The old year has come to an end and a new year is upon us. According to most of the social media I’ve been reading, this last year was bad. I’m talking the fifth season of Night Court bad. We all seem to be hanging our hopes that this new year will bring us some much-needed relief. Despite the challenges the previous year presented us, we can’t lose sight of all the positive things that happened in the last year. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. I learned some very powerful lessons that have changed my life in positive ways. These lessons have helped in my personal and professional growth.
I don’t generally subscribe to the idea of making new year’s resolutions. If you want to change, then you should do that regardless of the time of year. However, any chance I get to get out of my own way and become happier, healthier and less stressed I jump on it. Over the course of the next four articles, I will share these ideas with you in hopes that you can be a better, more positive you in 2017.
Lesson #1: Struggle in life is inevitable, suffering is optional
That phrase is purportedly something that stems from Buddhist philosophy. While I can’t speak to the origins of that phrase, I find it to be profound and moving. Struggle IS inevitable. This is a fact that we can do nothing about. No matter how we try hard times are going to happen to us. We don’t need to pile on. Yet, we do this to ourselves all the time.
We fear the struggle and go out of our way to avoid (a futile act) and then beat ourselves of with our thoughts and our behaviors when the struggle inevitably occurs. If a boxer got into the ring and started to punch himself in the face, we’d think he was crazy. Yet, we do similar things to ourselves all the time. We judge, blame, shame, assume, exaggerate, downplay, and twist our experiences in such a way as to add suffering to our experience and those around us.
With a true understanding of this, we can make some profound changes that can bring peace and happiness to ourselves and our loved ones.
- If struggle is inevitable, then change must therefore be inevitable as well. So, when we are in difficult times (struggle), we can hold on to the fact that the difficulty is temporary and good times are coming our way. All we need do is take care of business without beating ourselves up physically, mentally or emotionally. We should also avoid creating suffering for others. Just try to stay calm and deal with what we can change when we can change it and nothing more. It is the essence of the Serenity Prayer.
- Conversely, when we are in good times, then we should appreciate and savor them because eventually, struggle will return. Be mindful and appreciate the blessings and the wonders that the good times afford us. It’s like Ferris Beuller said, ”Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I hope you found this article helpful. Please share this with everyone you know. Spread the positivity!
If you would like to work with me on increasing your positivity practice or reducing stress then call 484-693-0582 or go to www.erikyoungcounseling.com to schedule a consultation.
©Erik Young, M.Ed., LPC