When I mention relativity, I’m not thinking about all those family situations with oversized pot-luck dinners and raucous “discussions” on many subjects better left unmentioned during the gathering of the clan. Nor am I about to expound on Einstein’s physics theory, except peripherally, I suppose.
I’m actually referring to being able to acknowledge a sense of proportion in acknowledging pain or joy in your life—the ability to recognize the relativity of pain or joy in all your life situations and experiences.
While pain is never hard to recognize in whatever form that it takes (mentally, emotionally, or physically), it is often hard to gauge the degree of pain that you might be experiencing at any one time. That makes PAIN one of those relative affectors in your overall thinking or your daily doings when you spend so much of your waking life trying to avoid feeling it.
Considering the relativity of whatever you might be feeling at any moment allows for perspective shifting to help avoid slipping into an emotional downer-funk or a self-pitying whine-fest when things begin to go badly for you.
Example: Let’s say you have a nasty cold and all the detritus that comes with that, and while you are rubbing your face—with every muscle aching from your head to your feet and sniffling away into your Kleenex, you’re thinking, “Oh man, I could NOT feel any worse than I do right now.”
Well life will immediately respond to that erroneous statement by adding to your ills in some way, perhaps with a little digestive disruption at both ends of the line, and you will then think, “No, I was wrong, this IS definitely worse!” So your aches and pains during those comparative times were actually relative.
Point being that if you’ve ever had serious physical pain issues like back trouble, or migraines, or arthritis or skin sensitivity, or any other possibly debilitating pain challenges, you know that the degree of discomfort felt can vary radically from minimal life disruption to total incapacitation, just in the span of a few minutes depending on the causative situation experienced and the amount of physical pain that you can successfully tolerate.
However, emotional and mental pains are more difficult for us to gauge and resolve. Unlike degrees of physical pain, they are harder to file away in your temporary memory storage as just a momentary spasm or even a Level 8 “Where’s the Vicodin?” event.
Emotional and mental pains linger in our lives well beyond dictates of reason and logic—they just do. And since they are often linked to childhood issues, we’ve all been living with them for a very long time. That makes them harder to gauge in terms of their relativity to your overall life functioning.
Joy might be considered similarly relative except it is an even harder scale to gauge than pain might be. Sometimes JOY might be considered as the absence of PAIN, which is a bit sad to not recognize it for its own sake. But yet for many, the absence of PAIN is definitely a JOY, as are other similar circumstances:
- Having sufficient food to eat is a JOY.
- Having a warm, safe and secure home to reside in when the temps are near zero and the snows are swirling, is a JOY.
- Having loving companionship to face a difficult day or night, is a JOY.
- Having your health and enough money to live without hardship, is a JOY.
There are truly delicious events and circumstances that raise our spirits and bring smiles to our faces, and may even erupt into a laugh if we allow it; and without a doubt those are joyful experiences and we can easily recognize them as such.
But to always find some JOY in the less desirable circumstances of our lives or in the smallest of kindnesses that we may receive from others, is to understand the true relativity of our life experience and to celebrate the more joyful moments whenever and wherever we can find them.