Barinov Design | Visual Identity Design for Forward-Thinking Brands
Visual Identity Design // Paris, France



The following is a guest post by Maya Benten

The whole thing started when I was around 5 years old. I couldn’t stop thinking about what happens after people die, but more importantly, why we are here in the first place. What is the meaning of life? I remember the moment when I realized that the Gods (a.k.a. my parents) did not know the answers to those questions either. They even told me that actually nobody knows for sure. It was the first time I experienced the pain of not knowing. I could not handle it. My little brain was exploding. I was finally able to calm down after that strange voice inside of me appeared whispering that everything is alright and that I shouldn’t think about it too much. I believed the voice for some reason and followed its advice. Of course the big question kept popping up here and there like a software update on my computer, but I kept clicking the “later” button for years. 

Then I turned 13 years old and, I guess due to hormones, just couldn’t ignore it anymore. By that age I was already well aware of the fact that people were selfish. I despised everything and everyone. School was my everyday purgatory. However, strangely enough, I got my first satisfying answer from a school teacher (the only real education I got from that place where I served my sentence for 10 years). It was a literature class and we were supposed to write an essay about the struggles of the main character of some story we had read but instead I produced a short essay about how all people are jerks and I don’t see any reason to continue participating in this bullshit thing called life. My main point was that if there was at least one person on this planet who was truly good then everything would make sense and the world would be worth living in, but it seemed like there wasn’t such a person, and so I felt hopeless. When I got the essay back there was a note from my teacher saying: “And what about you?” This note changed my life because I had never thought about it like this before. Wow, what a revelation! I needed one truly good person to make life worth it and it turns out I could actually be that person to myself! I just needed to meet my own standards of being a decent human being (although believe me, that was quite a challenge). Anyway, that’s how my credo was born: “Be whatever you want your world to be”. So simple and powerful. It gave me a deep sense of peace.

The result of creating your own rules and following them meticulously is that you get true confidence and self respect. And when you have self respect, others have no choice but to follow you because another’s attitude toward you is just a reflection of your attitude toward yourself. You might pretend to be something other than what you actually are, and others might pretend that they believe you because it works well with the lies they are telling themselves but, in reality, it’s not possible to fool anyone. People see through each other really well. Who you are is written on your forehead. Your vibrational frequency says it all. 

So when you stay grounded in your own truth, no one, no matter how powerful or influential they are, has the capacity to overthrow you. Your own integrity shields you from any adversaries, it lifts you up to cloud 7 followed by cloud 9, the forces of nature support you... You get the point.

Having a credo does not mean that you will never do anything that goes against your integrity. Oh, you will do plenty. But it will make you even stronger and wiser because you will know that sometimes you just cannot help it but be hideous. You’ll know it because if you could do better, you would have done it. But you couldn’t and you didn’t and that’s ok. That’s why you become more tolerant of others’ faults, you understand them now. As my favorite meme says: “Though shalt not judge because thou hast fucked up in the past also.”

The meaning of life is different for every single person because that’s the beauty of life. The only thing that matters is that you’re in alignment with your own truth. Don’t let anyone trick you into feeling guilty just because you follow your true desires. At the end of the day, you don’t owe anything to anyone.