Finally, you snagged the guy of your dreams. Yes! You got the promotion you worked your ass off for. OMG, did you just land that major contract and are now set for life financially?! Hallelujah, you just completed your Subway sandwich card and can now redeem one six-inch sub and a 21 oz. fountain beverage of your choice.
Yeah, it’s pretty great when things go our way. But because you read the headline, you know exactly where I’m gonna go with this next.
Oh, the dude wasn’t that into you. Darn, the promotion has you working overtime and you feel burnt out. FML, are you telling me that you’ve spent so much money that now you’re saving just as much as you did when you were making less and you aren’t even happier?! Jesus Christ, I only went to Subway for the promise of a free sandwich. I don’t even like Subway!
This is one of those pet peeves I have about life. Ultimately, we only want and desire things to go favourably. We never want or desire the crap. But the crap is there around the corner. Waiting. Salivating. And definitely massaging its nipples. The cycle never ends until the grave when, once again, we celebrate that the pain is over but also lament that the joy is too.
The only solution I’ve ever found to this is to embrace the bad. As Eckhart Tolle put it, “Embrace it as if you had chosen it yourself.” But that’s easier said than done. We labelled certain things as bad, so are we to now just call them good? Can I call murder good? Can I call rape good? Sure, these are extremes but these are realities.
Furthermore, what would it say if we were to accept the things we deem as bad? Wouldn’t that cause… problems?
But then I think to myself that morality is subjective. Murder might be bad, but if someone had killed Hitler, a lot of people wouldn’t think that’s such a bad thing. Sure, it’s unfortunate that one would have to resort to such an act. But it might be better to eliminate one cancerous cell than to have that cell compromise an entire arm of cells.
You probably think you have me beat on rape. You might agree with me on the killing of a thing that would destroy other innocent things, but there’s no way you can make a similar argument for rape.
Well, you’re right. Rape, in my estimation, is the worst crime one can commit. And yet, there are people who fantasize about being raped whether by men or by women. Naturally, fantasizing is not the same as actually desiring it. Furthermore, I don’t think that anyone who fantasizes about rape is condoning or campaigning for it. And yet, one still has to wonder why anyone would fantasize about one of the most dehumanizing acts to exist. Is anyone fantasizing about being bayoneted in their spare time? Is anyone daydreaming about abject poverty and being food insecure?
Maybe poverty is the most objectively terrible thing in the world. But then again, how many wealthy people attribute their success to their humble beginnings? I remember having to interview a family friend for an assignment for school and he remarked that he never knew he was poor until his late teens. He was raised in a loving home and while food might not have been plenty and sometimes he needed new shoes, that didn’t register in his mind as a bad thing. Uncomfortable, sure. But he didn’t exactly have the psychological suffering that caused people who lost millions in the financial crisis of 2008 to kill themselves.
One could say that those souls had more to lose. I would say it’s a matter of perspective. When the baseline is set at a particular point, not too high to be haughty and not too low to be humiliated, one exists in health.
There is also an expectation that when certain things are achieved that we’ll be on Easy Street. And when the coin flips and problems arise, we’re dumbstruck. How can this be?
Is it that we should expect calamity? Maybe expect isn’t the right word. Perhaps we should be open to it. An openness to the varying experiences of life will allow you to move through life in the fluidity that was probably intended. We take ourselves and our lives too seriously. I’m one to talk. The two constant critiques I’ve received over many years are that I think too much and that I’m too hard on myself, but those are symptomatic of life growing up. Having to micromanage everyone’s emotions and trying to be deemed as acceptable so as to avoid the ostracizing that my amygdala convinces me is going to happen if I don’t do what people want me to.
Sounds horrible, and yet, that is just a perspective. Because of it, I read people to the extent that I’ve been called psychic. I understand people well, which causes people to want to talk to me because I’m not judgmental, or at the very least not as judgmental as everyone else. Why? Because I know it’s not fun to be judged so I don’t do it. It’s not even fun to judge. Any momentary superiority I would get is followed by a cold, wet blanket of guilt.
Low-key I’m thinking that people will read this and think I’m a rape apologist. I know what my intentions are and they’re expressed accurately. Yet, I know how mean or triggered or controversial or bored people are and how what I wrote will cause them to want to stir controversy. That is, if anyone even reads this. But that’s how much I fear the public guillotine of judgment.
Anyway, the point is that it’s all a matter of perspective. Blessings turn into curses turn into blessings ad infinitum. It’s only annoying because we must agree on the notion that certain events are always bad and we must therefore feel bad.
But we have another option. Have the experience, react how we would naturally and then decide how we want to look at it moving forward. It isn’t always that simple, I know. Sometimes things happen that will require therapy before we can begin to look at it positively or to even give thanks for it. However, we must admit, the only reason we think anything is good or bad is because we think it so.
“…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison. Well, then it isn’t one to you, since nothing is really good or bad in itself — it’s all what a person thinks about it. And to me, Denmark is a prison.” — William Shakespeare
But it doesn’t need to be, Hamlet. Denmark’s actually pretty swanky these days.