We spend our lives moving away from pain and towards pleasure. We envision for ourselves an ideal life, whatever that may look like. Social life, love life, material possessions, a career, adventure, perfect parenting… An existence full of successes, good decisions, in the end a smart way of navigating life which avoids suffering.
Wanting all that is nothing wrong. But when we avoid the adversities in life, we miss facing what hurts us and overcome it. We miss the struggle that comes with it, a liberating struggle, much like a butterfly struggle to get out of the cocoon. Without that struggle, the butterfly wings don’t get the blood needed to fly and become useless. Likewise, without our struggle, there is no liberation of our mind.
“There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion” – C.G. Jung
We want perfect parenting because we don’t want to struggle with being a failed parent. We want success because we don’t want to struggle with being a failure. We want life because we don’t want to struggle with death.
There is nothing wrong with wanting any of these things, but we must not miss the opportunities life offers us of facing what hurts us and liberate our minds.
Funnily enough, avoiding pain makes us run into the same pain repeatedly. This is the stubborn nature of our existence.
“What we resist, persists” – C.G. Jung