What if we decided we’re strong enough for the pain in our lives so instead of hiding from it we just rush straight toward it and allow our pain to become our power?
Glennon Doyle has recently blown my mind…
Like Aristotle – and this entire generation – I’m always on the pursuit of happiness. I’ve actually made it a full time job: I meditate, I journal, I do yoga, I practice gratitude, and I look for ways to distract myself and numb whatever pain I might have at the moment. What I’ve learned along the journey is that if you want to numb your pain there is a plethora of easy ways to do so. There’s Netflix, youtube, your smartphone, video games, and you don’t even have to leave your house for that. There’s also food and shopping, and you no longer need to leave the house for that either. So it’s become extremely convenient to numb your pain. So easy, it’s dangerous.
The pursue of happiness is a great thing. It’s what keep us alive and connected, it’s full of ups and downs and it’s not a destination, but a lifelong journey. But now there’s a pressure to be happy all the time. Everyone seems to be living their best life on instagram, so we’re all chasing this idea of instantaneous, permanent state of happiness, when that’s just not real. We’re no longer used to boredom and we don’t allow ourselves to sit down with our thoughts and feelings and work through them. We don’t know how to deal with our pain, and when we go through hurting and pain, life has a way of presenting us with easy buttons everywhere. We are so afraid of pain, but we should be afraid of the easy buttons, says Doyle. The easy buttons keeps us from facing the reality, they just numb us down while life goes by and we don’t feel anything. I used to categorise easy buttons as things like heavy drinking and drugs, but it goes beyond that. Technology has found a way to mess with our brain’s weaknesses the same way chemicals do, so being addicted to your phone is just as harming as drugs in many ways. I know I’ve done that many times. When I first moved to Germany and had no friends, I would spend hours watching Netflix and youtube because I convinced myself that would make me feels less lonely. And the truth is it did help for a while but when it’s too much it just becomes harming. Wasting hours of your day in front of a screen is not productive and it keeps you from dealing with your own thoughts. It was just my way of ignoring the reality and get through the day, until I eventually got tired of it.
And actually being happy all the time probably wouldn’t even feel that great. We need the ups and downs of life, that’s what makes life interesting and that’s what makes us strong and resilient. Having everything easy and happy all the time would most likely turn us into selfish, awful human beings. When you go through hardships that makes you more human and more connected to other people. The aftermath of pain makes us kinder, stronger and emphatic. Doyle says we should decide we’re strong enough for the pain in our lives so instead of hiding from it we just rush straight toward it and allow our pain to become our power. When pain comes knocking on our door we should open up and say come in and sit down and don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.
We are afraid of pain but we were made for pain. I think we can get a new perspective on life once we embrace that thought. I really do see pain in a different way now. The hard times have taught me very important lessons that I’ll certainly never forget.
“The journey of the love warrior is to stop hiding from her pain and instead turn directly towards it”.
What about you? What are your easy buttons?