I recently read a forum post which made me think about how we cope with life’s challenges. I used to think that somehow, I was particularly cursed in the happiness department and the fate was throwing all these difficult challenges to me. Now I know that most difficult part of these challenges was handling my emotions.
I am not saying I had objectively no reason to complain. However, this is not really the point. The issue is something in my childhood made me engage in magical thinking where I thought if I only could sort out the outside world….everything would be fine. You know if only I would be popular….if only I had friends etc…Lets not go to the extreme and claim that these things do not matter, especially when you are 13, but….they matter all the more if you lack resources to handle life’s challenges.
Crappy childhood usually does not make you tough, but rather vulnerable. But working through years and years of emotional issues makes you tough eventually. It also makes you look at life’s issues differently. I know for a fact that loosing my job or the end of a relationship would probably be less of an issue for me than for a lot of other people. Simply because I know that these things are replaceable. It is how you deal with losses that is important.
I find that basing your happiness on getting this one job or this dream house is a risky road. I have the experience of loosing several things that mattered to me throughout my life and I know that this is survivable. Unfortunately I don’t think I have a good recipe for achieving the mentality where life’s challenges would not be such an issue anymore. For me it has taken years and years of therapy. So I am sympathetic to other people who experience the same as I did, but at the same time I am also aware that the major issue is not the challenge itself but in fact the attitude. Life is going to be tough for some more than others. It would be naïve to hope that everything you encounter in life is going to make you happy and satisfied. People who have it good usually don’t have it good because they have no challenges. They have it good because they know how to handle these challenges.