Embracing Suffering. Embracing Life

Someone once asked who has not fallen sick before? No one raises their hands. The person asked again, “Who has not being disappointed before?” No one raises their hands.

Life happens. There will always be suffering, disappointment and frustrations. It is something that we cannot avoid or run away. Every new year my family would visit the temple to pray for a smooth and prosperity year. Obviously, our prayers are never answered. Now, I pray for a year of frustrations, uncertainty and challenges. My prayers get answered all the time. Sometimes, it is so effective that I find it choking. Be careful with what you wish for.

By embracing the suffering of life, we can appreciate happiness. When happiness comes, we will savour the moment. When suffering comes, we will work through it.

Sometimes we ask life, why me? Life response, why not you?

We hear of ghost stories chasing people. The harder the victim runs, the harder the ghost gave chase. What happens if the victim turns around and face the ghost? What happens if we stand our ground and face our sufferings? The first few moments, it may be scary. It is only by facing it, we can overcome it. It is tiring to run. It is tiring to pretend the problem is not there.

Stop running now. Face our sufferings. Only then, we can appreciate life’s happiness

When Life Brings You down

The last five days, I have:

  • Got my project budget slashed in half
  • Suffered two massive system outage hosted by two vendors for more than 48 hours.
  • A bus reversed into my truck causing damage to my vehicle.
  • School issues with my children.

Reading the list objectively the issues are nothing. When you are in the middle of a crisis from one to another. It could be the whole world’s burden. Stress and depression are caused by a compound of issues. Thus the term, the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I close my eyes and whisper to myself, it is okay. It is not all that bad. It could have been worst.

Sometimes, hard work is not enough. Positive thoughts are not enough. Resiliency is not enough. When you busy fighting on the front, other front flares up. No matter what you do, you are criticised for not doing enough when you have given all you can.

Your brand is in tatters.

You force a smile on your face because you take ownership of all your problems. No blaming! You prioritise and execute the tasks. You will stay up late. Wake up early to fix all problems. Miss a meal? It is okay, it will not kill you.

We want to read about stories with happy ending. The hero saves the day. Not everyone can save the day.

There is no happy ending in this story. I can only tell you that:

You are not alone
Everyone has their own demons to battle. I do not envy other’s life regardless of their success.

Stay away from Social Media
Stop looking at other people’s holiday pictures or latest luxury purchase. It is their money and their time. Use your time to wisely on yourself and your loved ones.

Life can sink you further
If you think you have hit rock bottom? Think again. A midnight call, telling you someone that you love has passed away. The medical report tells you that something is not right. Things will get worst. Be prepared.

Nothing is permanent
Bad times will not last forever. Good times will not last forever. In a few hundred years, we all be dead. No one cares about your problem. No one cares about your happiness. Whichever phase of life that you are in, it is not going to be permanent.

Do something
A bad feedback on your work? See what it is and do something about it. Overweight? Stay active and eat clean. You are already in hell, the only thing that you can do is to keep going.

Do nothing
A bus crashed into your car? There is nothing that you can do, except get it repaired. Many things in life are just out of your control. We all are passengers. If is out of our control, let it be.

Call someone
Everyone is battling something. Call someone and tell them that they are doing okay. Everything may seem lost, but it is okay. No one deliberately messes things up. They are all doing their best to keep their head above the water. You just might save someone’s life.

Life is never meant to be perfect. We all make mistakes. Bad things will happen to every one of us. There is no need to ask why. If you are still reading this. I urge you to hang on there. It is difficult. It is painful. Take one step at a time to do what you need to do.

Never Outsource Your Happiness

A friend was crying as she was told that she got laid off from the company which she worked for 10 years. During the conversation, I noticed that there was a lot of resentment and anger towards the upper management and HR.

I would feel the same if I got laid off from my job. Nevertheless, how we feel and how we respond is up to ourselves to decide.

Never outsource your happiness.

