I just read the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (and highly recommend it). In the section Pain is Part of the Process (p147) Manson discusses a Polish psychologist named Kazimierz Dabrowski who studied WWII survivors who had witnessed unimaginable gruesome things.

As Dabrowski studied the survivors, he noticed something both surprising and amazing. A sizable percentage of them believed that the wartime experiences they’d suffered, although painful and indeed traumatic, had actually caused them to become better, more responsible and yes, even happier people.

Pause, deep breath. Can you imagine? I personally can’t, thank goodness, though my ancestors could, and did.

Manson goes on, “Many of them still suffered from the emotional scars the lashings of war had left on them. But some of them had managed to leverage those scars to transform themselves in positive and powerful ways….For many of us, our proudest achievements come in the face of the greatest adversity….Dabrowski argued that fear and anxiety and sadness are not necessarily always undesirable or unhelpful states of mind; rather, they are often representative of the necessary pain of psychological growth…and to deny that pain is to deny our own potential.

No matter what you do, there will be some hard things, some unpleasantries, some things that darn it are NOT how you wanted them to be! And that’s life, baby. Life. So trying to avoid it or ignore it might work that one time, but over a lifetime it’s the confronting of the hard things that allows us to become conscious, confident and happy humans.

Your business might be failing, your house is in shambles, your relationship sucks. You could give up, throw it all away, or leave it the way it is. You could also pretend it’s all glorious and be eaten alive inside.

OR, you could start addressing things, one thing at a time, some easier than others (Joumor Principle: Start with the easiest thing first 😉 and feel that satisfaction and safety in the world start to get really solid as you build momentum through action.

Listen, do whatever works for you. Whatever business or organizing or relationship guru appeals to you, go for it.

But remember: You don’t lack joy and you don’t need to seek it. It’s all right there inside you waiting on the other side of all those hard things of life, waiting to be freed each time you chisel away at the things that have been blocking your true expression, because you’re a human being. Dealing with stuff that sucks (insurance, for example) and feels nauseating (telling your partner the truth)- it’s hard and it takes courage. And the joy never tasted so sweet when you get there.

As Captain Holt said to Rosa on the tv show Brooklyn 99, “Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.”

It might feel hard to be you, to address your misery, to speak your truth. But it’s worth it. You’ll make yourself and the world a stronger, more joyous place when you do.

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