“Of Course It’s Easy For YOU” Syndrome

© a rainbow at night

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” (Oscar Wilde)

So how do you respond when someone looks at something you’ve worked your ass off for and thinks you only got it because the odds just fell into your favor? How do you process this inherent invalidation of all your struggles, and what does it mean about the person who said it?

When I look back at all that I’ve done over the past year, it really blows my mind. And I did it all because I first made the choice to live and enjoy within the confines of my circumstances, just like I did last year. I set in my mind what I wanted, made whatever arrangements I could on my own to help them manifest, and let the Universe work out the rest based on what I needed to experience.

If I wasn’t supposed to have something yet (or at all), well it wouldn’t have been from my lack of trying.

None of it would have happened if I just blindly accepted the identity of “sick person” that most family members and even doctors wanted to give me; that for too many years I gave to myself, as well. With this identity comes the belief that you must wait until you’re better before you can enjoy your life, whereas nothing could be further from the truth, especially when it comes to long-term or chronic illness.

But in general people don’t want to hear that. Some don’t even want to hear about all that I was able to experience (although I’ve already written about my past endeavors-while-sick), and that’s okay. I know the things I lived, I don’t need further documentation. And because it involved a lot of travel, I don’t imagine they’d be all that interesting to anyone else, anyway, in the same way slide shows of your vacations need to be ambushed upon unsuspecting house guests if you plan to share them.

I might be a little biased on this next part, due to people continuously asking my advice on how to get something I have (emotional freedom and the like, usually), yet being very unwilling to actually do anything that’s even mildly uncomfortable in order to get it. Then they turn around and play this card:

They wish something in their life was as “easy” as I “seem to have it.”

More than a few people have said that to me within a week’s time, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Because nothing–absolutely nothing–has come easy for me. No one comes to acquire the traits that make life’s difficulties seem “easy,” because life actually WAS easy. No, they arise from having had so much hardship that you eventually learned coping mechanisms to deal with them. Even still, what one might perceive as my ease of living is actually my choice to experience it as such, and I’ve crossed over mountains to get to this place from where I was, because I was not raised to be peaceful. (Please read that. Okay?)

But people only hear what they want to hear, and until they’re ready to change, they resort to, Of course YOU did it, you [insert excuse for why it’s easier for everyone else besides them]. Or else they want to be spoon-fed the exact steps they need to take, as to (1) only do and invest as much work as is necessary and (2) eliminate the natural consequence of following less-strictly-defined steps: fear and anxiety.

This “Of Course It’s Easy For You” Syndrome is also troubling because it’s an unconscious confession of (more fear) self-sabotage. This is inventing excuses for why you can’t have what someone else has, to convince yourself not to even try. It’s giving yourself an “out” based on an external factor out of your control, or something internal you perceive yourself not to have but which someone else does, helping substantiate your belief that the situation is out of your hands.

But if you want things to be easier, it doesn’t start with changing your circumstances, because you can only manipulate your circumstances to the extent that you realize what is really yours to control.

And that all starts with manipulating you.

Society tells us from the day we step outside that your life is supposed to be about getting from point A to point B, and to pass your days filling in the rest with your to-do list of how to accomplish that. But that’s incorrect. Our lives aren’t defined by only the big decisions, goals, and occurrences. However much impact they have on the rest of our days, those major game-changers are few and far between.

Life is mostly made up of all the little moments you encounter between those perceived checkpoints. It’s all the smaller things you do day in, and day out, that make up the most of your life and help determine your happiness. You can have a radically different life without changing a single external circumstance, because the only common denominator in your entire existence, is You. In other words:

When it comes to enjoying your life and finding peace, it has nothing to do with someone else having something you don’t.

