Need some words of encouragement today? One of my go-to inspirational writers these days is Glennon Doyle, author of several books, including Untamed, her new one about bravery that came out at the start of the pandemic. One of my favorite quotes from that book goes like this:
“If you are uncomfortable — in deep pain, angry, yearning, confused — you don’t have a problem, you have a life. Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”
I love it because it tells the truth. Where did so many of us get the notion that life was supposed to be easy? It causes a lot of unnecessary suffering because when difficulties arise, which inevitably will occur, we think somehow it’s our fault. We blame and shame ourselves, and feel personally singled out, rather than understanding that whatever we are going through, millions of others are too.
That’s why I love the Buddhist practice of acknowledging the truth of our common humanity when we experience something hard: Just as I’m feeling sadness now over the loss of my health, so are countless others. Just as I am confused or upset, so are other people around the
When we acknowledge the difficulties of a human incarnation, our lack of specialness, then we can accept challenges when they arise a bit more gracefully, which reduces shame, guilt and resistance, which ironically enough actually makes life easier. And makes us more likely to turn outward to connect to others rather than inward to isolation. In community with others, our sorrows are shared and our bravery multiplied. Things feel easier because we are not alone.
Written by MJ Ryan