The Source of Great Human Pain

There are many sources of human pain. 

Today, let's talk about one that - without which - many efforts to alleviate our suffering will be ineffective. 

One of the greatest sources of human pain is when we don't spend our time as a reflection of our values. We spend it as a reflection of the status quo's values, our family's values, what we're told our values should be. 

What's pernicious about this pain is that it's not fast and sharp, like the sting of rejection or the smack of criticism. 

The pain of not living loyally to what matters to us is a slow burn. It shows up in low energy, perhaps quiet dread on Sunday evenings, listlessness or aimlessness, flatness. So many signals that we're living a life that isn't ours. 

It's not our fault. Never once are we taught to figure out our values, let alone build the courage to live true to them. Because it does take courage; the pressures to conform, to stay in our lane, are like no other. 

But the good news is we can start at any point. We can ask ourselves, "What matters to me?" and moment by moment, decision by decision, begin to organize our life around our answers. 

Our answers need not only be big, heroic virtues like compassion, honesty, integrity. Living close to the mountains, getting eight hours of sleep, good coffee in the morning, regular time with good friends, using my passport regularly, all count, too. 

We get handed time free of charge when we come out of the womb. Our charge is to spend it in service of what matters to us. If we don't, the cost can be great pain. If we do, the reward will not be a painless existence. But it will be a more meaningful one. 

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Meaningful LivingCaitie Whelan