As I peeled my swollen eyes open and unwrapped gauze over bloody hands, I smiled. I went to the bathroom, threw on swim trunks, and started my first of four daily soaks in the Dead Sea. I almost screamed in agony before taking deep breaths to regulate my pain receptors.
Pain is a conversation you have with your body. When your body senses danger, you feel pain. You can choose to continue feeling that pain, or you can assess the supposed danger, disregard it, and push forward. I choose the latter.
If you’ve heard the expression “salt a wound,” then you understand what it feels like to soak raw, cut skin in the most mineral-rich point in the earth. As my skin burned, I couldn’t help but be full of compassion and love.
Happiness, I’ve come to learn, is a choice.
The paradox of happiness is that you cannot choose to be happy, as happiness is a treasure you find when looking for something else.
Happiness is found indirectly. You’ll feel happy when you focus on something other than happiness.
My life is better than I ever could have hoped it to be, and I’m filled with a sense of happiness.
Is everything perfect? That depends on what you view as “perfection.”
In life there will always be something right and something wrong. You dial in one area of your life only to discover new challenges in other areas.
I can agonize over my skin, inspecting it and losing self-esteem. Before I knew what true suffering was, grey hairs haunted me. A zit was the “end of the world.” In hindsight my problems were trivial. Because of focused on those problems, they consumed me.
As my skin peels off in one-inch chunks, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.
I can choose to appreciate the love, friendship, and personal success in my life.
I can choose to be grateful for the means required to hop on a plane to Jordan to stay at the Dead Sea for as long as it takes to heal.
I can choose to appreciate the lavish dinner spread.
I can choose to be grateful that people flew all across Europe to attend my first Gorilla Mindset seminar. (They didn’t seem to mind my skin, so why should I?)
I can choose to be thrilled that Essays on Embracing Masculinity, even though it’s only part of a soft launch, is hitting all the best-seller and hot new release lists.
After this article appears I’ll go for another dip in the Dead Sea. If I scream, it’s due to joy.
What is pain?
Pain is a conversation between your body and mind. Pain is your body’s way of warning you away from a potentially dangerous situation.
Pain tells you to quit.
Pain generally lets you know something is wrong. Pain is valuable. Listen to pain. Talk back to pain.
The body is too conservative an organism. Rarely will it encourage you to seek out pain – and its usual precursor – danger. Adrenaline junkies and daredevils are viewed as deviants, as risk makes reproduction less likely.
Expected pain hurts less than unexpected pain. Stubbing your toe is an unusually low pain stimulus. Kick something and you won’t feel it. Stub your toe and you’ll feel agony.
Research is even showing that the mindfulness techniques covered in Gorilla Mindset decrease pain as awareness mitigates the panic accompanying pain.
Pain can steal away your happiness. Or not. This is your choice.
What choice are you going to make?
Sure, you’re lacking in some area of your life. We all are.
You can choose to focus on these inadequacies.
Or you can choose to focus on what areas of your life are abundant.