Hump Day Headspace: your misery will not be mistaken for effort
August 23, 2017
Raise your hand if you like your job.
Raise your hand if you work hard like a boss.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt excluded from the latter category because you also belong in the first.
Okay, now put your hand down because you’re likely sitting at the kitchen table or in a coffee shop right now and you look like you’ve finally lost the last of your marbles.
We’ve all been there, right? Sitting at the bar with friends on a Friday night talking about the week except most of us aren’t talking, we’re complaining. But not you. You're sitting there quietly swirling your drink around because you actually had a pretty good week. In fact, you had a great week. You woke up excited every day and that makes you a lazy asshole.
…yup. Sorry to break it to you but in the new age of #grinding and #hustling and #whatissleep, an essential and necessary part of hard work is misery. Haven't you heard?
Misery, to some degree, is inevitable. But that’s not all there is. Whoever decided to read the Cliff Notes version of Buddhism and came out with the suddenly widely accepted idea that all of life is suffering really did us a disservice. If you’re familiar with the teachings and practice of buddhism, you might know that the idea of enduring suffering actually means that since suffering, instability, and imperfection are inevitable, we should be in constant search of better. Had our Cliff Notes reader actually picked up the full book of Buddhism*, they’d have realized that merely submitting to suffering is not a worthy goal.
Lately I’ve noticed this feeling — the feeling that I’m lazy or gluttonous for being okay — creeping up in my personal life as well. As I care for my mental health and trudge further into self-love, there’s an ominous, gravelly voice in my head that tries to convince me I’m not working hard enough anymore because I’m not at war with everything.
Well I’m not buying it. You and I are not the lazy assholes. It's that voice inside our heads that's the asshole, and its friend misery, too.
Misery is not a synonym for effort; it’s a safety blanket. As long as we’re miserable, we don’t have to be in search of anything better, and being in search of better is hard work. It is tiring, never-ending work and we’re not always going to be up to the challenge. We’re going to fall back into misery from time to time and it’s probably going to be left-my-coffee-cup-on-the-roof-of-my-car levels of frustrating. So we could always just give up. We could pick the safe, miserable route where we’re too busy wallowing and sulking to fail. We could choose the easy path where there’s no one holding us accountable for not being a miserable lump of potatoes.
but raise both hands in the air if you’d rather buy a new coffee cup than be a potato.
haha. Same here. Now seriously, put your hands down.
*This is not a real book title. The little I know of Buddhism discussed here is from internet readings as a teenager. I'm not suggesting I am an expert of have it all correct. If you’re curious about Buddhism, please defer to a reputable source and do your due diligence and respectful research!