Does the fact that my desires do not coincide with my reality provoke my suffering?
Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrin from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
If we desire something it’s because we don’t have it. Desire never speaks to what’s really in our reality, rather whatever is not there. This thing missing from our reality, where is it? Only in our imagination. Thus, the reality which we dislike begins to clash with our desire for something else, which will “always be better and make us happy.”
In this way, all we do is fight with the reality we have. Does that leave us in peace? Trying to get away with desire for what we have never leaves us satisfied. I don’t mean to suggest that you resign yourself, simply that you should observe whether it’s not this very attitude of combativeness, of resistance, which prevents you from feeling the peace you search for.
If your job is unfulfilling, but you can’t find another at the moment, forget that attitude. If you don’t like what you do, even so, do it with pleasure. Don’t do it for the job, do it for yourself. Surely this attitude will be healthier.
Such a change might even allow you to find another job. If your attitude changes, everything changes. When you are more at ease with yourself, you become a little less grumpy and a little warmer; you can enjoy more of the little things that used to go unnoticed because you were only lost in your desire for something else.
This attitude of rejection of the reality that we live is one of the primary factors of distress, capable of drowning us in a well of pity and disgust. Take note when you think or say with irritation or disappointment “this shouldn’t be this way,” “I should have,” “people should,” “my husband/wife should,” etc. If you can actually change something, do it without doubting yourself; but if none of that depends on you, it’s better to change yourself.
Change your attitude. Perhaps that’s the only thing that needs to change.