Thursday, March 29, 2012

Accepting the Challenge

I don’t often use profanity in this blog because I believe it’s possible to express myself without using such words for emphasis. I also believe that I can make a stronger, more valid point without it. But for the purpose of this entry I’m going to use a particular phrase which violates my personal preference to watch my language: 
“Life’s a bitch, then you die.” 
This is a common enough phrase that I’m sure I don’t have to explain it. The sentiment is that life is hard and at the end of it you don’t really get any reward for your suffering because it just stops. Quite a bleak and negative message and one which I often hear from people dismissing the concerns of someone or making excuses for their own inaction in the face of difficulty. 
It’s a way to fob off the challenges we face. 
“My boss is really driving me up the wall. They don’t have respect for my time or talent and it’s quite disheartening.” 
“Life’s a bitch, then you die.” 
I disagree. If your employer isn’t showing you respect and it’s affecting your quality of life or opinion of yourself then it’s up to you to do something about it. You could either approach them directly, see if there is an opportunity for mediation or, if it’s really bad, you should look for a new job. It doesn’t help anyone to accept a situation where you feel undervalued. By standing up for yourself you can learn how to take charge, create change and assert yourself for a positive a outcome. 
“I spent all weekend working on my novel but then my computer died and I lost everything.” 
“Life’s a bitch, then you die.” 
That’s harsh. I’ve had it happen to me. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t lost many hours of work in one thirty second glitch of technology. It’s frustrating and can easily make a person feel like giving up. But what sets a successful person apart from someone with a victim mentality? The ability to try again, to stick to it and to accept the downs as well as the ups. Sometimes technology fails us. Sometimes other people fail us. But accepting defeat is choosing to fail yourself, and that is really and truly your choice, not  down to life. 
'Strength' is about trusting in your
own ability to survive.
Prints available. 
There is a wonderful analogy that Pema Chodron uses in her teachings. She says that life is like standing in an ocean. A wave comes along and knocks you over. For a moment you’re under the water, salt stinging your eyes, water in your nose and mouth but you get up and wipe your face. Then another wave comes and knocks you down again, and again you’re unable to see, there’s sand in your mouth and you can’t breath. But the trick is to keep getting up because you can. Eventually you’ll get up quicker and quicker and eventually you might find you don’t get knocked down at all anymore. 
The difficulties in life are not there to keep you down, put you in your place and limit you. the challenges we face are there to teach you how to be strong, show you where you’re already indestructible and remind you that growing and learning are never ending.      
I think a better phrase is: “Life is a series of opportunites, so what are you going to do with yours until you die?” 


  1. I love your phrase. I heard the other one quite a bit as a kid and it always seemed so awful! I was looking for inspiration from my elders, not this kind of comment that just shut me down. Yours is much better.

  2. How about "Life's a Beach, then we eat pie" ?

    Seriously tho, its a good phrase replacement. I was going through a rough patch but I thanked the universe for sending me a challenge, and the rest of the day went by better.

  3. What an awesome post .I'm so glad I found your blog! I really needed to hear this one right now . The analogy of the wave is so right on. This is timely!!


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