A lot of Western culture seems to be about avoiding as much pain as humanly possible. Except… as human beings, pain is kinda part of our anatomy and sometimes our thoughts. We have this ‘pursuit of happiness’ ideal, and the only thing it seems to have taught me all my life is that feeling pain is bad. Other cultures around the world beg to differ.
The other day, I read an article about Bhutan and their supposed secret to happiness. Part of the Bhutanese culture is to think about death on a daily basis. Sounds kind of crazy for a people that are supposed to be among the most content on the planet? Yes. Does it work? Apparently so. They are so unafraid of death, perhaps the greatest fear among humankind, that living their day to day lives is much less of a burden.
Happiness isn’t feeling blissful 24/7. And pain is not the end of happiness; it might be an extension of it. John Green once said: “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” This might sound discouraging. Maybe it’ll throw you into a funk. The funny thing about pain is that it is simply a feeling. It doesn’t have to mean anything. It doesn’t have to stop us in our tracks. We can accept the pain, hardship, and difficulties of life, and while we might feel the pain, at least we can learn to live with it.