Life seems to happen in waves, giving us a little time in between before the next one rolls in. We know they are going to come regardless of how we live as individuals, but how we deal with life's waves is a different matter. We often don’t treat tough times as opportunities, when in reality, tough times are the only reason that life is worth living. Life without growth and spiritual progress is meaningless, and growth is impossible without at least some degree of suffering.
We may not like the tough times we go through, but life is not always about receiving what we want. Sometimes it’s more about receiving what we need at a certain time in our life, and sometimes its about learning something about ourselves and the world around us. If you are experiencing suffering, anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, or pain, there are some things you really should know.
1) Your Not The Only One Who Suffers
Nobody in the history of planet earth has lived a life free of suffering, pain, depression, anger, of anxiety. Everybody is experiences these things on a daily basis.
Even the people you look up to in your life the most are fighting their own battles. Just because the people around you are smiling and talking does not mean they aren’t suffering deep down. It’s important to remember that suffering is a natural part of the human experience. There is nothing wrong with you, and you are not “messed up” just because you are sad or confused often. Everyone you have ever met in your life has, at some point, experienced the same kind of emotion you are dealing with right now. You are not alone in your struggles.
2) Imperfection Is Perfection
Nobody is perfect. Nobody has perfect control over their mind or their emotions. Everyone you see has something they need to work on, especially those that think they don’t need to work on anything. We sometimes hold ourselves to unrealistically high standards of perfection, instead of learning to accept our flaws and forgive ourselves when we come up short.
Accepting your imperfections does not mean being compliant with them, and it doesn’t mean you are passively OK with them. It means that you recognize, with acceptance and non-judgment, that you have areas you could use improvement in. Working on bettering yourself from a place of acceptance as opposed to a place of self-hate will also be more fruitful.
3) Nothing Last Forever
Darkness comes for a season to expose to us what we need to work on, and then it leaves once it has served it’s purpose. Eckhart Tolle once said that “suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary”, which means that tough times only hang around until you raise your consciousness above them by extracting lessons and wisdom from them. This is just a temporary time in your life. You may be thinking I can’t do this for the rest of my life, or Life is not supposed to be like this. Both of these thoughts cause even more suffering and pain and are completely irrelevant and useless when you realize that everything in life is impermanent, even the suffering you are experiencing right now.
4) Love Is Surrounding You
You are loved. God loves you. Regardless whether you believe in God or not, because the truth is, space, time, matter, life, and consciousness did not pop into existence by itself. The Creator is present in all things in creation, and as Love itself, God has infinite love for you. Another way to look at this is that the Universe supports you. Saying the word “God” encourages us to have a personal relationship with the Intelligence both within and beyond the universe. You are never alone, and you are loved more than you could imagine. Every person who has had a near death experience has reported encounter God and said that they were overwhelmed with the feeling of love and bliss. The makeup of the universe is love itself. Sometimes when things get tough, the best thing to do is to look up and remember that something bigger than you is guiding and supporting your life. So have faith.
5) Growth Is Never Ending
The wisdom that comes after every wave is what really matters. How much stronger, compassionate, sympathetic, and loving will you be after you make it through this? This is the real purpose of life. Life is about growth and personal evolution and is not always about happiness. Suffering is the ultimate spark for evolution, and the ironic thing is at the end of your life when all that you take with you is your wisdom and your experience, you may actually wish you would have suffered more. You are a soul experiencing physical reality for just a brief moment in your eternal history. Treat your tough times as blessings in disguise, not as curses.
At the end of it all, the only thing that really matters is character. You may feel bad for yourself because you feel you suffer too much, but when you realize that suffering is a natural part of maturing and growing, you may actually start to feel bad for others who suffer too little. And the next time a wave comes, you will ride it knowing that everything will work out. As it always does.