Yesterday, I was finishing up a long walk / run at the beach when a young man caught up to me to chat. He seemed happy, welcoming, and had a beautiful shine in his eyes. I’m open to a friendly chat, so we walked in conversation.
The exchange started out light and high, the best of him was clearly at the forefront. As we walked, we talked about his life as an NYPD officer. I brought up how I’d had a few police officer clients who had powerfully learned to separate work life from their personal expectations and their lens of view about humanity. It had been a struggle for them; they extended great effort to resist cynicism and disenchantment with “the state of the world.” I hit a nerve. He finally said, “Look, what I tell people all the time is ‘reality sucks.’” The shine in his eyes seemed to dull. I felt the battle he experienced. I tried to convert the topic back to a way that his soul would feel palpable again. It worked, but it left me thinking long and hard.
What do we do when life sucks? Politics. People. Ten days of rain. Getting sick. More ignorant people. Taxes. Traffic. More annoying people. Crime. Poverty. Social inequity. Judgment. Abuses. Yeah, more negative behavior from people. We will not run out of “life sucks” topics anytime soon. It’s easy to see them and it’s almost compelling to immerse ourselves in it all.
My answer? Observe. Register. Then Choose: Discard or Convert. It’s that simple.
You can’t pretend that you didn’t see or hear something bothersome.