Difficulties stink! We don’t choose to struggle (intentionally); although we often contribute to the circumstances that create the difficulty. A whole genre of happiness literature graces the bookshelves, promising peace; but no matter how skilled at living we become, difficulties intrude, disrupting the promised tranquility. From our struggle for a first breath at birth until our death, we fight for joyous survival. But we want ease. We want to reach the plateau and rest. The ordinary troubles seem unfair. An entitlement to ease is misguided. Entitlement for ease leaves us disappointed with the realities of existence.
Neither the arrival of the industrial revolution nor the presence of mass data has eased the burden. We still struggle. Capitalism pushes to grow the gross national product, leaving the less productive behind. The economy pushes production, creating more and more goods that marketers convince us are necessary. The cost of living is always just beyond comfort, requiring a little extra time (and stress). The paradise of ease doesn’t exist. We grapple with finances, relationships and emotions. I’m okay with this. Ease appears frightfully boring. Life, as we know it, has sufficient joys to enrich and beautify.
Natural Desires For Ease
The misguided hope for ease magnifies the pain of difficulty. Entitlement—expecting ease—simmers underneath, magnifying disappointments. If were angry at life, perhaps, we should examine our expectations rather than the blaming the terribleness of the world for failing to provide.
David Richo wrote, “our ego is indignant about having to kowtow to conditions that do not safeguard its entitlement to fame, fortune, health, happiness, and invincibility. The neurotic ego is not an identity but a set of encrustations: Fear, Attachment, Control, and Entitlement. This is the FACE we keep trying to save and will do anything not to lose” (2006). We must fight these inclinations and work through the difficulties of life.
We have trials—unplanned and unpleasant. These intrusions spoil our ordinary, ordered days. Our expected calmness is rocked. Unwelcomed disruptions may be from our poor choices or somebody else’s. It doesn’t matter. We just want to know why; we demand answers.
We are predicting machines, ordering days with expectations. This is how we allot energy to the tasks at hand. Interference with these plans frustrates our system, requiring costly adjustments and adapting. However, this is life. This is the world we live in. The stars, sun and moon (and most everyone else and everything else) could careless about our predictions. They have their own plans. Expectations of no interference is foolish—even narcissistic. We are not entitled to an uninterrupted journey. Consequences to actions are unpredictable and inconsistent. Sometimes punishments are overwhelmingly stern, other times a poor choice may even reward; the cheater graduates, the people elect the liar, and the drunk driver safely returns.
Narcissism and Expectations of Ease
The narcissist has expectations of ease. They believe everybody’s purpose is to serve their needs. When something goes wrong, then it naturally is someone’s fault for disrupting the expected ease. Consequently, personal inventories are not taken, personal inadequacy never considered. Melvin R. Lansky and Andrew P. Morrison wrote regarding the narcissist that “the awareness of defect in regard to one’s own aspirations of perfection or comparison with others—gives rise to shame.” They continue “In reaction to that shame arise the sense of injustice, of having been cheated, and of being entitled to claim that one is an exception, that is to say, the sense of entitlement justifying the narcissistic rage following the sense of shame” (1997, Kindle location 724).
Life is complex. We can’t fully understood life through simple cause-and-effect calculations. Police arrest one drunk driver, another drunk driver kills but most drunk drivers end-up sleeping off the party without notable consequence.
A Few Words by Psychology Fanatic
Struggles forge character. A life of ease softens resolve, flexibility, and temperament. Maybe “affluenza” is a disease. Challenges that disrupt provide the ingredients to develop compassion, love and depth. Ease creates shallowness and entitlement. Life’s crazy. When lives shatter, we feel bitterness; but eventually if we let go and welcome reality, the acceptance prepares for healing. We’ll never fully appreciate life until we accept that bad things happen. The Acceptance tames anger, diminishes need for blame and opens us to great treasures of wisdom. We are entitled to live in this beautiful mixed up and complicated world, along with all the joys, sorrows, and pleasures. Savor the moments, learn from the challenges, and live life in the realities of the universe.
Lansky Melvin R.; Morrison, Andrew P. (1997). The Widening Scope of Shame. Routledge; 1st edition.
Richo, David (2006). The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them. Shambhala; Reprint edition.