Everyday I wake up in pain. My life is fantastic.
I’m not being sarcastic either. Life is a gift in and of itself, and being human is a fantastic experience. The challenges, the setbacks, the ups and downs all combine to make for an interesting and enjoyable life experience. Life is a beautiful dance between pleasure and pain, a mystery shrouded in duality as plain as day, yet as dark as night. It’s only because of the challenges in life that we can enjoy our triumphs. Ugliness is what makes beauty for without it we’d have nothing to compare.
Without pain, we’d know not pleasure and life would be boring and mundane.
Everyday is a struggle. I’m enjoying the challenges of life.
Which sentence identifies the way you think? Do you wake up in pain and proclaim the day a struggle, getting out of bed to fulfill your prophecy and struggle through the day? Or do you wake up happy to be alive, ready to take on any challenge thrown your way with the zeal of a kindergartener?
If you’re “normal,” then you view your challenges as struggles and wish you didn’t have to go through them. Without challenges, how would we grow?
It’s the challenges that give us so much joy. Overcoming a big challenge is one of the richest experiences you can have.
There’s no better feeling to a human being than solving a problem. We love it, whether we want to admit it or not. It’s why we’re here on this earth and why we have these big alien sized heads. We’re problem solvers.
Take a look at the device you’re using to read this article. You’re looking at a device that represents hundreds of problems solved. The microchip, an invention that was largely overlooked, winded up being one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century (1). It was invented to solve a problem, as with all inventions. Solving these problems is why we live in houses and not a borough. But even a borough represents a problem solved.
As humans, we have an insatiable appetite for problem solving when it’s external, but sometimes we like to play the victim with internal problems like chronic pain.
Being in pain all the time sucks, this I know. But it’s still a problem/challenge that needs solving and it starts with how you look at it.
The Greatest Challenge
Trying to figure out how to live a normal life while dealing with debilitating pain has been the greatest challenge of my life. I didn’t always look at it like a challenge. At one point, I looked at it like a curse bestowed upon me or bad luck. neither of these views are healthy because it is a powerless view of myself. Even if it was a curse, wouldn’t it be healthier to take an empowering stance?
To empower yourself, all you have to do is accept responsibility for how you interpret and deal with your challenges. You can say, “my life sucks, other people are lucky, and nobody understands me”. Or you can say, “I’m grateful to have the cognitive ability to think about myself abstractly, ponder, and solve problems.”
That is our greatest power as humans. We can think about our future in grave detail but other animals can’t think about where they want to be a year from now. They’re stuck right where they are, looking to put some food in their belly and continue the routine that has led to their survival. They can’t think abstractly about themselves and change a thing.
By taking the road less traveled, we can put ourselves in a position to improve our lives. There are remedies to nearly all conditions that will, at the least, provide you with some sort of temporary relief so you can enjoy each day. The amount of information readily available online and in books is startling. Once you take the empowering stance, you’ll find yourself consuming loads of information and reading like your life’s dependent on it (because it is).
The stories from people who have found meaning and happiness despite having horrific and debilitating situations will both motivate and inspire you on your search for purpose. Anyone who feels they’ve been slighted in the game of life should read Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It’ll help you gain perspective and to look at your challenges differently.