The Inevitability of Pain
We all want to be happy? Does anyone disagree? It is even a constitutional right in America to pursue happiness.
But the reality is, we are not always happy. We are often miserable and anxious.
I claim that being happy on an ongoing basis is unnatural. It is more likely that being in pain is the natural state.
Here is why.
When there is change of any kind in our lives, what happens?
It means there is something new happening. Now you have to decide what to do about this “new event”. Should you do nothing or do something? And if you choose to do something, you may have several choices to choose from.
Choosing what to do, including the decision to do nothing, is a process of handling uncertainty. You are not sure what will be the right decision. By definition, you do not have all the information because the “new event” has not been dealt with yet. We will have full information only after the fact.
You have to spend some energy which, in difficult situations, can be exhausting. To decide to make a decision in itself can be “painful”. I do not mean physically painful, I mean emotionally and intellectually painful.
And when you move to implement a decision, whatever decision you make, you are taking the risk that it might not work out as you anticipated it would when you originally made the decision.
Taking risks is also “painful.”
Some pain stems from being in conflict. Not necessarily with other people. Rather being internally conflicted.
Part of you is liberal. Part of you is conservative. I suspect the liberals start from the point of faith, thus they are liberal in their choices. The conservatives start from a point of fear, thus they are conservative and the conflict one feels in one’s head is this conflict between fear and faith.
Weighing the pros and cons of each decision consumes mental energy. Thus, the pain of sleepless nights and anxiety (which in critical cases manifests as panic) that accompanies our decision making.
These types of “pain” are inevitable because change is inevitable.
You can avoid the pain if you can avoid change; go to the Himalayas and mediate the rest of your life in a cave. Or if you become oblivious to the world you live in.
The more ambitious you are, the more you expect from yourself and from others. The more change you allow for in your life, the more pain you are likely to experience.
If your goal is to be happier – you can’t be happy all the time, slow down. Expect less, want less, strive for an informed balance between faith and fear. Enjoy what you have and leave the rest to God.
I should re-read carefully myself what I say here …
Ichak Kalderon Adizes