For some of us this simply means having three meals a day, our medication, an income (social security included) and a permanent roof over our head. For others that means a more than comfortable income, a full-time job, a family, and spare time to travel. Some of us haven’t asked ourselves about stability because it feels elusive.
This happens. Stability isn’t born out of stability, it’s born out of troubles and pain and the murky mist of a labyrinth; we are lost before we are found. Understanding that this pain exists because it must, because even pain needs space to breathe, is the first step to accepting the present.
It’s true some people are perpetually lost. There are those of us without shelter, without family, wandering the streets at the mercy of our madness. With poor resources and a poor outlook on mental health recovery, not enough people receive the services they deserve. Chances are, because you’re reading this now, you aren’t that person.
This does not mean compare your life. This does not mean you should feel guilty for having food, shelter, and family while still being in tremendous agony–it’s illogical to compare pains. We all struggle, we all suffer, and that’s that. What it means is that you are not perpetually lost. It means you have a greater chance at recovery. That’s a fact.
Because you have a greater chance at recovery, you also have a chance to help those without your advantage. You can give back. You can have purpose and be fulfilled while fulfilling.
In this we see that being lost is not a time to mourn. It is not a sign of predestined suffering or eternal pain. Being lost is an experience to be grateful for. It’s an experience that teaches us to teach others.
Such a change of perspective isn’t a simple jump from “negative” to “positive”, but a deeper understanding of the beauty of pain and the expectations of happiness.
We often have a vain idea of what happiness means. This can turn into us holding ourselves to unrealistic standards, and when that standard isn’t met, we crumble, our self-worth tied up in our expectations.
We can also have a clear but misguided understanding of pain: we disregard it, try to ignore it, hate it, cry over it, damn it to hell. Therefore we glaze over areas of pain that help us grow, that show us what we really want for ourselves. When we break out of the darkness and into the light, we get wary of the brightness in anticipation of pain, completely discounting the contribution pain had made–if it were not for that darkness, we may not have had the opportunity to experience the light.
Rather than try and predict our pain, rather than set unrealistic expectations of happiness, a balanced absorbance of both experiences, no matter how rough or how euphoric, can present a new way of living, one in which we experience the rawness of ourselves.
And so my question for you all is where will life take you? Where will pain take you? Where will happiness take you? What journeys can you start and end?
Dramatic change can yield dramatic results.
Stability for me is a comfortable income, a travel plan, proper meals, exercise, and a compassion toward my inner demons, without which I would be heavily medicated, deeply depressed, and unrealistically expecting a miracle.
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