It’s not “entitlement” to want to feel and function better.
It’s not “immature” to want to suffer less.
Suffering doesn’t build character, no matter what the cultural trope says— and we don’t lack character because we want an easier life.
The world is going to give us all kinds of messages around our desire to feel and function better.
We live in a culture that really glorifies suffering.
Many people lionize suffering because they associate it with hard work, which in turn they associate with virtue.
Yes, it’s true that hard work often involves discomfort.
But it is NOT true that the tolerance of discomfort itself indicates that we’re morally or spiritually evolved.
Sometimes we get it in our heads that there is transcendental virtue to suffering because our brain needs to make sense of some of the things that have happened to us.
We create stories around “why” we “had” to experience what we did.
The culture often follows this up by flooding us with messages about how certain exceptional people are only exceptional because of the suffering they endured.
Humans are meaning-making machines. We love constructing stories around the events of our lives.
The thing is, we need to make sure those stories aren’t accidentally toxic.
If we create a story around our life that says our suffering led to our strength, we risk creating a core belief that suffering is good.
That belief, that suffering itself is virtuous, may lead us to believe that wanting to get OUT of pain, wanting to AVOID suffering, reveals a lack of character.
We can get it in our head that we are “weak.”
We can become ashamed of our disinterest in “sucking it up” and moving on.
Many people reading this struggle with believing that they “deserve” to feel or function better.
Who are we, we think, to imagine that we “deserve” anything more than the “gift” of “character building” suffering?
This makes seeking help or trying to change our lives a complicated project.
Not only do we have to do the hard work of changing our lives, but we have to swim upstream against a whole belief system that says we are wrong to WANT to change our lives.
Let me spoil the suspense: there’s nothing inherently virtuous about suffering.
And wanting to feel and function better might be the most human impulse there is.
I’d say forgive yourself for wanting to feel and function better, but the truth is, there’s nothing to forgive.
Somewhere along the way, someone convinced us that we had to stay stuck in order to be a “good” person.
Somewhere along the way someone convinced us it was “entitled” or “high maintenance” to try to change your life in ways you choose— instead of just accepting what life gave you.
What a load of BS (Belief Systems).
I don’t know. Maybe you and I ARE “high maintenance” in refusing to accept the way we’re feeling and functioning now.
It’s certainly the case that people with high, realistic self-esteem DO demand certain things from the people around them— like visibility and respect.
If that makes us high maintenance— well, I guess we’re high maintenance.
All I know is that it’s a game changer to get past our guilt and conflict about wanting more.
To let go of our belief that it’s “entitled” or “immature” to want to consistently feel differently.
You don’t have to “earn” the right to feel and function better.
You DO have to be willing to do your part— but I’ve never met someone in trauma or addiction recovery who wasn’t MORE than willing to do their part…when pointed in the right direction.