Today, more than ever, people are psychologically soft.
We have been raised in a time of unprecedented ease, comfort, and convenience.
We are, on a daily basis, guarded from the painful realities of life.
We avoid real-time romantic rejection by swiping left and right on the faces of strangers.
We avoid daily reminders of death by having closed casket funerals, lathering ourselves in anti-aging cream, and purchasing pre-processed meat from supermarkets.
We don’t even have to ask strangers to take photos for us anymore because selfie sticks have allowed us to outsource that micro moment of social tension.
And while many modern conveniences are nice to have, what is the net cost of all of this comfort?
Ultimately, this slowly accumlated psychological softness comes at a heavy price.
As a result of being perpetually wrapped in cotton wool…
– Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are on the rise.
– Self-reported rates of feelings of loneliness are at an all time high.
– College students are overwhelming on-campus counselling centres in regards to the general stressors of life (breakups, cultivating autonomy, bad grades, etc.).
In short, the average psyche is becoming more fearful, undisciplined, and steeped in victim consciousness.
The antidote, as I see it, to sliding into the possession of an increasingly fragile mind, is embracing the intermittent harshness of life, and choosing to perceive pain as a teacher.
I hope that you experience great pain.
I hope that, in more ways than one, life kicks the shit out of you.
I hope that you have the experience of having one of your closest friends die, so that you will forever value the precious moments you share with those you love.
I hope that there are times where you feel excluded, so that you can value the importance of extending to those around you.
I hope that someone you once saw as wholly good and noble disappoints you tremendously, so that you will see others in less black and white terms.
I hope that you struggle to achieve your dreams, so that you will one day enjoy the fruits of your labour that much more.
I hope that someone breaks up with you in a malicious manner, so that you know the importance of compassion during difficult conversations.
I hope that you feel the sting of a lovers cruel comment, so that you are always conscious to be kind to people when they are vulnerable.
I hope that someone who doesn’t know you at all says nasty, terrible things to you, so you will be less quick to judge others whose lives you know nothing of.
I hope that you experience immense tragedies that completely overwhelm you, so that you can realize just how much you are truly capable of surviving.
In essence, I hope that life challenges you, and that you are afforded the opportunity to build resilience as a result of your experiences.
This resilience will not come by default. You will still have to choose how you respond to the experiences of your life.
You can either choose to feel victimized, or you can see all of your experiences as teachers and use them to your advantage. The difference, that makes or breaks an individuals sense of resiliency, is in your perception of the events of your life.
Do you perceive your life as an endless slew of hardships, injustices, and ‘micro-aggressions’, or do you see your life as an endless opportunity to learn, grow, and improve?
When life throws challenges your way, will you flail or will you flourish?
As much as the lazy part of your mind will want to see life as something that happens to you, the responsible adult inside of you will know that it is your attitude… your perception… your mindset that ultimately shapes your life.
In the famous words of one of my earliest mentors, Jim Rohn, “Don’t wish it was easier, with you were better.”