Sometimes Life Sucks and That’s OK

THE TIMELESS PRINCIPLE OF LONG-SUFFERING PATIENCE

This is one in a series of essays that was originally conceived as a book for print publication. If you enjoy it and would like to read more from the collection, you can find a sort of Table of Contents here.

What kind of sadistic person am I? Advocating applying a principle in your life that, by its very name, involves suffering? We automatically cringe at the sound of it, and for good reason.

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It’s not pleasant.

Not usually, anyway, although the long-term benefits can be incredibly gratifying.

My point, of course, is not to advocate suffering. On the contrary, I firmly believe that applying these Timeless Principles can lead to a much more satisfying and successful life than many of the conflicting self-help or motivational gobbledygook out there.

But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

Long-suffering refers to dealing with the negative consequences of an imperfect life in a patient and resilient way. It’s based on looking beyond what’s happening at the moment and seeing the good that will come in the long-term.

Hence, it may require suffering with difficult situations for a relatively long time. That’s long-suffering.

Like so many other Timeless Principles, long-suffering is closely related to several other principles: Love, Peace, Kindness, Goodness, Mildness, Self-Control, plus a bunch of others we haven’t gotten to yet. There are a few reasons for this:

THE REST OF THE WORLD HASN’T COME AROUND YET

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To some extent applying these principles to your life forces you to swim against the current of this world. We’ve talked about this before. Being peaceful or kind in a world that seems to reward the rude, violent and selfish puts you at a seeming disadvantage. Sometimes, you may lose the battle because you’re busy winning the war.

And that hurts. It hurts to feel like you’re constantly at odds with the majority because you’re trying to do the right thing. It hurts to even have people you love and respect handling matters differently than they should, or trying to pressure you to do so.

And there’s no telling how long it may take for you to see the tangible benefits of your course of action. It could take a long, long time.

It could never come in your lifetime.

But of course, at the very least, you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing what’s right and your conscience is clean. Never underestimate the power of that!

But in the meantime, you need to show long-suffering, realizing the rest of the world just doesn’t know better at this point. Usually, it’s not personal.

DOING WHAT’S RIGHT MAY MEAN INCONVENIENCING YOURSELF

Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

It’s not always possible to do the right thing on your own timetable, or within your own budget. Sometimes, deciding to do what’s right, what’s in line with your principles, will put you out to some extent.

And, whether it’s a minor or a major inconvenience, it’s something you need to suffer through. By applying long-suffering to the situation, you keep firmly in mind the benefit of doing what’s right. That will always outweigh your own convenience, and you’ll no doubt receive the reward in one form or another for making that choice.

In the most extreme of examples, we might think about kind-hearted Germans who hid their Jewish neighbors from harm during the Holocaust, or Rwandan Hutus who protected Tutsi friends during the mass “ethnic cleansing” that occurred there in the 1990’s. These people did what was right, even risking death to protect a fellow human being.

In the light of such incredible examples, our own inconvenience can hardly be considered “suffering”. But that’s not how it feels while we’re going through it.

NO MATTER HOW HARD WE TRY, WE’RE STILL GOING TO SCREW UP

Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

It’s not always possible to do the right thing on your own timetable, or within your own budget. Sometimes, deciding to do what’s right, what’s in line with your principles, will put you out to some extent.

And, whether it’s a minor or a major inconvenience, it’s something you need to suffer through. By applying long-suffering to the situation, you keep firmly in mind the benefit of doing what’s right. That will always outweigh your own convenience, and you’ll no doubt receive the reward in one form or another for making that choice.

In the most extreme of examples, we might think about kind-hearted Germans who hid their Jewish neighbors from harm during the Holocaust, or Rwandan Hutus who protected Tutsi friends during the mass “ethnic cleansing” that occurred there in the 1990’s. These people did what was right, even risking death to protect a fellow human being.

In the light of such incredible examples, our own inconvenience can hardly be considered “suffering”. But that’s not how it feels while we’re going through it.

NO MATTER HOW HARD WE TRY, WE’RE STILL GOING TO SCREW UP

Photo by Lee Pigott on Unsplash

By applying long-suffering to our lives, we’ll see huge disappointments fade over time. We’ll see horrible offenses pale to minor inconveniences with our improved perspective on things. And we’ll find a huge boost to our self-esteem as we realize that we’re not such terrible people after all.

What could be better than that?

WORDS TO REMEMBER:“Life is all about timing…the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable…attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.” — Stacey Charter

This is one in a series of essays that was originally conceived as a book for print publication. If you enjoy it and would like to read more from the collection, you can find a sort of Table of Contents here.

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