….after slaying the dragon and rescuing the princess, the prince returned to his kingdom, married the princess and lived happily ever after.
From the fairy tales that we tell our children to the commercials that seek our attention, everything proclaims of eternal happiness. We who boast ourselves as grown-ups, and believe to have grown out of fairy tales, have this notion etched into our mind that life will get comfortable at some point.
The society has forced us to unquestioningly believe many unrealistic things in our life. Is ‘happily ever after’ such a baseless myth?
A path of hurdles
Imagine your first grader. Reading and writing are not an easy job for her and she hates doing it. But you know better and compel her all the same. Once it gets easy for her to write an alphabet, you give another one.
As a parent or a teacher, you know raising the bar little by little is the only way to make your child grow. If we stop pushing her, she becomes stagnant.
Though we accept this as a truth for our child, we are reluctant to admit it in our own life. We always earn for comfort neglecting the fact that to get comfortable is to stop growing.
A Constant Challenge
One of the factors that makes life difficult is that it presents new challenges every day. We have to constantly stand up to them. Once we overcome a problem and try to relax a bit we will find another waiting in the queue.
These constant challenges help us to grow. They are imperative for our balanced development and mental stability. If there are no challenges, there is no life.
Take the game of Tennis for instance. The net which separates the two contestants is a problem even for skilled players. It poses an equal threat to both sides. Then why don’t we avoid the net and make it easy for everyone?
What an idiotic proposition, isn’t it? Because we know that there is no game without a net. The difficulty posed by the net is what makes the game a game. There is no contest without it.
And so it is with life. Our everyday challenges act as the net which makes life worth living.
Getting too Comfortable
Most of us try to cling on to the known. We find it easier to stick on to a familiar atmosphere and make the mistake of getting too comfortable. But then there come unanticipated changes which make life miserable.
“The only thing that never changes is that everything changes.”
Like the character Hem in the famous motivational fable Who Moved my Cheese, we consider consistency as our right. But Dr. Spencer Johnson, the author of the story, proves that change is inevitable and taking anything for granted is idiotic.
What we need is to be less attached to the things we have in our life. Aloofness to the comforts can prepare us to accept changes and challenges open-heartedly.
Aim to Grow
The problem with us is that our ultimate aim is to be comfortable. We try to get a good job, earn a lot of money and commit to relationships in the hope that all of this will lead us to a secure life. But a cozy and congenial life is just a mirage and those who go after it gets stranded in the desert of dissatisfaction.
“The nature of life is to grow.”
What we need to do is to change our goals. If we aim to grow, we will never be unhappy. We will welcome the obstacles that life sets for us because it makes us grow more. Such a sporty attitude makes living enjoyable.
As growth is not a destination but a never-ending journey, we will always feel fulfilled. We can constantly live in our aim and enjoy each accomplishment.
Don’t Get Emotional
We tend to overthink the problems in our life and make it worse than it really is. But lamenting over a problem does not make it go away.
We have to learn to take everything as it is. Keeping our judging mind out of the equation make it so much easier to solve. When we carry the weight of our emotions, the hurdles in life cannot be jumped over easily.
The Problem of Denial
If we imagine life as a comfortable journey, the relentless struggle for existence will nag us. The unrealistic view of life is both unhealthy and destructive.
Most of us live in denial of the problems around us. But the sad fact is that neglecting a problem simply makes it worse and more difficult to solve.
But once we accept that the ebb and flow of challenges never stops, we can equip ourselves to meet with them. Such readiness takes away the pain of unexpected blows.
There are no happily ever afters
Life is a struggle until the moment we die. Teaching our children otherwise is an unforgivable injustice. It creates lasting impressions in them and the unrealistic outlook can cause great misery.
What we should impart in ourselves and the next generation is the joy of growth attained through standing up to challenges and circumventing obstacles.
If so, isn’t it better to rewrite the fairy tale thus:
….after slaying the dragon and rescuing the princess, the prince returned to his kingdom, married the princess and looked forward to the happiness of facing life’s challenges together.
Thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you. Please post your comments below.