We grow up asking for acceptance from our elders. Asking for love and approval from our parents. Asking acknowledgement from our teachers and our boss that we are doing the good work. If we do not get the approval or acknowledgements, we feel sad and rejected. We have outsourced our happiness to others.

It is okay to open up and be vulnerable to someone that we trust and love us. There should be a limit. We can invite guests to our home, but we will not invite anyone to our home for safety reasons. The same applies to our heart.

It is time to take a stand. It is time to move on. Take back the ownership of your happiness.

Your job will not determine your happiness. Your boss will not determine your happiness. Your wealth will not determine your happiness. Your health will not determine your happiness. Your family will not determine your happiness.

You determine your happiness.

Your body may be sick, your mind can be healthy. You may be financially poor but you have a heart of gold. Bad things happen to good people all the time, that is life. You can still stand up and be the beacon to tell people that life finds a way. You have found your way.

Here are some ideas on taking back your happiness.

CHARITY

Volunteer at your local community or religious centre. Just spent a couple of hours a week. You will make new friends, learn new skills and your world changes.

CHILDHOOD

What is your favourite activity while growing up? The activities that you lose track of time? Could it be painting? Could it be playing cooking? I grow up reading comics and telling stories to myself. Now I write as a past time. Do something from your childhood.

TRIM THE SOCIAL CIRCLE

Disconnect with people who are bringing you down. There are people who provide candid feedback. There are people who just want to bring you down. All these people want is nothing but to complain how life has badly treated them. They do not want to take action. They just want to sit in front of the coffee cup and complain. They want a life of mediocrity and they are afraid of what you becoming. Cut them out.

BUILT YOUR SUPPORT GROUP

Surround yourself with people who loves you and support you. Be mindful of the “Yes Person”. Someone who loves you will tell you exactly what you need to hear. They will be there to support you regardless what happened. If you cannot find one. It is okay. You can walk the journey by yourself. You are your own support group.

GRATITUDE

Take out a pen and a piece of paper. Every day, write down things that you are grateful for. Be grateful that you have running water, electricity, a roof and food to eat. Be grateful that you are still breathing and have a fighting chance to make things better for yourself and your loved ones.

EXERCISE

Get active. Take a walk. Take a jog. Do some pushups. Get the heart pumping and the blood flowing. You feel better about yourself and you concentrate better on your task.

MEDITATE

Focus on your breathing. Feel your tummy expand as you breathe in. Feel your tummy compress against the spine as you breathe out. Let go of the past. Let go of the future. You live in the moment. You are free from the shackle of pain from the past. You are free from the anxiety of the future.

TAKE ACTION

Want to write that epic novel? Want to cook up a storm for your family? Want to start that amazing mobile application that you have been thinking the last few months? Start now. Start immediately. You have done enough research. You know enough. Start working on the project every day. Rinse and repeat until the project has complete.

The Only Thing That You Have To Do Is Do

“I want to start my side hustle.”

“I want to start writing a book.”

“I want to start a blog.”

We hear many of these dreams and self-talk. We all wanted to be better and live a better life. We all search for the silver bullet that will right all the things that went wrong in our life.

I aspire to write and help people. If I can change one person’s life. All my effort and hard work are worth it. I do not write well. I do not know what is SEO. I do not know marketing or ways to promote my site.

All I did is to write and share.

The reach your dreams. The only thing that you can do is to do it. Take the first step and keep going until the end. Along the way, you will get cut down by disappointments. Do not let others stick their finger into your face telling you that you cannot do it. There is NO one trick that will make you an overnight success.

If Dr Khaled Hosseini who is a medical doctor able to write the internationally acclaimed book — “Kite Runner” on his free time, I am sure you can do the things that you have always wanted to do.

Wake up early. Stay up late. Cut out the idle TV time or YouTube time. Switch off your phone. Sit down yourself and start working on your aspirations. All you need is one hour a day.