Difficulties stink! We don’t choose to struggle (intentionally); although we often contribute to the circumstances that create the difficulty. A whole genre of happiness literature graces the bookshelves, promising peace; but no matter how skilled at living we become, difficulties intrude, disrupting the promised tranquility. From our struggle for a first breath at birth until our death, we fight for joyous survival. But we want ease. We want to reach the plateau and rest. The ordinary troubles seem unfair. Expectations of ease are misguided. They leave us disappointed with the realities of existence.
Neither the arrival of the industrial revolution nor the presence of mass data has eased the burden. We still struggle. Capitalism pushes to grow the gross national product. Providing more and more goods that seem necessary. The cost of living is always just beyond comfort, requiring a little extra. The paradise of ease doesn’t exist. We grapple with finances, relationships and emotions. I’m okay with this. Ease appears frightfully boring. Life, as we know it, has sufficient joys to enrich and beautify.
The misguided hope for ease magnifies the pain of difficulty. Entitlement--expecting ease—simmers underneath, magnifying disappointments. If were angry at life, perhaps, we should examine our expectations rather than the blaming the terribleness of the world for failing to provide.
We have trials—unplanned and unpleasant. These intrusions spoil our ordinary, ordered days. Our expected calmness is rocked. Unwelcomed disruptions may be from our poor choices or somebody else’s. It doesn't matter. We just want to know why; we demand answers.
We are predicting machines, ordering days with expectations. This is how we allot energy to the tasks at hand. Interference with these plans frustrates our system, requiring costly adjustments and adapting. However, this is life. This is the world we live in. The stars, sun and moon (and most everyone else and everything else) could careless about our predictions. They have their own plans. Expectations of no interference is foolish. We are not entitled to an uninterrupted journey.
Key Definition: Entitlement (Psychology)
Entitlement is unrealistic expectations of rights, privileges, or resources.
Consequences to actions are unpredictable and inconsistent. Sometimes punishments are overwhelmingly stern, other times a poor choice 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 calculations. One drunk driver gets arrested, another kills but most end-up sleeping off the party without notable consequence.
Keeping expectations in line with reality prepares us to endure difficulties, and open to learn from the trials.
Struggles forge character. A life of ease softens resolve, flexibility, and temperament. Maybe “affluenza” is a disease. Challenges that disrupt provide the ingredients to develop compassion, love and depth. Ease creates shallowness and entitlement. Life’s crazy. When lives shatter, we feel bitterness; but eventually if we let go and welcome reality, the acceptance prepares for healing.
We’ll never fully appreciate life until we accept that bad things happen. The Acceptance tames anger, diminishes need for blame and opens us 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. Savor the moments, learn from the challenges, and live life in the realities of the universe.
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