There is so much more to life than we know. For many of us, we just go about life seeing things only on the surface; upon experiencing something, most of us just judge whether that experience was pleasant or unpleasant and then go on with our lives.
Little time is taken to appreciate the complexity of these experiences, or even really even acknowledge them at all.
I think that if we went throughout our experiences trying to understand them rather than just labelling them good or bad, fun or not fun, happy or sad, we could get so much more from them regardless of how they went.
And I think there’s a bigger lesson here. I think this isn’t just about individual life experiences, but instead about life as a whole; Life itself isn’t supposed to be about being happy and never feeling sad, but instead about having meaningful experiences REGARDLESS of how they feel.
BAD IS JUST AS MEANINGFUL AS GOOD
We spend so much of our time trying to ignore or forget the negative experiences in our lives when in fact we could learn so much from them. By trying to remove them or act like they don’t exist, we’re being superficial and ignoring them for everything they could be. But what if instead we acknowledged the bad experiences, and even embraced them in order to understand what they meant?
By giving this attention to these experiences, we’re looking at them on a deeper level, and we can gain so much from doing this. Imagine if something painful or sad or unpleasant happened to you, but you were still able to accept it and walk away from it a better person!
This is how you do that. By acknowledging that the bad experiences are JUST AS MEANINGFUL as the good ones. But if we only ever go through life labelling things as good or bad and leaving them at that, we’ll never find that meaning at all.
THE DIFFERENT WAYS WE WASTE EXPERIENCES
You can do this with just anything and everything we experience: Food, vacations, romantic partners, WHATEVER!
If you have a piece of pizza, and the only thing you think about is whether or not you enjoyed eating it, you will miss out on all of the little things that make that pizza what it is: How it was baked, the taste of the cheese, the custom sauce, the toppings, whatever. You are COMPLETELY IGNORING all of these important details and throwing away the experience just because it wasn’t immediately pleasant for you.
Or what if you have a girlfriend/boyfriend, and the only thing that keeps you with them is whether or not they make you happy? Most of us would agree that breaking up with someone because they don’t always make you happy is a pretty shitty thing to do, yet we never think in more detail about why that is. Here’s why: Because when you love someone for how they make you feel rather than for who they are, you are COMPLETELY IGNORING the details of that partner that made you guys compatible in the first place.
Just like how you invalidate an experience by only seeing it for whether you enjoyed it or not, you invalidate a relationship by only seeing it for whether or not it makes you happy. Not only a relationship, but an entire person, and every detail that makes them who they are! I think you get the point for now, but this is a post in it’s own: expect me to write on this idea as well.
Or even better: I think this idea also totally applies with Tinder. Maybe I’ll write about that too… That would be fun.
But you get the point: We can completely lose sight of the real meaning in experiences if we only look at them for how they make us feel. And this doesn’t just suck with pizza or romantic partners, it sucks with everything. Nobody likes to mixx out.
THE BEST BOOK ON THIS IDEA
I’m currently reading a book on Mindfulness Meditation that I’ve recommended to a few close friends, and I think it’s time I brought it up here. It talks about this idea very early on, and I love the way it describes it. I wanted to share this description:
“Through the process of mindfulness, we slowly become aware of what we really are down below the ego(.) We wake up to what life really is. It is not justa a parade of ups and downs, lollipops and smacks on the wrist. That is an illusion. Life has a much deeper texture that that if we bother to look, and if we look in the right way.”
This whole post has only TOUCHED on the idea of bothering to look, and I’m sure that I’m not doing the idea justice in this description. But this book, Mindfulness in Plain English, has done a beautiful job of bringing these ideas to light. It has done nothing short of changed my life once before, and as I read it again now, I will be sure to write more about it.
Perhaps my next post on this will be on the next part of this process, “looking in the right way”. Or maybe I’ll just rant more about how this impacts relationships (I would know). Or maybe you can read the book and write to me about what YOU think…. It’s all up in the air this week.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this post, or that if you didn’t, you still learned something from it 😊Wishing you a mindful rest of your week…