Why do we go looking for pain?

Food for thought from one of my favourite humans, “Why does figuring and coming up with what’s wrong in our lives or even creating situations that make our lives seem bad come more easily to humans?”

I don’t know. It just does.

Lately, I have become more cynical about everything and everyone around me. My recent posts have even urged people to worry for my well-being. There’s the occasional “I think you are depressed”, or the “don’t do anything stupid”, or “why do you need a counsellor, things can’t be that bad”, or “calm and be positive” and so on.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s to do with being human and our unsaid attachment and love for pain. We’ve got a million things to be grateful for. I know I do. Yet, beneath that surface, there is always that one thing that upsets you. And as much as we crave for happiness, pain stings and stays a lot longer with us (with me). One thing I’ve realised is that most of this pain stems from a comparison. With oneself, with others. It inevitably sets this foundation to set ourselves up for disappointment no matter the good.

Coming back to the question. Are we really unhappy or is grief the new rage? Does our generation succumb to peer pressure when it comes to feeling sad?

Yes, it is in everyone’s faces at all times. Insta stories are canvases for our woes and Facebook an excuse to vent. Snap filters a reflection of our emotions every now and then and captions a gateway to the daily dilemmas. As you read this, you’re aiding my path to sadness. Or maybe, this has to do with the content we read or the conversations we have. We tell ourselves to be grateful for life as we know it to shelve other emotions. Are we being grateful because we truly are or is it because we want to avoid feeling like shit instead?

What do I know?

I bought a gratitude journal a few months ago and I haven’t written a word in it. Not because I don’t have things to be grateful for. I do. The list doesn’t end as they flash before me right now (including “urgent” texts from my mother at this very moment and through the day; hi Ma). It’s because it comes more naturally to me when I wake up every morning or when I’m about to call it a day. Growing up in a Catholic family, we prayed before getting out of bed and before tucking ourselves to sleep. Short prayers thanking God for everything that happened and was meant to happen. The concept of prayer was a conversation in our home (it still is), and again I have my parents to be grateful for the liberty of practising my faith in a way that has only strengthened it over the years. That book is blank because my gratitude journal is my daily conversations with God every morning and night. Shorts prayers of gratefulness and affirmation.

It is better to be happy than to be sad. No doubt there. Be happy for those around you and be happy for yourself. And I am. But writing about things that bother me also makes me happy in a strange and twisted way. My mum recently pointed out that I should write about happier things. She seems to think I’m using my words (and talent) in a dark place and I know she means well. I seem to think that my words resonate with others in my place. This isn’t talent or love for literature, it’s pure honesty.

For over seven years now, my blog has been the bonfire I burn my secrets, confessions, struggles and joys in. During one of my confessions in church, the priest suggested I write things that still hurt me and burn it in flames. This blog and you are those flames.

“Why does figuring and coming up with what’s wrong in our lives or even creating situations that make our lives seem bad come more easily to humans?”

I don’t think it is about making our lives seem bad. I think it about voicing out what upsets us because, whether we like it or not, pain is more powerful than joy. Pain can be motivational. Occasionally, it can be aspirational. Pain is what draws us together. I think it is about seeking out voices of assurance that we are not alone and that life’s obstacles, no matter how big or small are common to all. I think it is because it is easier to complain about the rocky road ahead than it is to accept the bed of flowers. Maybe grief is the new-age fad, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s an escape or maybe it’s comforting. Maybe it’s easier to feel insecure than it is to feel confident. Maybe it’s is easy to be a victim than to wear a cape.

What do I know?

I also don’t think my opinion should have a bearing over anyone else’s. I think it is great to be grateful and happy or to share our lives in all its greatness with the world. I also think it’s okay to cry over the smallest fears. Some days we are wrong, some days we’re right. Either way, most days, we’re getting through because we have each other. We always will.

You and me, and my soulful (WhatsApp) groups. You know who you are.

Originally posted on Sun, Moon & Potatoes.