First I need to admit that I am a self-help book junkie. I probably read them more than any other type of book at the moment and I am working my way through my local library’s collection at a rapid pace. One I am reading at the moment is ‘The Rough Guide to Happiness’ by Dr Nick Baylis. I say one I am reading because I have a few on the go at once as my concentration is appalling at the moment so I am having to jump around books a lot in order to keep reading.
Anyway, to the point of this blog entry. One thing he suggests early on in the book is this idea of pain making pleasure a stronger feeling. He gives the example of food being more satisfying when it is eaten after a period of hunger. There is the famous saying “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger“.
Pain and pleasure are opposites but not enemies, they can re-set each other and in order for us to make progress in life we need to experience both. Sadly, we cannot eliminate all sources of pain from our lives, things will always come along to test us, to hurt us and to cause us pain. No self-help book, medication or therapy is going to stop bad things from happening but we can control how we react in these situations.
The book claims:
there is no guarantee that misery will lead to joy, it renders us ripe for it, if only we can harness the know-how. Our intense pain automatically primes us for exquisite pleasures.
I have posted a little bit about my mum and my upbringing, all I’ll say here is that is was far from ideal. It could be described by many as a painful childhood but there are many people who have experienced painful childhoods, some far worse than mine, and they go on to lead extraordinary lives. It is my aim in this reflective period of my life to try and channel all the shit that has happened to me in the past to become one of those successful people.
One thing that immediately springs to mind is my own relationship with my daughter, I do everything I can to protect her from my mental illness as I don’t want her growing up hating me or distrusting me. She is the most important thing in my life and I try to make sure she knows that on a regular basis. It is also my own upbringing that drives me to be a good teacher now. My own teachers at school were my childhood heroes as school was an escapism from home and my teachers always cared about us.
I hope that every time I think of my past I now try to put a positive spin on things even if I don’t believe those things straight away.