As you join the group of people waiting for the train headed downtown in the morning, certain realizations are often birthed. The similarity with which we live our lives is sometimes a little unsettling.
If the lives of many are so similar on the surface, are those same people thinking similar thoughts too? Are they truly living an individual, subjective, experience day to day? Are they discovering certain meanings which are unique to their experience?
Difficult Situations Often Result in Richer Experiences
The sense of meaning you tag the life you live with is cheapened when you realize that it may not be unique to you. As you begin to realize how similar your experience is to those around you, you might decide to differentiate yourself from the crowd a little bit.
You’ll come to realize that a path of least resistance is the reason for the similarities. Simplicity, efficiency, and a lack of desire to suffer are common elements of the many decisions those around you make.
Your attempt to differentiate your experience from others would thereby depend on sacrificing a certain element of comfort.
In a search for meaning, you’ll opt to take a more difficult path in life. You’ll give up the ease with which certain things are done in an effort to differentiate yourself. Many around you wouldn’t understand your desire to do something easy in a more difficult way. However, they’d miss out on how much richer your experience proves to be in your attempts to do just that.
This article hopes to support your search for a richer experience by reminding you to not brag about it. Specifically, below are some points as to why you shouldn’t advertise your act of taking a more difficult path in life.
Voluntary Hardship Warrants No Sympathy
Another’s bout against hardship often warrants the showcasing of our sympathy. If a good friend of ours gets into a car accident for instance, we’d likely do our best to help them. The hardship they’d be experiencing would largely be a result of bad luck. We’d view them as victims in that particular situation, and showing our sympathy in such a case would be the right thing to do.
When the one’s experience of hardship is voluntary however, it seems that we’re less inclined to show them sympathy. Since they’d have brought on all suffering on themselves by choice, we’d view them as having deserved the hardship they experience.
When you elect to take a more difficult path in life, remember that those around you will be less inclined to feel sympathy for you. They’d view any complaint coming from you about the situation you’ve placed yourself in as being braggadocious rather than irritable in its nature.
Your attempts to elicit sympathy from others about difficulties you’ve placed on yourself by choice would make them feel trapped. They’d perceive you to have trapped them into showing you sympathy as you could have easily avoided placing yourself in whatever difficult situation you find yourself in.
For example, if you decide to start riding your bike to work rather than driving, you may walk into work complaining about your legs being sore. Those around you would likely see that as an attempt to start a conversation about your desire to start biking to work.
Since it’s something you would take pride in, you’d be using a call for sympathy to begin a conversation about how you’re implicitly better than them for riding a bike. The people around you will be sensitive to when your calls for their sympathy are backed by a pride related to doing something difficult.
Placing Unnecessary Load on Those Who Listen
Akin to trying to elicit sympathy for something completely voluntary on your part, you’d place unnecessary pressure on people to care about whatever hardship you voluntarily experience.
When you normally drove into work for instance, you seldom bragged or complained about it being difficult. Since many others were likely doing the same thing you were, your attempts at bragging about driving to work wouldn’t go over well.
Once you decide to start doing the more difficult thing (riding a bike), you’d have something to talk about that many in your office wouldn’t. People doing difficult things thereby have a novel topic of conversation to bring up.
You’ve likely noticed that these people tend to bring up their act of doing something difficult in numerous conversations day to day. We can’t blame these people for wanting to talk about their experiences, as they view those experiences to be interesting to those who listen.
However, those who listen often feel as if they’re required to listen to these voluntary hardships. They may have preferred when you had nothing to say about your morning commute. Now, as you talk about your bicycle adventures around the city, they’d feel it to be an unnecessary conversation they were very happy simply not being a part of.
Misutilization of Hardship
Your opting for more difficult situations should be driven by a meaningful desire to improve yourself. Whether you want to become more physically fit, or more focused in mind, the reasons for undergoing voluntary hardships should never be to show off.
When you brag about taking the more difficult path than others in life, you make it seem that bragging is an important reason for why you’ve elected to take that path.
Always try letting your results speak for themselves when you decide to undergo a certain hardship. The circumstance of you improving yourself is already volatile enough to elicit envy from those around you. Once you begin bragging about it however, you’d increase the chances of eliciting negative responses from those who watch and listen even more.
You’d be seen as misusing the lessons that hardship brings about. Your experience with hardship will be seen as shallow; void of any meaning apart from placing yourself above others. You’d be seen as using your own hardship not to improve yourself, but to put down those around you.
Use voluntary hardship as it’s strictly intended to be used. Try not to use it as a tool to influence others to like you more by bragging about your voluntary difficulties.