On most of the medical television shows, the most suspenseful moment is when the character flat lines. The black screen monitoring his heart rate has a white line running across it. No matter how many electric shocks Doctor Meredith Grey applies, he stays still. He is lifeless.

At some point in all our lives, we are, in fact, lifeless. The electric shocks of life, including heartbreak, fear, loss, triumph, beauty, and passion, refuse to bring you back to life. These events no longer happen to you, but around you. You merely watch them occur around you, unphased and unemotional. You ache to feel your blood pumping, tears streaming, heart breaking, fear rising, and happiness budding just so you are reminded that you are actually alive.

There arises the question, are you living, or are you existing?

In high school, I found myself asking this question frequently. I was aimlessly traveling a paved path with SAT exams and college applications so that I could attend an elite university and become someone important. I was numb to everything around me and I was following a trail that was mundane and underwhelming. Was this what I had in store for the next several years and beyond? When will I actually start living my life rather than exist through it?

After attending a small high school, I was convinced that I was unequipped to attend a large, out-of-state university. However, I remember putting my sheets on my rock-solid mattress as I moved in. I thought to myself, “I am so glad I am afraid;” this fear meant that I was about to undergo an adventure. This fear meant that I was actually feeling something. It meant that I was alive.

This is when I realized the beauty of emotion. From pain to passion, emotion is a reminder that your heart is beating, your blood is pumping, and your soul is thriving. Heartbreak, love, loneliness, companionship, loss, and belonging are all signs that we are completely and utterly human. These emotions show that the only way human beings are fulfilled is to expose our vulnerabilities and build emotional connections with our surroundings. Emotions remind us that life is a balance between loss and love, and that’s why it is worth living.

My advice to you is to see the beauty of emotion in everything you do, because developing deep connections to your surroundings is what makes us human. This is a reminder to take a step back and realize that both pain and bliss intermingle throughout our lives to create the human experience. When heartbreak strikes, when loss consumes, when darkness overwhelms, remember that this pain is what makes the triumphs and the loves worth it. The true tragedy is when you are numb, emotionless to the losses and the beauties around you. It is an injustice when you merely exist in a world that is meant to be lived. So take advantage of all these emotions. Relish in them because one day, you may wake up and not feel them at all.