We live in an age of denial.
Entertainment, distractions, products, to take away the pain from us, and to make us feel good.
Or to take away our ability to feel.
We would rather be numb.
To ourselves, and our feelings.
But the pain never goes away that way. The first step is to acknowledge what’s painful, and how much it sucks right now.
What’s painful for you right now?
In the country where I’m in, paying taxes feels like pulling teeth in the dark.
You hope you’re doing the right thing, but if you get it wrong, you’re going to be docked with so much pain and penalties. Everyone is in the dark, and even people who’ve been doing it for years, are still in the dark, and have no credible clue.
Because when you ask ten different people, you’ll get ten different answers.
The government tax bureau doesn’t properly educate people how to pay their taxes, and then they wonder why people aren’t paying?
Nobody wants to take a college degree just to be able to do their civic duty.
But because of the lack of information, misinformation, and information withheld from the public, there is so much pain in trying to do the right thing.
Especially when the process is not clear.
Most especially when everyone else is looking the other way, and resorting to underhanded means.
When things are clear, there is no chance for misinformation, or corruption.
Otherwise, everyone is subjected to confusion, and pain.
It’s painful when you don’t know what to do, when the information to know isn’t readily available, and when you want to do the right thing, get it out of your way, and get on with you passions and your damn life.
Actually, I want to change your experience. It’s been so painful for me, that I want to do something to help myself, and other people as well.
If you’re a freelancer or a solo professional in the Philippines, and you want a hassle-free, online, and convenient tax-filing, and tax education resource, email me at email@example.com with your answer to the question: “what’s so painful about paying your taxes?”
And if you’re a freelancing millennial, then I doubly implore you to email me your answer to the question. It’s bad enough that we’re getting blamed for all the changes happening in the world, but going for your dreams and passions, and then having to worry about taxes on top of all of that? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s find a solution to that problem.
Facing your own fears
It’s easy to give advice to other people, but we rarely follow the advice we give ourselves.
Such as to face our fears. And all the other versions of this:
Do something that scares you, everyday.
Face your fears head-on, bravely.
Feel the fear, and do it anyway.
All of those statements, in my experience, are true. What they don’t talk about, is the pain that comes with facing our fears.
People find ways to face their fears, but they forget to address, to prepare for, the pain that might come with their actions.
Pain that comes from leaving the safety of their comfort zone, dealing with the unknown, the consequences of their decisions, and whatever could be the product of facing their fears.
Pain that comes from a change that’s happening within and without.
What makes facing our fears especially painful, is when we don’t believe that it can do us any good, and so we don’t fully commit to facing our fears, and following through.
So then we stay in our current situation, with little to no positive change and progress happening, all the while still yearning for a better life, and better situation.
And that’s painful.
Saying no is painful. Do you like being said “no” to?
I didn’t think so.
But being said “no” to, can be one of the best things that ever happens to you.
It can save you from being stuck in a lousy job, or an unhealthy relationship.
Saying no can get us away from people who don’t want to be around us, and would only make our lives less enjoyable, or supportive.
If that were the case, then wouldn’t it be great to say “No.” to other people?
Because you’re saving them from your half-baked yes, and your grudging effort, doing tasks while muttering profanities under your breath.
Because you’re saving them from wasting their time with you, and with you wasting your time with them. People then get to spend their times more enjoyably, and wisely!
Because you’re finally saying what you really feel and mean, directly, without beating around the bush. Instead of saying yes, but flaking out.
Don’t set false expectations.
I’ve read from James Altucher that the way he decides, is if it’s not a “HELL YES!”, then it’s a “no”.
It’s painful to not be able to say no. To be caught in between expressing what you really feel, and the feeling of responsibility for other’s happiness and approval.
The feeling of guilt. That’s painful.
Frustration and disappointment
What’s painful is not having your expectations met. That’s where frustration and disappointment come into the picture and cause pain for us.
Because we so want to achieve what we expect, and this includes what we expect from other people.
We pin our hopes on people, on the outcomes, on ourselves.
And consider that attempt to come out perfect, every time.
The reason frustration and disappointment happens, and why they cause us so much pain, is not because we have high expectations. We really should have high standards that correspond to the level of life that we want for ourselves.
So when we fail, do we treat is as an event? Or as a label, a judgment about us?
How we treat failure and our perfectionism, determines how much pain we receive and experience from this.
And a lot of us, don’t know how to handle it, and are presently in a lot of pain. We believe we are where we are because of our abilities.
Not completely true.
If there’s something you haven’t achieved yet, it means there’s something you don’t know.
It’s not the end of the world. But with frustration, disappointment, and perfectionism, it can feel like it.
For anyone who has made real sacrifices, there is real cost, real pain and suffering involved.
Is it worth it? Is it worth all the pain?
That’s for you to decide. That’s for you so say. And I sincerely want it to be so.
Not only for your sake, but for all our sakes.
Because the value and act of sacrifice is so highly regarded in our society nowadays. Kids are taught that sacrifice is needed to attain success.
That’s one way of looking at it.
Another way is to cultivate discipline. To make better, supportive, fulfilling choices. To focus on the goal and why it’s important.
To find a way to make “and” real, and not just focusing on “or”, where you give up something to get something.
Sacrifice is a heavy way of looking at things, where you’re giving up energy, being drained, for something to arrive in the future, possibly with no guarantee.
As compared to looking at is as a part of the process, as investing in the result, and as having discipline to follow through, faith to keep on going, and focus to stay the course.
How you see a situation, is what becomes of it.
So if you see things as a sacrifice, then you don’t really want to do it.
You might want the result, but it feels like you’re giving up your soul for the process.
It’s a heavy mindset. A tiring slog through emotions of regret, irritation, and resentment.
That’s sacrifice’s closest cousin – the resentment that comes along when you sacrifice.
Especially when things don’t go your way, and you don’t get what you want.
When you view things as a sacrifice, you’re already losing.
Because everyone’s first experiences of joy and pain come from family.
And our initial set of beliefs, rules, and habits, also come from family.
Every family has pain, some more so than others.
Families who have not learned to communicate clearly, who have not learned to express their feelings constructively, and who have not learned to be forgiving and loving, to themselves, and to others.
Especially because you can’t easily cut your family from your life. And the love we seek the most, is the love that comes form our family, especially that person who has hurt us the most, over time.
That’s why families are a great source of pain for a lot of us. We can look at our other relationships in an objective manner more easily, but family is a different story, especially with all the years of conditioning, treatment, beliefs, and experiences brought into simple conversations.
Simple conversations that have the capacity to turn into all-out war.
And how we experience pain in our family, how we cope, and get over pain, is how we will do it for the rest of our lives, if were not aware, and don’t take steps to learn better.
I blame my family for a lot of the pain I’ve experienced in my life.
I also blame my family for all the good qualities in me, and in inspiring me not to make the same mistakes they have.
I don’t believe those statements 100%. Yet.
And that’s painful too.
Learn how to deal with pain
Because how you deal with pain, and all its related cousins, will be how you learn to succeed in the face of daunting opposition.
It will be how you learn to succeed when things are not going right, or when everything is going right, but there’s a nagging feeling of emptiness and loss.
Yet, it’s pain that allows us to connect with others, and to share in their lives and experiences.
It’s the most common human experience. More than love.
Learn how to deal with pain.
In your own way.
On your own terms.
And that all starts, with recognizing, “What’s painful for you?” right now.
What is painful for you right now? Please share in the comments and let me know!