Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Friday, July 26, 2013

First World Problems

Part of the negative chatter that reverberates in my head, particularly when I'm trying to improve myself, is a feeling of guilt for being absorbed in my own problems when I have lived such a charmed life compared to 99.9% of humanity.
Working downtown, I see people trapped in the misery of their lives every day.  It's tempting to believe that everyone has the resources to make the most out of their lives if only they would apply themselves, but I have less and less faith in that proposition.  How many of these poor souls walking around grew up in an intact home with loving parents willing to rescue and assist them whenever life turned sour?  I am one of the lucky few to have that, which is why I feel guilty about my failure to thrive.

Wallowing in self-pity isn't helpful or productive, and we should always be mindful (and thankful) for the blessings in our lives.  But failing to spend the energy to improve myself doesn't help anybody less fortunate than myself in any way.  And one of the greatest things I ever learned in therapy is that I can't assist anyone else until I'm in a stable position myself.  We all have to live our lives within the context we find ourselves in.  We all have to tend to our own needs with the tools and resources we have at our disposal while hopefully being kind and generous and open in our daily interpersonal interactions.