BY: T. Franklin Murphy | April 2018
Expectations of Ease
We don't survive well without effort. Being born is not the only requirement. A healthy life demands consistent healthy action.
Difficulties stink! We don’t choose to struggle (intentionally); although we may create the circumstances inviting the difficulties. A whole genre of happiness literature graces the bookshelves, promising peace; but no matter how skilled at living we become, difficulties intrude, disrupting the tranquility, leaving us processing troublesome emotions. From the struggle for the first breath until death, life always fights for existence. We must continually battle for survival; the industrial age nor the arrival of mass data has eased our burden. The push to keep the gross national product growing keeps the cost of living just beyond comfort, requiring a little more. We must fight to survive. The paradise of ease doesn’t exist. We grapple with finances, relationships and emotions. I’m okay with this. A life of ease appears frightfully boring. Life has sufficient joys mixed with the strife to enrich and beautify.
The misguided hope of an attainable ease magnifies the pain of difficulty. Entitlement--expecting ease—simmers underneath, magnifying the normal emotions of disappointments. If we constantly feel angry at life, perhaps we should examine our underlying expectations rather than the terribleness of a world failing to provide.
We encounter trials—unplanned and unpleasant. Sometimes these ravenous intrusions spoil our ordinary and ordered days, leaving our calmness in a confusing dishevel. The unwelcomed disruptions may be from our poor choices or, perhaps, somebody else’s poor choices. We want to know why; we demand answers to explain the hurt and the turmoil. A clear answer is instrumental to future avoidance. But often the answers are not clear, complicated with multiple causes, and muddled with unidentifiable influences; our assessments are slightly askew, and we misguide blame. The tainted answers only provide limited guidance.
Consequences to both good and bad actions are unpredictable and inconsistent. Sometimes punishments are overwhelmingly stern, other times a poor choice ignores error and may even reward; the cheater graduates, the liar is elected, and the drunk driver safely returns. Life is complex. Life can’t be fully understood through simple cause-and-effect utility calculations. One drunk driver gets arrested, another kills an innocent family but most end-up sleeping off the party without notable consequence. We can’t evaluate choice accurately by only considering the consequences.
"But often the answers are not clear, complicated with multiple causes, and muddled with unidentifiable influences; our assessments are slightly askew, and we misguide blame. The tainted answers only provide limited guidance."
Struggles forge character. A life of ease softens resolve, flexibility, and temperament. Maybe “affluenza” is a disease. The challenges that disrupt smooth functioning provides the ingredients to develop compassion, love and depth. Ease creates shallowness and entitlement. Life’s crazy. When lives shatter, we feel bitterness; but eventually letting go and greeting reality with a welcoming embrace lessons the impact and prepares for healing.
We’ll never fully appreciate life until we accept some bad along with the good. Acceptance tames anger, diminishes blame and opens experience to great treasures of wisdom. We are entitled to live in this beautiful mixed up and complicated world, along with all the joys, sorrows, and pleasures that belong to our unpredictable existence. Savor the moments, learn from the challenges, and live life in the realities of the universe.
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