BY: T. Franklin Murphy | November 2018 (edited March 1, 2022)
In the driven charge to become something, we lose the joy of simply being.
While life can be beautiful and simple, it’s also difficult and complex. The "feel good" culture misleads, teaching that change is easy. We are told feelings are a choice. They cram happiness down our throats, dismissing sorrow and hard work. Change requires much more than a thought game. Instead of fully engaging in life, they encourage burying emotion and selfishly seeking personal joy.
We naturally seek betterment. Flourishing Life articles focus many topics on qualities of personal growth. Many times, the attention given to flourishing distracts from the simple (and beautiful) state of just being. We desperately chase dreams of becoming something we are not. In this never-ending rat race, we lose something special—the love of life as it is. The precious moment is discarded for some brightly colored future that never arrives. Life always has a few aches and pains. The moment always is littered with a few concerns of uncertain futures.
Life is much more than this. We have room to constructively act and comfortably enjoy.
"We desperately chase dreams of becoming something we are not. In this never-ending rat race, we lose something special—the love of life as it is."
We must make loving room for discomforts, finding effectively avenues to respond to future threats but also maneuver around their tendency to overwhelm other aspects of our life. We can worry about a drug addicted child, while also enjoying the loving presence of a caring spouse. We can be burdened by unfair conditions at work and still enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the sun rise. We are challenged to keep the messiness of certain areas of our lives within the lines, containing them without allowing them to spoil other areas.
"In letting go of judgment and embracing all aspects of me, the healing that comes with self-acceptance rippled through my life."
Most challenges deserve some thought, plans to attack the ailments, but not endless fret. We can give doses of thoughtful preparation towards problems but must learn to disengage and nourish our souls.
Our constant strain to be happy forces confrontation with unpleasantness. The distracting imperfect elements in our lives signal wrongness. We tinker with solutions, constantly searching for the correcting action to finally rid ourselves of vexing problems.
Erich Fromm in his intriguing book To Have or to Be made these comments:
The living human being is not a dead image and cannot be described like a thing. In fact the living human being cannot be described at all. Indeed, much can be said about me, about my character, about my total orientation to life.... My whole individuality, my suchness that is unique as my fingertips are, can never be fully understood... Only in the process of mutual alive relatedness can the other and I overcome the barrier of separateness, inasmuch as we both participate in the dance of life. (2013. p. 76)
Fromm is referring to beingness. The entire being enmeshed in the complexity of life is much more than can be described. This state of being makes becoming something else vague and confusing.
We must find non-judgmental acceptance of the accompanying emotions, allowing our bodies to process and learn from the liveliness of engagement in living. By allowing expression, we release concealing conflicts between felt experience and forced smiles. We invite true healing with awareness, kindly stepping back and inviting more objectivity.
Somewhere in the fog of disparaging thoughts, convincing ourselves that life is quite right, we must escape into the light of wordless and worriless enjoyment. The joy of simply being, free from the relentless pursuit of becoming. In the calmness of nothingness, our souls heal from the bombardments of complexity and the worries of the unresolvables. Here in the peace of mind, we find our rejuvenating escapes—just for a moment.
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Fromm, E. (2013) To Have or To Be. Bloomsbury Revelations.
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