There are days, sometimes many in succession, where we feel like the world is against us.
Like everything we try to do or say is at odds with everyone around us. When life lately just seems to have handed us a bad lot and wants to watch us struggle.
It feels crappy and dare I say it….. Unfair!
Because life was only ever meant to be FAIR!
The consoling and reassuring sentiment here is that ……….we all feel this!
Yes, on varying levels and to varying degrees; it is all relative.
But we ARE ALL STRUGGLING at one time or another.
So why then do we selfishly assume, it’s just us? Like we are the only ones on the planet doing it tough right now? That no one person could possibly UNDERSTAND what we’re going through right now?
That self-pity can only offer a lukewarm, fleeting hug at best.
We are humans and yet, only human. As unique as our individual experiences in life are, we share this one element in common….. The struggles of Life.
The ‘stories and struggles’ that make up our lives and the multitudes of those around us, are like threads of whispered conversations. They float, sometime aimlessly, sometimes with intent, mostly unheard, around us.
Our struggles occasionally see the vain light of day, in a clipped conversation, an abrupt argument or a rant on social media.
At other times, our struggles are made to seem sweet and light, the colour of lemon yellow, when really they’re rather muddied, solicitously stifled.
Our struggles either way are open to change, sometimes fickle like the wind and often ripe with contempt for the fellow humans who fail to see our suffering.
But while we are ultimately individuals, we do make up part of the human collective. We share ‘Life’ in common; with all it’s guts and glory, trials and tribulations, peaks and troughs.
The pursuit of Happiness
So surely, reason tells us it’s OK to struggle. It’s a part of life. There’s nothing wrong with us if we’re not happy ALL the time.
In fact 19th Century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer even went so far as to say ‘we are all a little imbalanced’.
“There is only one inborn error, and that is the notion that we exist in order to be happy….so long as we persist in this inborn error….the world will seem to us full of contradictions. For at every step, in great things and small, we are bound to experience that the world and life are certainly not arranged for the purpose of being happy”. The School of Life
So refusing to acknowledge that just like us, others around us everywhere are facing similar turmoil, means we are truly doing ourselves an even greater disservice.
Wouldn’t we be much better off going around assuming, that the bus driver is struggling perhaps too, in some area of her life. That the stranger walking their dog in the morning is dealing with his own demons. The curt sales assistant is experiencing loss presently or your child’s teacher is possibly still battling with a lengthy divorce?
Strength in Numbers
If we are part of a collective, then why not rally behind one another, comforted by the knowledge that we’re all fighting our own battles, shaking off some struggles.
Here too Schopenhauer would recommend that we look in the mirror, step back from the day-to-day and ‘look at life without illusion’.
That life can be a series of struggles, does not mean we have to suffer them alone or in despair.
They’re as common as flies, just as irritating, but none-the-less, part of life.
The chance to exist and make of it what we will, (dependent on the circumstances that we may face and the choices we make) is an incredibly empowering idea.
Better yet, pulling together in the shared knowledge that we are all only human and that struggles are a part of life, can help us avoid the self-pity trap and move forward instead, with hope and resolve.
Things will and always do, eventually, get better.