“Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.”
― Aldous Huxley
“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”
― Oscar Wilde
I know this post is redundant. I can’t help it. I’ve written about this topic several times (Hang A Different Fly Strip, Yo!, What Are You So Mad About?, I Need An Attitude Adjustment, Please, Stop Telling That Tired Old Story, That Was A Hell Of A Day, and probably in others). I suppose it is cathartic for me to try and approach it from a variety of perspectives.
One of the most crushing things for me to see as a therapist is when people stay stuck in their own Living Hell. So often, I sit powerless as people go on about all the wrongs, resentments, abuses, problems, and challenges in the world. This is not to say those points aren’t valid. They are. We all struggle. We all face adversity.
And, this post is not intended to minimize the pain that life brings. In fact, the human experience is replete with adversity. Yes, some people struggle more than others. And, some people have harder lives than others. However, how we respond to adversity will determine the quality of your life.
A person always has a choice. This moment can be your Heaven or your Hell.
Some of the key words and phrases that come up when a person is Living In Hell are:
I don’t want him/her to win. Life is not you versus anyone. Life is you just doing the best you can and trying to be the best version of yourself. If you find that you feel this way about someone or something it might be best to let go of the relationship or leave the situation. It’s okay to quit something or someone that makes you miserable or makes you feel like it’s about winning or losing.
It shouldn’t be this way. Life is not fair. Bad things happen to good people all the time. Unfortunately, life is not about how it should. Life just is what it is. And sometimes it’s awful and sometimes it wonderful.
I don’t deserve to be treated this way. You do not have control over how anyone treats you. If someone is hurtful and abusive please exit the situation as soon as possible.
I’m not going to leave, they have to leave. Your health and happiness is your responsibility. You must leave the unhealthy situation.
That person should just know what I need. We are not mind readers. We must tell the people in our world what we need from them and we must be specific as possible.
My religion says this way of life is right and they are wrong. This may be true. However, approaching someone with an attacking and accusatory approach is not likely to lead to conversion or understanding. It is best to listen and understand. It is best to act consistently with your values and let your actions be what attracts people to you.
Why should I treat them any better. Because life is not a contest. Extend compassion even when the person can not do the same for you. This does not make you weak. In fact, it is much harder to hold the space and not be reactive in the face of anger than it is to be reactive.
But I’m right! You probably are but life is not a contest. Again, if you want people to listen to you it is best to first listen to them. Listening does not mean you agree it means you respect the other (even if you don’t)
It’s not fair. No, none if this fair. It is not designed that way. It will never be fair. Let the idea that it will ever be fair go and you will be much happier.
I refuse to listen to any of what they have to say. Then the conversation is over. Listening is the most important part of communication. If you refuse to listen there is no conversation.
This is bullshit. It probably is. But, again, life is not fair. I’m sorry you’re suffering but we were never promised a pain free life.
They’re out to get me. Maybe they are. The best way to counter this is to be the best version of yourself. Don’t give someone anything to get in terms of who you are. If you feel like the situation is toxic and you are living in fear the only choice you have is to leave.
Phrases and words that people who live in Heaven often use:
I love you
I like you
I’m proud of you
You make a difference
I appreciate you
I’m sorry you feel that way
What can I do to help
What do you need
Let me get that for you
I hope you have a great day
Let’s have a dance party
For many people they are unable to see that their worldview is what is causing them the most pain. If you are able to accept that life is both wonderful and awful, and sometimes at the same time, you will live a much healthier life. If you are able to extend compassion and understanding to the people in your world, you will feel so much better about life.
I understand that many people suffer through painful and abusive childhoods or relationships as an adult. If you find that you do not have the tools to move out of a Living Hell, please, see a therapist. And if you do decide to see a therapist try to have a little hope and flexibility. We know you’re suffering and we want to help but we can’t help if you don’t let us or trust that we want to help.