My first post back after indulging on an incredible journey and the title sounds like I outsourced it to a middle school emo kid.

Shame on you Mellowman! You should be talking about the incredible views, photo-ops, peace you found, and friends you made. Get gone with all this “suffering” bullcrap! Well, in the words that Leonardo DiCaprio probably said “Naw, I’m finna do my own thing”. Plus I really feel that this post could change not only the way you look at pain and suffering in your life, but your life in general. You doubt me? Hop on for the ride.

“The power of positive thinking and how to avoid negative situations in your life.”

Go ahead. I dare you to Google search that last sentence and see what you find. I bettcha that you will be surfing the vast ocean of articles and psychological studies the internet has to offer, probably for eternity. Back in the late 1990’s, psychologist Martin Seligman was a front-runner and pioneer of the positive psychology practice. The goal of this practice was to take people away from the habitual mindset of hopelessness when problems arise and instead breed positive optimism to show people what makes life worth living. This sounds so enticing right? Less pain, more joy! Who wouldn’t want that? The popularity of this practice grew like the Bubonic plaque. Everybody was on board (for positive psychology, not the Bubonic plaque). Motivational speakers popped up all around the country and the “Self-Development” section was created at your local Barnes and Noble. At its core, positive psychology is great! It’s motivating and intellectual, widely accepted and can be very life-changing.  So whats the problem you ask? Well boys and girls, the problem with the world is that the world comes with problems. A heaping, helping, swimming pool full of problems and I don’t care how many self-help books you read, motivational speeches you attend, or wishes your magic genie gives you. At some point, you will have to dive head first into the Swimming Pool of Pain. It’s a part of life. It is an absolutely beautiful part of life.

We all know this. This news is not anything new to anyone yet people hate hearing or reading about it like they hate hearing or reading about Donald Trump (or maybe that’s just me). Why? Well, because it sucks. Nothing about suffering or pain is a good time. Pain and suffering break down the shell that you have built around yourself for so long. The life you grew accustom to becomes foreign and unrecognizable. You feel lost, disheartened, alone, and scared. None of it is inherently fun. All of it is needed, however.

I recently read a book by Mark Manson called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”. This book is just as beautiful as its title. Mark is a blogger and an internet entrepreneur who has a very witty and impressive take on life and everything life has to offer. Mark talks about his own life and how his experiences have given him some very beneficial practices to helping create a “successful” and “happy” lifestyle. Mark writes about how sticking and exclusively focusing on the positivities can actually harm you far worse than learning from the negatives. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

“We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful. It is nature’s preferred agent  for inspiring change. We have evolved to always live with a certain degree of dissatisfaction and insecurity, because it is the mildly dissatisfied and insecure creature that’s going to do the most work to innovate and survive…It turns out that adversity and failure are actually useful and even necessary for developing strong-minded and successful adults.”

Some of you may be going through some serious pain and suffering right now. Some of you may in the near future go through some really traumatic stuff and the pain and suffering will follow. All of us will have to look at ourselves in the mirror someday and the face looking back at them will be one of intense fear, pain, and insecurity. I’ve seen this happen to my closest family, my closest friends, and me. The last thing that I want to tell my family, friends, and myself is that this is a good thing, especially when it feels so bad. It is worth it, soldier. IT WILL NOT BE EASY, but it will be so rewarding. The entitlement of the old naive you will be stripped away to make way for a humbled and empathetic warrior. Your fears and insecurities will feel smaller because you went through hell to get to where you are, making you resilient and ever-growing. You will have more self-confidence and pride knowing that you weathered one of the hardest storms of your life. You will have courage to take on life’s problems knowing that you can handle whatever comes your way. Your values will change from crappy values lying on the surface to battle-tested values lying deep in your soul. Is that enough examples or do you need more?

Don’t turn your back to the problems on the horizon. They are put in your life to mold you, to set you up closer to your destiny. Gold is tested in fire. Show the world how golden you are.

Thank you for reading! I will post about the trip at some point but I just felt as though this message needed to be written down first. If you feel comfortable, please share a time where you felt pain and suffering and how you came out the other side a champion. Send me your stories at Stay Mellow My Friends