More and more of us are talking about embracing the full spectrum of the human condition. It might be argued this in the below video is the opposite side of the spectrum, but I think it’s a bit more subtle than that. My practice is that I accept what is and that is what Oliver Burkeman is also espousing. Life is filled with all sorts of experiences as well as emotions. He’s talking about accepting it all.
Journalist and author Oliver Burkeman offers an alternative “negative path” to happiness and success that involves embracing the things we spend our lives trying to avoid.
I saw this on Huffington Post today that is also in keeping with this idea: Pain: A Love Story — Coming to Terms With the Human Experience
It hurts to be here. By here, I mean on this planet doing this human being gig. There’s pain… like right here, right now. Check it out and see. Pause for a moment and feel into your experience of being here. There’s pain…
Maybe it’s a dense ache… fluttering anxiety… quiet despair… building resentments… sorrow nipping… wide-eyed envy… rage barely touched… exhaustion… desperation… shame… hunger… desire… defeat… discomfort.
But the mind trip comes when we think that there shouldn’t be pain. “I shouldn’t be feeling this way,” or “If I were really doing the work, I’d be happier,” or “If I hit this target, made that money, got out of debt, then I’d feel free and happy,” or “If I could just meet The One and be in a truly loving and supportive relationship, then I’d be happy,” or “If I could just overcome my insecurities, fully express myself and be creatively fulfilled, then I’ll be happy.”…
…If we spent one-third of the energy that we spend on chasing happiness on getting better at being in pain, our experience of being alive would dramatically expand. We’d need to chase less and run away from less. (continue reading)
I love that. Getting better at being in pain rather than running from it’s inevitability. I’ve found that in embracing pain joy becomes that much more nuanced too. One can’t really run from pain and deeply experience joy both.
I’ve done other posts on this subject on Beyond Meds:
● Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking — a post about the book that the above guy in the video wrote
● On optimism (and positive thinking)
● Rethinking positive thinking
By Oliver Burkeman:
● The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking
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