Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Art Of Living in a Troubled World

Once we focus on what’s wrong in the world, it’s remarkable that we can find the strength to keep going. There are just so many reasons to be sad.

War, poverty, homelessness, social inequality, job instability, pollution, rising sea levels, vanishing species, illness, human imperfection, divorce, loneliness, loss of loved ones, crippling depression, and mortality.

We’re surrounded by darkness on all fronts. 

Knowing life is so grim, how do we go on? Laughing or expressing joy under these circumstances feels so inappropriate. It suggests we don’t truly grasp how dire things on this planet actually are. But being eternally gloomy and somber is no way to live either. 

So how do we stop despairing?

By keeping the somberness of living firmly in our minds, so that anything beautiful or kind vividly stands out when seen against the dark background. 

Once we expect life to hurt and disappoint, it’s so wonderful when it’s pleasant. And make no mistake, the fates can be incredibly cruel. 

Vincent van Gogh lived in poverty and went unrecognized in his lifetime. Joan of Arc led French forces to victory and was executed for heresy. Alan Turing’s work shortened the war against Nazi Germany by two years, but instead of thanks he got persecuted for his homosexuality, which ultimately led to his suicide.

Life isn’t fair. 

And if we assume it is, we’ll be very sad indeed. But if we realise that suffering is the norm rather than the exception, we’ll see every generous deed and enriching moment as a gift.

And rightfully so.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach