There is a talented woman named Gaelynn Lea whose life and talents are an inspiration to all of us. She truly shows us ” . . . what can be done with a life.” She has said, “I really want there to be the acknowledgement that life is both difficult and beautiful at the same time.”
I wish to provide my acknowledgement of this truth.
We fear the struggle because that is what we have been taught. In a world where even the poorest of those around me enjoy an affluence that a significant part of the rest of the world can only dream of, people tend to react to their own suffering with shame while the suffering of others is often repugnant and seen as a reflection of lack in their character.
Money can alleviate, hide and even eliminate suffering. What we hold up as evidence of value of human beings is beauty, evidence of money, and a lavish lifestyle. We will overlook character flaws, inner ugliness and even criminal activity in our admiration and pursuit of these things. Parents push their children to win at all costs, to seek careers that will provide them greater status and we seek partners that can either provide us with a free ticket or at least add to our own efforts.
These things come before qualities like honesty, integrity, responsibility, compassion, and love.
Difficulties in life are seldom seen as stepping stones and so all the opportunities that they can provide for us to develop substance in our own beings, are lost. They are discarded like unwanted wrappers from fast-food chains, never recognized for the treasures that they are. When we can teach our children how to meet adversity head-on, how to endure, how to dig deep we accomplish so much more than any career path is ever going to teach them. It is the difference in learning a skill set for a specific task or a skill set for ANY task.
Learning to meet difficulties head-on can help us eliminate the greatest fears from our lives. If obstacles are seen as something to be avoided at all cost people can resort to self-defeating behaviour, even crime. The practice of avoidance takes away a person’s power base and makes what others think and do more important than their own actions. This fear puts your game controller into the hands of someone else. They make your decisions because you are reliant on their approval first and foremost before you even consider what options are available as possible actions. Rather than risking failure or exposure we don’t even try. We have no experience base that tells us where our strengths lie and what we are capable of. We would rather never achieve than risk losing the esteem of others.
Supporting others through their struggles and watching them own their success is such a gift. Any help that I have ever rendered has paled in comparison to what I have gained. It is inspiring when I consider the impact that such a powerful human being has on the world around them.
Every day we all open up some social media program and see so many people sharing contrived pictures of themselves, staged for one purpose – to convince us that they are more than what they are. It is a game we play that repeatedly announces that we, as we are, will never be good enough. Others gather around and participate in the charade by praising the illusion mainly because they give to get. Tomorrow they will post a picture and they will count on your approval. For some reason, that fake and insincere exchange is more important to us than anything real and meaningful.
How can we look for substance and meaning when we do not know who we are? Why do we create “avatars” that we send out into life to interact with others? No wonder we are disappointed in our families, our marriages and our many relationships. Life is not a Photoshopped beautiful illusion. It is gritty and ugly and tough and we, human beings with all our flaws, can meet it all head-on and suffer through our trials and come out the other end as diamonds, worthy of all substance and meaning. That is the dream and the reality of life being both difficult and beautiful at the same time.