We hurt one another, it’s what we do. The stark fact of your life is that the overwhelming majority of your issues, your pain, and suffering are caused by someone else in your life. Whether someone fell short of your expectations, or doesn’t fully appreciate you or disrespects you, the majority of your pain is a result of your daily human interactions.
The pain and suffering you feel as a result of your relationships are a normal consequence of a flawed world trying to resolve an imbalance that will never be accomplished until Jesus ultimately returns and heals our world.
The truth is people are hurtful. Why do we murder one another? Why do we assault one another? Why do we steal from one another? Why do we ever intentionally cause pain? The frustrating part of life is that there are a lot of unanswered questions that I’m confident can never truly be answered until the end of days, but until then, we must live with one another and carve out a life that has purpose, but how?
Sometimes finding an answer to a hard question is not the right path, instead it’s healthier to acknowledge certain truths and then adjust according to those truths. For me, I sometimes struggle with certain truths about humanity, because I like to assume the best in people, but in order for me to lead a long, healthy and productive life, I too must acknowledge these fundamental truths:
1. People don’t care about your problems Outside of your parents and probably your spouse, most don’t care about your personal issues. Why? Because folks are busy dealing with their own issues. I remember feeling sorry for myself when I had newborn twins until I ran into a young mother that struggled with new born triplets. No matter the issue, there’s always someone dealing with something greater. Suffering is relative. If it’s your suffering, it’s unbearable, but everyone is suffering at varying degrees, and to them it’s huge and your suffering is less important. That’s just life.
2. Some people don’t like you. I’m an extreme extrovert. I love being around people. The more relationships in my life, the better. I enjoy getting to know people and I love to relate with others, but with the greater number of relationships comes the greater chance that people won’t buy into me. I experience people that just dislike me, for whatever reason, and even though it can be hard, it’s just an element of life that I must accept and so must you.
3. People are selfish by nature. I’m selfish. I’m constantly referencing my own feelings first, when interacting with others. How does this interaction make ME feel? What will I get out of this relationship? These are common questions that we all ask when relating with one another, and that’s normal. The point is not to be offended when someone puts their own interest ahead of yours. You do it as well in many situations. It would be nice if we were altruistic and we do have unselfish moments, but many times were just plain selfish, and accepting that fact, makes dealing with others’ selfish nature much easier in the long run.
4. People are in constant survival mode. Our natural instinct is to survive. We will do just about anything to extend our lives. This plays out in our everyday lives. When we feel threatened our unsafe, we react. This comes in many forms. We lash out, we attack, we flee, we avoid others, and we do whatever it takes to find our “safe zone”. When you experience conflict with another person and they insult you with their behavior, just remember they’re trying to survive and protect themselves. Most of the time it has very little to do with you.
5. We need one another to survive. Despite our flaws, we need each other to survive. I will take a flawed relationship over solitude any day. I love people, in spite of their flaws, because I too am flawed and there is value in shared camaraderie. Why do we continue to gather with family members that frustrate and challenge us over the holidays? Because there is value in shared experiences. There is value in relationships and the interactions that help us grow and thrive in this world. We were meant to relate with one another and we must continue to do so to survive and realize success.
This message is not meant to be a downer on humanity, its purpose is to encourage you to acknowledge that people are people and are a wonderful source of joy and happiness for you, but also a source of pain and frustration as well. We must accept certain principles of humanity so we may avoid the pain of being in constant turmoil over why people do what they do.
When we begin to accept others at face value, and love them for who they are and embrace the relationships we form, then life will be easier to navigate and experience. Remember, it’s others that will ultimately comfort you when you take your last breath and ascend to whatever beholds you on the other side. Never lose your zest for relationships and hold on to those critical relationships during times of frustration. Accept those for who they are and love them in spite of themselves and your life will be more fulfilling and satisfying in the end.