Are We All Just Masochists?

Let's talk about one of the biggest crimes we commit against ourselves: self-inflicted misery. You know what I'm talking about... those moments when we decide to blame ourselves for something that was completely out of control. Those moments when we think to ourselves "If only I had done x differently," or "If only I had worked harder towards y." Sometimes situations really do happen to us. Certain occurrences are completely outside of our control and we really ought to learn how to let them go and how to move on with our lives.

I was blown away by this quote in Every Man’s Speaking Tree (a collection of spiritual articles, editorials, and letters from The Times of India). It had me thinking about all the unnecessary stress we are constantly creating in our lives: "Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional."

The inevitable versus the optional

Situations that are totally reasonable and routine are always popping in our lives to test our strength - it’s normal and natural. But all too often we take it upon ourselves to make ourselves miserable because of them. And we, as humans, are experts at making ourselves feel miserable over literally ANYTHING....

Inevitable: “Is college the right choice for me?” Optional: “What if I don’t get into college? PANIC.”

Inevitable: “X PERSON doesn’t speak with me anymore.” Optional: “X PERSON doesn’t speak with me because he/she hates A,B,C about me so I must be an awful person.”

Inevitable: “X PERSON passed away.” Optional: “X PERSON died so now I have to be sad and miserable for the rest of my life.”

Inevitable: “This dress doesn’t fit me right.” Optional: “I’m fat.”

Inevitable: “Something bad happened.” Optional: “My life sucks.”

We become completely consumed by the potential negative implications and outcomes of various situationsand we start hating or doubting ourselves. We start to convince ourselves that we aren’t good enough or that we aren’t working hard enough or that we aren’t doing enough. We start driving ourselves crazy by nitpicking things to death. We become insecure, fragile, emotionally unstable, lacking focus, consumed with misery and self-pity, wallowing in the negativity and refusing to drag ourselves out of it.

Fun decides to walk out the door of our lives. And rather than block the front door and strive to keep it hostage, we choose to let these awful thoughts help shove it out.

Life happens. It’s a roller coaster filled with highs and lows, and those highs and lows are what keep interesting. Because of the lows we appreciate the highs more. And through the lows we learn the lessons we need to learn to reach record new highs. It’s called progressing as a human being. It’s called evolving as a person.

Inner strength

And for the record, there is no such thing as being “free from problems” - so if that’s the solution you’re chasing, you better stop. No matter how old we get and how much wisdom we acquire, problems will always come up in various facets of our lives. This life is a journey and there will inevitably road blocks. We can’t change that. What we can change is how we choose to respond to them.

Problems defined

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could train ourselves to simply see a situation for what it is? Identify the problem, tackle it, experience it, learn from it, and then move on to the next phase of living. Wouldn’t that be preferable to beating ourselves up before, during, and after dealing with these issues? Why are we so preoccupied with punishing ourselves? Why are we so convinced that we deserve to suffer? Why can’t we understand that sometimes it’s just a shitty situation and nothing more?

Here's a truth: Life isn't always going to be chipper. It will be filled with both good things and bad things - and that's the only thing that's certain. I'm working to accept that sometimes shit happens and there's nothing I can do to stop it. The only thing I can do is try to let it pass through my life without turning my whole world upside down. Because (#realtalk) shit will ALWAYS happen.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this concept and what some of your best coping mechanisms are. Drop all your comments in below!

Dealing with the inevitable, xx Nikbear