Todays post by Chuck Murphree
Chuck Murphree – YA Author – Educator – Mental Health Speaker
He raises his hand and says, “I hate it that life has to be so hard.” I look around the classroom and see heads nodding in agreement. He continues, “Like, why does it have to be that way? Why can’t we always be happy?” His question is valid and he and the others wait for my reply. I will do my best to answer it.
“You will set yourself up for a lot of disappointment if you think that you should always be happy,” I say. I get looks that tell me that is not what they wanted to hear. We are in a society where we see “happy” people on social media, acting like their lives are perfect. It’s a set-up, a one act play, and the actors are posing the best they can trying to get more likes and followers.
I have had this talk many times as an educator. You will have much joy in life, it is true, but you will also have a lot of suffering. Things will not always go your way. You will experience break-ups, friendships that end in anger or without reason, and you will experience loss. People that you love will die. You may have a tragedy in your life that will leave you different, hanging onto life and your sanity, and it can happen within a moment. Life is like that, one minute it feels like everything is going well, and a split second later, your world is turned upside down.
Please do not wait for something to happen. Don’t let life happen to you. Do not become one of those people that become so scarred by life that they anticipate bad things will always happen to them. That will produce anxiety, and worse yet, it may make you bitter. Don’t let that become your existence. I like to say, “Be prepared, not paranoid.” When we prepare ourselves for the bad things that might happen, it simply means we have built our armor to withstand the storm. This happens by gaining resilience, which is formed in many ways. Perhaps, you exercise and eat healthy so your body is ready to take the physical and emotional pain that comes your way. You build your coping skills by practicing daily meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. Maybe you get a therapist or a good acupuncturist that is always on standby, a tool in your box to help when needed. Being prepared could mean saving money for when the time comes that you need it quickly so that the impact of the cost is not as dramatic on your pocketbook. It could also mean being ready in case someone decides to harm you or your family. It could be someone that decides to attack you emotionally, or it’s an unknown attempt to dominate you physically. There are bad people in this world. Will you be ready for them? Prepared, not paranoid!
Hopefully you will age. I hope that you get old enough where you will experience creaks in your knees and pains that were not there in your youth. I wish for you to have painful memories and memories that were so joyful that it breaks you down in tears every time they enter your thoughts. This means that you are living a full life. It means that you have experienced happiness and you have had your share of obstacles and suffered. I believe that is how we truly appreciate life. It is how we become mindful of our days on this earth and accept it all, the good and bad. If you deny the bad, you deny yourself and your life.
Always remember, you cannot have joy without sadness. It is not possible to live an entire life without suffering, and you will go through your life having a great deal of joy. Happiness is there. The problem is when you do not recognize the joy and always focus on the suffering. The people who do that are the negative, rude people, who are resentful of everything and everyone. They are the ones that find problems and not solutions. The people who live their lives spreading their misery to others because if they cannot be happy, why should anyone else? Use caution with these people. Try to help them if you are able but know when to leave them behind. Cutting ties with someone can be extremely difficult, but allowing them in your life can be harmful to you.
There are many things that will happen in your life that will bring a smile to your face. You will have love and friendship, and you will read a good book that may change your life. Perhaps you will help someone on your journey, and their joy will become yours. You may find yourself in a small cafe, drinking the finest wine and eating a meal that the taste will never leave you, or you will find yourself walking in the woods and the trees bring a calmness to your mind that makes you revisit them often. Life has many wonders, absorb them all. Drink life in and let it soothe your throat, and when that drink turns sour, approach it with curiosity, realizing that it will eventually pass, and the pain you are feeling, the obstacle before you, will make you stronger.