Last night, I had a very interesting and intellectually stimulating conversation with someone that involved a lot of debates about concepts in theology, religion, politics, psychology, philosophy, and more. It was the kind of conversation that left me thinking a lot about the truth-seeking nature of human behaviour. What is the truth about life? Is there a truth? Whose truth is true or is anything true at all? Here’s a little something I wrote last year for work and it always stimulates pretty interesting conversations with the youth I work with. It’s my version of deep thoughts and really, it’s just psychology 101. I think I actually prefer the Mighty Pythons message about the meaning of life.

Life starts with basic needs.

Like food,

affection,

nurturance,

and safety.

Then, things happen.

We live experiences.

We receive information.

The world and everyone around us, sends us messages.

About what we should be, do, feel, and think.

We form evaluations of all this incoming information.

We develop our own perceptions,

perspectives,

and interpretations.

From our experiences, we create and add meaning to things that simply happened.

We make judgements,

form opinions,

as we develop a set of beliefs

and morals.

We make sense of everything by placing the information in categories:

Good/ bad

Right/ wrong

Pretty/ ugly

As time progresses,

we develop insecurities.

These categories force us into boxes.

If we don’t feel that we fit in the boxes, we freak out.

Stress takes over.

Fear begins to limit us.

And not to mention shame.

We get easily consumed with worries that didn’t used to exist.

Sensitivities have us react in ways we don’t even understand.

And it all relates to a kind of self-consciousness that wasn’t there before.

We now have expectations of ourselves and others

because our needs have become complicated.

And the worst part is that all of these complications,

somehow lead to consequences.

Such as conflicts,

loss of control,

hurt feelings,

sense of failure,

frustration,

and discouragement.

What did we do to deserve this?

Life is now unfair.

If, on top of all of this, we let our ego get in the way,

it will seek protection from whatever it perceives to be a threat.

The ego values being right

and making others wrong.

So all of a sudden, we are spending our energy saving face

and making sure we look good,

instead of fostering the nurturance, safety, and love that seemed so simple.

We want to avoid rejection,

which equals pain.

But, we’ve already learned at this point, that life is hard.

Life takes work.

School,

family,

friends,

making decisions,

“Succeed”,

“Be happy”,

“Be good”,

“Help others”,

“Do right”.

“Control your emotions”,

“Express your emotions”,

“Be yourself”,

“Be like others”,

“Be free”,

“But be smart”,

“And make the right choices”.

With so much pressure and overwhelming messages,

it’s easier to make up our own rules.

Perhaps we rebel.

Or perhaps we comply, but resent.

Either way, in the end, we don’t feel happy.

We’re exhausted.

We’re moody.

And confused.

How do I cope?

How will I survive?

Who am I?

Why am I here?

Eventually, we may get told we have an attitude.

Or a problem.

Maybe even a disorder.

Or we get called names.

“Loser”

“Stupid”

“Lazy”

We’re essentially not good enough.

We feel punished,

humiliated,

or just plain angry.

So, we defend,

fight,

judge,

push away,

hide,

justify,

project,

accuse,

blame,

pretend,

deny,

cry,

scream,

throw a tantrum.

Because it feels like no one can possibly understand.

It’s easiest to forget about all of this and seek distractions.

Pleasure.

Party.

Live in the present moment.

Avoid responsibility.

Fall in love.

Take risks.

Take drugs.

Which all takes money.

But, we find a way.

Discover what life is worth living for.

Question everything.

Everyone.

Try new things.

Test boundaries.

Explore limits.

And see who will care enough to intervene;

To guide us,

To set those boundaries,

In a respectful way.

The good news is that we have the capacity to learn

that pain is a part of life,

just like pleasure.

Just like the weather,

feelings will come and go.

And for every experience that brings us suffering, there is an opportunity to grow.

But, that growth is our own responsibility

And requires a willingness to be vulnerable,

courageous,

and wise.

In the end, we are all still needing:

belonging,

understanding,

compassion,

love,

support,

And a life that has meaning

…which could end any day.

So, really, life can be quite simple,

if we take all that story away.

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