Hard Things

Big business provides millions of people with good jobs and benefits, and it rewards invention and innovation, which is often good for the world. However, big business does have its dark side. There are many facets to this dark side, and just one of those facets is the fact that big business requires a steady influx of new customers and new products in order to survive and for our economy to stay healthy. So one major goal is to stimulate demand for new products. Consequently, year after year, they feed us a huge lie. The lie is that the things we currently possess are not good enough. They have learned ultra-sophisticated methods of training our minds, through advertising and public relations, to be dissatisfied with what we have now, and to eagerly await the next better, bigger, faster thing and want to buy it, whether we need it or not. Do you know a fourteen year-old who bought a cell phone for $1,000.00? I do.

As a result, the people of our society are constantly being psychologically conditioned to be dissatisfied in general. This destructive phenomenon can apply in every area of our lives. Not satisfied with your spouse? No problem. Divorce. Not satisfied with the timing of getting pregnant? No problem. Abort. 

This leads us to another lie which is just as destructive. It’s not told to us directly by big business interests, but it is implied, particularly in the marketing of health care and personal care products. That is, that we are entitled to be happy and free of discomfort at all times. While the U.S. Constitution guarantees us the right to the pursuit of happiness, it does not guarantee the right to be happy. And yet, this seems to be what most Americans believe. For that reason and many others, lots of our people are, to be blunt, just plain spoiled. They can’t handle adversity or failure.

In my work as a therapist, I’ve come across a lot of people who seem to think that if they’re unhappy or if they’ve failed at school, work or in a relationship, it’s the end of the world. If they’ve had a loss or a big setback, life as they know it is over. Have they been spoiled, never having learned to cope with bad times? Is there some other reason they can’t do the hard things that we all have to learn to do? 

To enjoy a satisfying and successful life, everyone must learn to tolerate frustration and to cope with failure and loss. This is one of many hard things life asks of us. In addition to coping with failures, illness, natural disasters and personal losses, the well-adjusted and wise individual will have some ability to constructively address other hard things.

Please consider the following partial list of hard things that people might have to face, even if their lives are fairly normal and successful.

Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve to be forgiven

Discern what is in our ability to control, compared to what is not

Let go of the need to be in charge

Let go of envy, comparing ourselves to others

Let go of hate

Let go of a loss – loss of a relationship, a loved one, job, good health

Let go of fixed ideas and obsessions

Let go of self-defeating habits

Grieve and mourn

Prevent a return to dysfunctional behaviors

Deal with the effects of trauma

Recondition the brain away from negativity, toward hope and confidence

Accept hard realities – a few examples: some problems have no solution – we will never understand everything – some situations are beyond our ability to change

Cherish life’s mysteries

Discard self-destructive fantasies

Refrain from taking things personally

Slow down and soothe a hyper-active mind

It’s probably fair to say that nearly all of us, if we’re honest, have had difficulty doing some hard thing or other. If that is true for you, and if that difficulty has created a problem, it may be time to get an outside perspective. A friend, a wise teacher, or even a professional. I assure you that anyone who has an open mind and a strong desire to change can do the hard things he or she needs to do. If you are ready, I’d be honored to be of service. The phone number is (219) 309-3928.

Thanks for reading!