Saturday, March 31, 2012


I've been feeling discouraged this week. I've been thinking about people who are active in my community, and feeling bad that I don't do more. In particular, I was thinking of a woman who does gardening with kids in the neighborhood where a teenager was recently shot and killed. I should be there. I should be helping kids. I should be in the communities most affected by poverty and violence. I should be supporting gardening.

Instead, where am I? I go to a stupid job that just helps people who are going to get rich anyhow, some of whom will devote their lives to helping the military, or to some other way of making our lives less humane. I go to work, I come home, have dinner, meditate, exercise, and go to bed. Actually, I don't even have time to do all that. Sometimes, I skip the exercise. If I do exercise, I go to bed too late and am sleep deprived the next day.

I shared my sense of discouragement with the two people I talk with most often.

One agrees with me: yes, my life is indeed worthless. This is someone who has always put me down for not doing enough to change the world (though he does even less).

The other tries to provide a rational explanation of why I should not be discouarged, that I'm living a satisfactory life and should not strive for more. That too is wrong, because it tramples on my dreams.

It is not uncommon for people to be discouraged or sick. What baffles me is that after all these millenia of being human, the majority of people are still clueless when it comes to knowing how to be supportive of their fellow humans.

What people do, is they try to make stuff go away. They try to either make bad the circumstance go away by rattling off a solution, as if it the circumstance could be quickly solved. Or they try to make the person's feelings about the circumstance go away, by saying cheer up, it's not so bad.

If you know someone who is sick or discouraged, don't tell them they would feel better if they did X, Y, and Z. Don't tell them it's not so bad. Instead, just do two things: see the difficulty of the situation, and see that the person facing it is beautiful, wise, funny, and smart.

I am here. Don't tell my unhappiness to go away. This is me. I am not wrong for being dissatisfied. I am not wrong for being unable to make things better with a wave of my hand. I am not wrong for not living the life you have prescribed for me. My life is not what I dreamed it would be, but I will prevail. I will live my life to the best of my ability.

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