Learning to Endure Conflict, Tension & Emptiness
By: David Lechnyr, LCSW
One of the most important things that human beings can learn to do in life is to endure the hard times. This is not always easy because we are always hoping that things will be comfortable, easy or enjoyable. Other times, we just want to have something to keep us busy. The reality of life is that these things do not always happen. As a result, it is important to think about a few issues as part of learning how to survive.
We are all comfort seekers in life. We enter life as babies and hope that we can become comfortable in life. Good parents, though, do not always provide the comfort that their infants want. Good parents become the good enough parents who do not always rush to protect their infants when there is discomfort. In fact, good enough parents allow their children to struggle and find ways of handling things, learning that the world is not ending.
Though we keep hoping for comfort and the perfect life and place, there is a maturity that comes with understanding that this is not the reality of life. Many times conflict and discomfort scares us for many different reasons. Sometimes it relates to past childhood experiences and other issues. We have to learn to get over our fears and allow ourselves, and others, to experience and feel discomfort and difficult times.
The Dual Nature of Life
Life is full of a dual nature of good and bad, evil and good, happiness and sadness, and good days and bad. We also understand that others have their good and bad days which are many times inflicted upon us. We have to learn to get through these difficult times with other and ourselves.
We cannot run from life. We have to face life with all it’s difficulties and pains. Facing life is what gives us a tough skin of endurance in the face of suffering and uncertainty. However, we come to appreciate the fact that we can never fully understand comfort or happiness without discomfort and unhappiness. We only grow through struggles and learning to endure the changing nature of life, our bodies, our moods, and our daily jobs.
Nothing is perfect. We have to stop running to find the perfect and most comfortable place because this is not the reality of life.
The Reality of Daily Life
The reality of life is that other people’s stuff will be inflicted on us. We have to learn to not take every thing so personally. We have to learn to endure the difficult times in order to enjoy the good times. We have to know that it is okay to have anxiety because this is part of normal life and living. When we feel overwhelmed, it is usually a time that we are learning the most about life and ourselves. We have to allow ourselves to experience the joys of suffering.
Life is difficult. Jobs and people are difficult. We have to not take everything so personally and react to it with such upset, anxiety and sadness. We just have to learn to get through it and to understand that this too shall change. When facing suffering we are learning more about ourselves and life. If we focus on the negatives we will get more depressed and anxious. If we see it as an opportunity for growth and learning than we will ultimately come out healthier and more mature and happier.
Becoming Successful In Life
Becoming successful in life means that one has learned to no longer fear problems or failure. Taking risks, trying again, getting back up on the horse, and never giving up is the mark of real maturity. Struggles provide a thick skin that helps you learn to endure and get through it all and not take it so personally.
Success is always staying one step ahead of failure. This takes work, looking at the broader picture, and focusing on the positives. Failures, difficult times, and stress are only learning experiences. Those who get trapped at these times are the ones who become upset when facing problems. Successful people let go of problems quickly and don’t spend their time seeking comfort from others. They use problems and failures as learning experiences that helps them to learn what they have to do next. Successful people also look to the big picture of life and how it relates to developing their full personality. These people think and feel that if they are to develop their full potential, they have to learn to face life with all it’s problems, setback, and difficulties.
The reality is that most of the successful people in life have failed many times before. The difference is that they don’t give up. They learn to become comfortable with uncertainty, stress, problems, and risk. They are always looking for different ways of attacking the problem. Those who fail are always looking for ways to play it safe and not upset others or themselves. They seek comfort and the easy way out only to cause themselves more problems in the end.
These are the people who make quick decisions to feel better at the moment because they have never learned to have a future focus. Their quick decisions ultimately end up causing them more problems in the end. Quick decisions usually end up with the person having many fewer options later on and then wondering why this has happened to them. Many times this means that we end up deceiving ourselves over and over again.
Learning to tolerate the tough times knowing that one will get through them is critical to a healthy life. Take time to look at past upsets. See that you have gotten through them. Understand that your past quick reacting only made things more difficult for all concerned. Remember that you did survive and you will again if you learn to let go of trying to control everything so that you can be comfortable and have what you want right now.
Remember, have a focus on the future. Without plans to change your approach to life, you will find yourself lost without focus.