Time doesn’t heal anything but it teaches us how to live with pain and recognize the pain in others.
These days it seems anything that isn’t overly positive, fun or inspirational is considered a four letter word and simply unacceptable. People have come to rely on regular fixes of optimism, validation, and excitement like an addict needs heroine…
Why is accepting that life can be repetitive, painful, losses, unpredictability, responsibility, anguish and struggle so unacceptable?
Before illness I lived life like most people who are fixated on cliches, memes and absorbing every trite little platitude, believing that doing so would somehow make me happier, better and more successful. I saw people struggle around me and thought it must be caused by something inherently wrong with them… But life kept doing what it will always do until I found myself in a position where I had to finally face some hardships for myself. It helped open my eyes to the true realities of this life!
It was my denial of life that was causing me such torment and constant confusion.
I believe that a great deal of the hardships I have encountered in life were made worse by my constant need to always cling to happiness and never allow myself to face things like pain and grief face to face. I tried to avoid a painful or difficult time by constantly going around it or avoiding it altogether.
Becoming ill allowed my eyes to finally open.
The truth is life is not meant to be all rainbows, sparkles and bliss. Sometimes it can be full of very hard challenges.
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.
Adam Lindsay Gordon
While we are so obsessed with constantly chasing the next pleasurable moment, the next victory and inspirational high we are forgetting that some of life’s truest and greatest messages and lessons are hidden amongst the troubles and challenges of life and some of the most wisest and most balanced souls are those that live in the hardest of circumstances and yet allow themselves to grow within it.
It is so true that we can not understand what light is without the darkness? Nor happiness without grief and sadness? What companionship is without experiencing isolation and lonlieness? They are meaningless concepts that can never be truly appreciated unless we go through it and let ourselves be vulnerable and learn. They are normal life experiences and not a sign of a worthless person or a meaningless life.
It is our obsession with not wanting to face reality or feel and experience the painful, awful, grueling and horror of what can happen in this world which has caused many of our addictions, suffering, isolation, greed and inability to empathize with others.
Distraction, instant gratification and self indulgence are the byproducts of refusing to accept some of the harsher and darker aspects of living and our human natures, and this can also rob us of our abilities to learn, cope and grow.
More importantly, it prevents us from seeing and discovering the world around us and form any possible solutions, understanding or answers.
Years ago I couldn’t really understand notions like pain, loss, grief, humanity, fragility and suffering because I was taught to believe they were signs of a weak spirit and untrained mind. A mind not always reaching for the stars or success. I see those same ideals everywhere around me now and I truly believe that it has diminished us a species rather than made us stronger.
We refuse to see the pollution, the cruelty, the violence, the inequalities, the discrimination and the devastation around us, believing these things to be negative, unnecessary or annoying, however if we only opened our eyes and minds it might enable us to try to do something about these realities.
I believe that remaining distracted, numb and ignorant or by relying so heavily on the media, entertainment industry and politicians to distract us while we continue to pursue only the pleasures, comforts and materialistic objects in life we can not evolve and move forward as a species.
A balanced mind and heart requires both imagination and reality. Empathy and knowledge through experience and understanding.
Living a valuable life does not mean always having the best of everything and only seeing the best in life. Being able to accept, adapt, change and absorb what life is truly showing us then maybe we can see the full picture and the lessons around us.
knowing some of these harsher realities of life and the human experience could help us appreciate and respect each other better.
Although I hate the endless pain of chronic illness and I hate the challenges and hardships that I am forced to endure day after day, I have also come to accept that this is not a reflection of my weakness or my failure in life but it is merely a reality of life and living. A reality I share with other sufferers all over the world. Grief, loss and struggle are all aspects of the randomness and chaos that underlines our lives and existence.
Realities like illness, disease, poverty, abuse, violence and addictions are realities of this world that we have created and endure. Perhaps as we experience we may also learn to empathize with each other, rather than ignore and devalue each other. Maybe we could form better relationships with each other and with the natural world around us.
As I have experienced more of the hardships of this life I believe I have learned to value things more and set more realistic expectations of myself and those around me. This has far more meaning to me than life did when I was constantly struggling to always be happy, successful and positive every moment of my life.
Perhaps others may agree too.