A Society Of Self-Indulgence

I’ve come to the conclusion that life has become too easy. We live in a day and age of outrageous self-indulgence. I look around and envy the people that have life so good that their biggest qualm is being called by the wrong pronoun, getting the side-eye for being fat, or watching a billionaire buy out a social media platform.

There are millions of people whose basic needs–shelter, food, and water–are not being met. Millions more are struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table with rising costs. Then, there are millions more suffering from chronic illness and barely keeping their head above water. Countless more men, women, and children are abused in their own home or by people whom they should be able to trust. None of the aforementioned groups have the energy to worry about pronouns or pop culture.

I’ve been musing on this a lot lately. How do I breach the topic without sounding like a pretentious, judgemental know-it-all? I guess just need to speak my mind.

I have learned through personal experience that difficulties today will liberate you tomorrow. Perhaps not literally tomorrow, but it is true that adversity builds character. The painful criticisms may serve as a mirror inwards. Our terrible losses teach us to appreciate what we still have. Regret motivates us to permanently change our behaviors.

The easy path today makes a hard path tomorrow. The hard path today makes an easier path tomorrow.

We would rather do the easy thing than the hard thing. That’s natural and normal. We might view it as a mountain. You can climb it, or you can avoid it, but it’s not going away. There is always a mountain. There is always something in front of us that we know we should do, but it just seems so hard.

It’s easier to complain that systemic racism is the root cause of your obesity than to take responsibility for you health, irrespective of who or what is to blame. It’s easier to believe that you’re being underpaid due to bias than it is to give your career 110% and prove your value. It’s easier to abhor all members of the opposite sex after a bad romantic relationship than it is to analyze what went wrong and try to prevent a similar pattern from recurring.

On any given day, we can avoid the climb. We can stand at the bottom, look up, and say, “No, thanks. Maybe the mountain won’t be here tomorrow.” But we all know that the mountain will still be there tomorrow. And instead of looking smaller, it feels even more daunting.

The choice is yours, but the mountain isn’t going away. The longer you put off the hard thing you know you need to do, the harder it becomes to get started. The climb can be the fun part, once you get started.

12 thoughts on “A Society Of Self-Indulgence

  1. Very well said! I resonate with the concern of coming across pretentious. But I believe we must stand firm in the truth – that’s what you are doing. The truth is offensive to everyone except those who truly seek it. Many blessings to you.

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  2. This…has been true in my life – nicely put by you:
    “I have learned through personal experience that difficulties today will liberate you tomorrow. Perhaps not literally tomorrow, but it is true that adversity builds character.”
    Yes…and yes…and the imagery about “the mountain” – whatever that is – and the fact that it will remain, and often grows larger as we debate whether to take action or not? I feel that, too. Lovely post. Thank you, Erin. 🧡

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Vicki! 🧡 Coincidentally, I just found an old fortune in my wallet today: “Life always gets harder near the summit.” Unfortunately, I think too many are simply waiting for the ski lift to scoop them up and carry them to the summit. There are treasures to be collected along the journey and sights that can only be seen from ground level. I suppose people will learn in due time… maybe. 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I see so much truth in this well written post! Unfortunately, as we all know, we don’t place our foot on the path of doing the very difficult stuff unless we feel it is absolutely necessary! Even then, many will engage in self medicating or self distracting behaviors to try to avoid that work.

    Is it hard? Yes. Will we find the monster we fear we will find? Most likely not, most likely we will discover a much younger version of ourselves, the version that was hurt deeply and who never healed.

    So much of the ills in our society come from people who were hurt, the hurt fostered for years, and they then spewed their hurt and vitriol onto others, creating an ever widening ripple effect of more and more hurt.

    By doing our inner work, we not only help ourselves, but we also help to mitigate how many other people will be hurt. Even if we cannot wrap our heads around healing to help stop the world, doing our own inner work in order to stop feeling the pain is well worth the effort!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Tamara! There is so much wisdom in your comment. No matter how great our lives have been, everyone has some emotional baggage or trauma that needs to be dealt with, everyone. It’s hard work, and it’s not fun, but anyone who puts in the effort will emerge with a renewed sense of calm, acceptance, and civility. The traumas often aren’t permanent, except for the fact that we often choose to live them over and over again in our minds. Once we’re released our attachment to those old hurts, we can be free. It’s no one’s responsibility but our own. Hard? Yes. Life-changing? Oh yeah.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So very true. The difficulty in letting go is that people mix their sense of identity with the trauma they went through, so letting go of the trauma can give one the feeling that they don’t know who they could possibly be without it.

        It seems quite unfathomable at the time, but until we realize that we won’t be left with a vacuum of nothingness, rather we will experience being ourselves freely for perhaps the first time.

        We are never left with a void, instead we get filled with peace and calm for once! Yes, it is truly life-changing!


  4. I hear you loud and clear. The path of least resistance is what we usually choose. But the question of motivation is a lot more complicated in my opinion. We see what people do or don’t do yet we don’t always know what prevents them from living their best lives. I noticed a lot of insecurity and other mental health issues that cause people behave a certain way. I didn’t believe they were real until I worked in a public school setting where terrible things happen every day. Unfortunately, as a society we are incapable of addressing these issues, although we are trying really hard. A lot of young adults would refuse to do anything claiming it’s too hard. When they grow up we have the whole generation of people who gets it all without any effort. It’s a tragedy and it’s also a shame.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, while I don’t have many young people in my life, I’ve seen this clearly in my small sample size. Everything is too hard, mom and dad often step in to resolve issues, and then incompetent kids grow into insecure adults. You’re right that the question of motivation is complicated, and there really is no clear answer as to how to help people take back control of their lives.

      Liked by 2 people

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