And I guess that’s why it doesn’t matter too much to me anymore to explain all that I’ve been able to do, even while sick. Although reaching those goals was inexplicably amazing, it’s the process of living and thinking that helped me manifest them at all, which holds the most value in the long run. And that’s the part I really want to share with this blog.

a rainbow at night

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9 thoughts on ““Of Course It’s Easy For YOU” Syndrome

  1. Just re-read this. Love this quote “What one might perceive as my ease of living is actually my choice to experience it as such, not any representation of the actual work required.” So true. When my doctors fish around to see if I am depressed, I explain that (not counting the debilitating and bizarre effects of brain inflammation) I am happier, less anxious and less depressed than before I got sick.
    Why? Like you said, it is a choice, and a discipline, and learning to stop and smell the roses. If I fall asleep easily and sleep all night (not often) YAY! I celebrate and wake up feeling so joyous. What I used to take for granted is now a reason to celebrate. When I open the blinds in the morning, even after a horrible night, I give thanks for the dawn, and find a few things especially beautiful about that day’s dawn.
    I don’t live in bliss all the time, but when bad things happen I usually just refuse to stress about them. Daughter wrecked the car? Ok, no biggie if she’s not hurt. She wrecked it again 2 months later? OK, that’s what insurance is for.
    I don’t have ME but there are a few things we have in common – and I just learn so much from other people who are walking the illness path with mindfulness and intention. Thank you, rainbow – I don’t know your real name.

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  2. You certainly get a person thinking about the present. This post is super! It’s so true that we always seem to be working towards a point in the future (minute, hour, day, week, etc.) and forget about the “here and now.” I get it. Needs work!

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    1. Aww, thank you! I hope you’ve had some luck with it since your comment. When we REALLY think about it, the future doesn’t exist because it hasn’t happened yet. We just have an assumption that the next moment will arrive, when anything could happen–that’s just fact. A few years ago I was lying in my bed writing a post when a tree fell through my room and stopped eight inches from my face–the future really didn’t exist in that moment. The only time we have to exist, find joy, find healing, be content or just otherwise experience life, is this moment we’re in right now. It’s called mindfulness! :)

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  3. I totally agree with this.
    When I first got sick & everyone was telling me getting better was inevitable I worked on ‘powering through’ to achieve the same goals I had before. When that didn’t work I pushed myself to recover.
    Now I have things I would like to do & that I try to work towards but in between times I enjoy what I can do & find things that are relatively easy that I love To do for when all else fails ^^

    Sally x

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    1. That’s really great! Now we just have to wait for the rest of your family to catch up in the grieving process, aha. For a long time, all my family focused on was me going back to university to further my degree. “When she gets better…” and things like that, as if I’d (1) use all my remaining, unpredictable energy and financial assistance killing myself for a degree I’d never be able to use, or (2) miraculously wake up cured one day. My mother STILL thinks every time I have a good day that “this is it” and I’m on my way to a full recovery… It’s extremely difficult to deal with her unrealistic expectations. But I understand where they’re coming from, due to the swiftness with which M.E. strikes and the disease course. From the outside it can appear like a flu that one just hasn’t yet recovered from; it’s difficult for others and even ourselves to internalize that it’s its own disease process like MS, not a prolonged weakness from a bug like EBV.

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  4. Brilliant. Thank you!! I have been really struggling lately, and your words are very meaningful.

    Suffering + hard (internal) work = understanding. Because I had chronic pain for 20 years before the Lyme got into my brain and felled me, my motto had always been – I can do x with pain, or I can not do x, so I choose to do x with pain (ski, run, whatever). Then all the rules changed and I have mostly come around to – I can do x while sick or I can not do x, so I choose to do x while sick (sadly, not running, but other things, like finishing my Master’s Degree).

    Life is, indeed, lived in the details. I found it super helpful to retrain some of my terribly negative thinking that bloomed like a carrion flower when I got sick. I did the Amygdala Re-training program, which uses neurolinguistic programming. I go back to those techniques pretty often to reduce the negative self-talk loop that takes my baseline suffering and magnifies it.

    Thank you so much for writing. Your work is very meaningful, and you contribute a lot to the discourse on illness IMO

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    1. Thank you so much, Fran, and it’s good to hear from you again. I appreciate you sharing a little bit of your story with me, and your words are very kind. ♥

      We’re retraining our brain every day with every conscious thought we indulge. We can’t always choose which thoughts arise but we can choose which ones we entertain–clouds in the sky until we stop to analyse and decide what they look like to us. We are not whatever random negative thought arises in our brains. I think there are many people who have never been told they can say “No” to their own minds, that they’re allowed to see themselves as separate from that chaos.

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