Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Suffering Surfaces the Self

Misery isn’t doing something you hate.

It’s becoming someone you hate when you do it.

I have no problem executing the grunt work, sucking it up and grinding it out until the job gets done. With a little creativity and lot of focus, I can rationalize most of life’s activities into something at least marginally meaningful.

Unless.

When an experience causes me to degrade into the lowest version of myself, this cynical, bitter, apathetic, antisocial, hypercritical sack of flesh and bones, that’s my definition of miserable.

When my relationship to the world no longer makes sense to me, and I feel like a lonely chunk of tofu taking on the flavor of whatever disgusting soup it’s immersed in, that’s my definition of miserable.

When I’m trapped in a system of rules that put me at odds with myself, one that keeps my intellect on pause and my expression on mute, forcing me into a false self I can no longer comfortably inhabit, that’s my definition of miserable.

See the difference?

It’s less about activity and more about identity.

Because I don’t care about being the best at what I do.

I just want to be best of who I am.

The upside is, misery also gives me a window into my values.

Suffering surfaces the self.

So it’s still a net gain.