My reality is, objectively and subjectively, pretty great.
I have a loving family, I’m in excellent health, I get to do meaningful work. I have enough money in my bank account to enjoy a jackfruit bun for lunch while I tappity-tap on the keys of this mid-range laptop. I never go hungry, my bed is warm, and I have wonderful friends.
My list of gratitude would fill an entire notebook. My life is good.
Despite all this, sometimes I don’t like reality. Something happens (usually something trivial) that spins me into a chaos of misery. I turn into an embittered, teary-eyed grouch. I wish it didn’t happen, I wish I had more emotional fortitude to defend against these experiences, but I’m only human.
It’s not fair, I say.
I don’t deserve this.
I’m all alone.
I’m telling reality through gritted teeth, I don’t like you. You’re not my friend.
I’m telling reality, I want something different than what I’m getting right now. This pain, this illness, this loneliness, this is not what I want.
And that’s how I get stuck in the muck of misery.
I’m resisting the very thing that exists at this moment. I’m looking reality in the face and denying it.
If your house is burning down, it’s like standing there and saying, this sucks. I hate this. I don’t want the house to burn down.
All that is true, of course. Your house burning down would suck and I’m sure you would hate it.
But wouldn’t it be more productive to call the fire department, be sure any family members and pets are safe, and alert the neighbors?
Wouldn’t it be better to say, this is happening right now and I need to work fast to save the day?
“Don’t find fault, find remedy.”-Henry Ford
So instead of Allysia-the-Grouch pouting about her poor fortune (finding fault), Allysia-the-Grouch needs to confront reality, accept it, and deal with the burning house (finding remedy).
Allysia-the-Grouch (or Allysia-the-Non-Grouch, for that matter) won’t always like reality. Neither will you. Reality can be hard. So, so hard. Even the most trivial thing can be hard under the right circumstances. Realizing you don’t have any rolled oats in the cupboard and all the stores are closed can be the tipping point. Not that I would know.
But what does sitting there and not liking reality accomplish? Shaking your fist at the TV but never getting up off the couch?
You have to accept the burning house. Then you have to save what you can. Then you have to rebuild.