Letting Difficulty Transform You
Bliss through a screen. How often do we use it to escape? As I focus my attention to more and more screens throughout my day, I have had to train myself to consciously monitor how often I allow myself to use instant entertainment as a temporary salve on my real world pains. How will future generations deal with their emotions when there will be so many more options for them to escape?
I grew up with a TV. My brother grew up with that, and his Gameboy. My future children? A TV, a portable multimedia device strapped to their side, video screens on subways, in elevators, in cars – implants perhaps? Will they be able to shut their eyes, and see images streamed from some nameless server, on command?
What happens when you bury pain down? Ignore your problems? I know what happens in my life: The pain festers. It seeps into other areas. It mutates and grows – casting a shadow over positive moments, never allowing me to fully relax. Even the thought of those problems makes me instinctively want to distract myself with something else just to eradicate the icky feeling I had even acknowledging the problem.
We all know how great this works out. And yes, suffering is the human condition. It’s unavoidable. But luckily, there is this to consider:
Suffering humbles us and teaches us empathy, and many of us reach stronger places of understanding in our lives because of deep unhappiness. Even the most confident, seemingly untouchable person can be reached by the loss of someone they love. Suffering wounds us, forces us to re-examine aspects of our selves that we otherwise would shove in the farthest corners of our minds.
So often we avoid taking risks that could lead to a richer quality of life, out of fear of experiencing discomfort. We are conditioned by the things we read and watch that if we start to feel lonely or depressed there must be some kind of imbalance that with the right pill, the right distraction, can be easily erased. We are training ourselves to let everyone but us do our thinking. And that is a very dangerous way to live.
In the pursuit of a life without pain, many of us are allowing our lives to be stolen.
…The real lives we would lead if we weren’t so afraid of losing.