When Bad Things are Really Good Things
As Josh and I were driving home last night after a very full weekend, we ended up talking about owning guns. Josh was pondering whether he would like to look into licenses etc. to purchase one for hunting or target shooting. For him, this was just a regular thought, but my brain went “alert!! alert!!” and I felt very uncomfortable talking about it. As we talked more and more, I had a shift in perspective when I realized that the reason I had such an opposite feeling to his when it came to this topic was just the houses we grew up in and what was normal in our different families and communities.
So we arrived home and we were at this point talking about other things, and this thought just popped into my head, “Being in a committed relationship sure makes me look at myself and my thoughts and beliefs on a lot of topics that I wouldn’t have thought too much of if I was living life on my own.” And that got me thinking about how hard that is. How hard relationships are. Including close friendships and family relationships. Going through life without having to deal with compromises, vulnerability, and tough conversations would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?
But would it really? I then thought of all the good things that relationships bring me. The comfort, safety, support, community, laughter, and ultimately, just so many moments of joy, that even though there are so many hard parts of having close relationships, I wouldn’t want to giveaway the happiness that comes from them.
Another thing that is hard? Caring. Caring about the earth. Caring about your future. Caring about your job. Caring about your health. Caring is SO DANG DIFFICULT! Because as soon as you care, you have to do something about it. And doing something about your health or your future or the earth can be painful, tiring, or uncomfortable (and sometimes all three). If we just didn’t care about our health and ate the cheapest, best tasting food and didn’t worry about moving around all that much, and didn’t care when we started feeling crummy, we would be in a lazy, ignorant bliss! But caring means we have to go on that run, eat the spinach, ditch the Big Mac, and face our health head on. And that can be HARD.
But caring also brings us happiness even while it can bring us pain. Crossing the finish line on that 10km race is a powerful feeling. Living to go on hikes with our grandchildren is a powerful motivator. Working towards a difficult goal gives us purpose, and having purpose brings us happiness. Even if it includes sacrifice and tough times and struggle, caring is the better option. Caring is the hardest but best thing you can ever do.
Now let me just clarify. Not all bad things are really good things. When a small child gets sick. That’s not a good thing. When someone undergoes pain for no reason. That’s not a good thing. There are some things in life that are just bad. Just want to make sure that is clear.
But some bad things are not actually bad things, they are just hard things. Like relationships and sacrifices and giving a sh** about anything. And I really believe that we can all do these hard things, especially when those hard things create so much goodness and happiness in our lives and the world.
This post is really just to remind us to shift our perspective to notice when things are hard and to remember that the good that comes from hard things. So care. Give a sh** about something. Have tough conversations. Challenge yourself to do something really difficult. Go for that run. Write that book. Eat those greens. Notice your environmental footprint. Do something that terrifies you. Love those around you.
Good luck. I know you can do it. Shift your perspective. I know it’ll be worth it.