“The desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” Mark Manson writes in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***.
This statement is adapted from Alan Watt’s Backwards Law, which is the general idea that pursuing something we don’t have is a negative experience, while accepting reality even if it’s negative, can be a positive experience.
Let that sink in. Because it’s completely opposite to how we spend so many brain cycles every day.
How often do you imagine a negative experience, like a hard conversation or an awkward encounter, then think about ways to avoid it?
Or how often do you daydream about a vacation, new clothes, a new house, or going out to dinner?
We spend so much energy wanting good things, and so much energy avoiding bad things. But there is another way.
To accept the challenges and the mundane. To be completely and fully satisfied with where we are right now. Because we know that even when we get everything we’ve dreamed of, nothing really changes.
I’ve been comforted by this thought recently and it helps me remember that only moment is now, and it’s perfect. No matter how easy or hard it is, it’s here and we embrace it.