with others.
Whenever we choose to find our happiness and safety through others, then we have to try to control them into giving us what we want. And this has been impossible for me, because when they don’t come through for us in the way we hoped they would, we feel victimized by their choices. We need to stop sacrificing our happiness for someone else’s, that’s all.
It was at that point, when I came to realize I was living a life which didn’t represent me at all, that I woke up and started to wander with my imagination. Imagination has been such a powerful tool, that gave me a sense of positivity, of hope that things could still change and I tried my best to make this happen.
So I decided to concentrate just on myself and to understand what really makes me feel happy ! If I have to think of a memory or a moment in my life where my mood changed suddenly, I will say it was the day I got the news that I won the scholarship to come to Australia.
This was exactly the news I needed in that moment, that was slowly bringing a smile back to my face.
Australia and the possibility of this exchange experience meant to me a way to change my life, alone, far away from everything. I was and I am still in search for a meditative approach to life in order to reflect, to go deeper into my experiences and my dreams. I don’t want to settle in life, just for the fear of not reaching my goals or because someone prevents me to reach the top.
So that awaited day finally arrived. I packed my suitcase, throwing random things in it with all of my enthusiasm. I said goodbye to all of my friends, relatives, doubts and certainties and got on a plane, finding myself staring at a beautiful sunrise somewhere, in between. I will always remember that picture in my head: it meant to me hope!
Confidence, independence, resolution and becoming who I really am, are the aspects I wanted to look for and that I am noticing myself already really grow into!
And now I am living and exploring a beautiful world, completely
outside of my comfort zone. This is revealing to me a life-changing experience that is making me realise I can do so much more than I ever thought was possible. That my own happiness can depend just upon me and my choices.
More fun filled times, more excitement and more challenges to come, and I will be grateful for this for the rest of my life! I am not kidding when I say I cannot wipe the smile off my face every single day now !
I really identified myself in the view of happiness of Wordsworth, that is no more than an helpless dependence upon others. But now, being so inspired by all this, I believe in change and I’m trying my best to make things I want happen.