Popular Posts

Search This Blog

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why Is Life So Hard?

Question: Why is life so tough?  Do all people always have a happy ending?

Answer: People are suffering every day. It's often hard to find any meaning to life. It's often hard to find joy when all we see is tragedy. Then our thoughts take over and we worry about what may happen to us, to our loved ones. What if we can't pay our bills, what if we get sick, what if we have a tragic accident, what if we lose our job. All these what ifs lead to anxiety and depression. How do we get personal control over this? How do we achieve happiness?  How do we maximize our safety in this world?

While psychiatry continues to attempt to find a niche in the medical world as a legitimate physiological and scientific disease process, it is just these types of philosophical questions that plague so many of us and that ultimately lead to mental distress.  So is it really a chemical thing gone awry in your brain, or is it a philosophical conflict about our place in this world.  

Of course I prescribe psychiatric medications and at times, the medicine relieves a person's suffering. But I prescribe medications at the same time I initiate therapy.  So is it the medication or the therapy and philosophical exploration that eases a person's mental pain?

My style of therapy is really philosophy. And although the field of psychiatry won't admit it, most of the therapeutic techniques used today are really old world philosophies rewritten.  Philosophers have always suggested that it is important for us to examine our beliefs. Your feelings and actions are a consequence of your beliefs. So, if you believe the world is a bad place full of evil...then that's what it is for you.  The great philosopher Pyrrho said, "Always be quick to question and slow to believe. We too easily become convinced of things that trouble our minds and disturb our souls...withhold judgment."

Your feelings, desires, hopes, and dreams are an important part of who you are. But they are all results of your beliefs or dependent on those beliefs. We are all on a quest for certainty. We want to"know" everything without any doubts. We want to "know" that our life is real and not a dream, we want to "know" that we are safe, we want to "know" that our religious belief is the right one.  All this doubt and uncertainty cause anxiety and depression. We are greedy for control.  And in the end....we will never have control.

The only certainty is that nothing is certain." - Pliny The Elder

So is happiness possible? 
Most of the great philosophers agree that the only moment we really have is the present, right now. But the past and future are always trying to pull us away from the moment. Most people miss the present moment because they are thinking about the past or future. Worrying about past and future. You can't change the past and you can't predict the future. The goal to happiness is working hard to relieve yourself of the past and future. It takes work to constantly redirect your mind to the here and now. Happy and content people work toward goals involving other good people in objectives using love and creativity to make a difference in the world. To help other people.

We can't always understand the suffering that we see. But we can respond to it better. You can control your response and your intervention. You can help people.

He knows not his own strength who has not met adversity. -Ben Johnson.