You feel stuck in your life and you don’t know what’s next. That empty feeling causes you to daydream in the shower and walk to the office without remembering how you arrived there.
You lost your job or your career feels like it’s going downhill faster than the Jamaican Bobsled Team in the classic movie Cool Runnings. Meanwhile, your colleagues from the last company are killing it and posting photos of all the places they get to visit with their golden ticket: the corporate card.
You are having a rough time because you just broke up with your romantic partner and you still don’t know why. You’re sure it’s their fault, but a small voice in your head says it might be yours.
We’re all waking up each day and dealing with difficult situations. To be human is to endure these difficulties on a daily basis and somehow find joyful moments in-between.
Every day I log in to my LinkedIn account and am overwhelmed by messages from people who are feeling so much pain. Many are unhappy in their jobs and some feel like they are living without any purpose.
The challenges of the current economic cycle scare many and some secretly feel in the back of their heads that they are about to endure a world of pain. My response to these messages is always the same: things will always get better.
I don’t know how or even why. All I know is that somehow, it always does.
On the day I walked away from a family business, my life felt like a mess. Imagining how I would ever recover seemed impossible. At one stage, my thoughts became so dark that I thought I would live out my existence living for free with a distant relative and never working again.
You know what? That phase passed. Everything was okay. A bank welcomed me with open arms and I realized there was a whole other world waiting for me on the other side of pain.
In the midst of mental illness, imagining a day free from dark thoughts and being able to sit quietly in a meeting room with other people and not wanting to run away due to my anxious thoughts, seemed impossible. Mental illness had been my existence for so long and any other way of living seemed impossible.
Thankfully the gift of frustration forced my lazy ass to get help. It happened in a moment and from that point on, I took back control and decided enough was enough.
When I lost my job earlier this year and didn’t get another one right away, it felt as though things were completely broken. It’s funny how the label of unemployment can make you stop believing in yourself when the truth is you’ve had the skill and confidence all along, hiding inside of you.
After all of these experiences, things got better. Suffering doesn’t last forever and it is hardwired into our existence.
How do we overcome the suffering?
We accept it and we believe that things will get better without necessarily needing to know how or why. We don’t obsess over the cure; we just know that there will be a cure.
Nothing stays broken forever and we can come back.
The part to remember is that when we do come back, we will be slightly different than before. With each bit of suffering, we discover another piece of wisdom that helps us through the next phase of our life.
We can be told solutions to suffering and then we can live them. The latter form is the best type of learning because it’s the only way we will listen with our hearts and minds wide open.
Whatever you are experiencing right now, someone else in the world is feeling the same thing. If you are experiencing a romantic catastrophe, someone else is experiencing a job loss. If you feel stuck, someone else is feeling overwhelmed.
We are all experiencing suffering; it just depends on what flavor of suffering we are currently living through today.
If you can see suffering as a natural part of your life, it will serve you and not destroy you. Suffering is guaranteed, so you might as well get used to it and learn from it.
Things will get better — until the next phase of suffering appears.
Keep trying and don’t give up. We all suffer and you will be okay.