The Joy is in the Climb!
"The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience." - Mark Manson
We no longer have to personally wake up at 5am to feed the chickens and tend to the garden. We can now sit on our couches and order almost anything we can imagine to our front doors.
We never need to be bored.
We never need to be hungry.
We never need to watch reruns.
We never need to wait for water to flow from our taps.
We have so much, and yet, we desire MORE.
More handbags, more travel, more pets, more cupcakes, more likes on social media.
We live in a time where we have quick access to pleasure. But, pleasure is short-lived.
Pleasure is an emotion that acts like a drug. It fills the feeling of emptiness or loneliness or heartbreak or failure or whatever other emotional pain someone might be experiencing for only a brief moment. And then, they are after the next pleasure fix.
Eating one cupcake is satisfying – several is painful.
Buying one handbag that was hard earned gives us pride – buying several in a blind shopping spree leads to feelings of shame.
What you really WANT is to go from feeling sad to happy, bored to entertained, lonely to connected.
What you’re really GETTING by pursing only pleasure is to go from feeling sad to depressed, bored to dissatisfied, lonely to isolated.
How then should you handle pain if not with pleasure?
Embrace it! And, I don’t mean hurt yourself.
If you feel the desire to hurt yourself that is not the type of pain you embrace and follow through with. Instead if you feel the desire to hurt yourself (through over eating, over drinking, replaying painful experiences in your head over and over, letting your inner-critic win and calling yourself a failure and so on) embrace the pain that will be involved in granting forgiveness, observing your desires non-judgmentally, and putting in the honest work to overcome your challenges.
Embrace the pain of problem solving and solution building.
Embrace – rather than resist - the difficulty in going from point A to point B.
A bodybuilder doesn't get chiseled abs without hard work in the gym, painstakingly planning and cooking healthy meals, getting enough water for an elephant, getting the necessary 8 hours of shut-eye a night and ignoring the haters.
A Michelin star chef didn't rise to fame without first cleaning thousands of dishes, peeling tons of carrots, and painstakingly honing their craft while ignoring their inner critic in order to put art onto a plate.
Pain is not something to avoid, but something to embrace.
It's a comedic twist to living life as a human being.
We often look at others who are successful and see only their success and not their journey.
We see the glow of a 50th wedding anniversary – but not the quarrels and fights and sleepless night and illnesses and losses and financial hardships endured to get there.
We see the successful business person who is setting their own schedule and jet-setting to exotic locations on a whim – but we don’t see the sleepless nights, 16 hour days, failed relationships, bankruptcies, mental illness, and lawsuits that were overcome.
Successful people know that you don't become successful without pain.
Accept, persevere and overcome.
Enjoy the climb!