Monday, September 25, 2006

Life is cruel. Can you handle it?

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.
- Virginia Satir

"Supposed to be?" Who said that? Who says, with authority, what is supposed to be about life?


The fact is that people have (and teach to others) all sorts of unreasonable and unsupportable expectations of life. That includes what they expect of others as well as for themselves.

Life is nothing less than brutally cruel for every life form, including both plants and animals. Any animal that canot fend for itself for food, defence or shelter will either die or be eaten. A plant that grows in an uninviting place with too much competition or too little protection or nutrition will die. Nature shows no mercy.

Charles Darwin did not say the fittest will survive. He said that the life forms that can adapt best to changing conditions will survive. In addition to the many other skills needed to survive, successful animals and plants need to be able to adapt.

Adapting to changing environment, food and water availability, defensive ability, technology (including that which benefits the military) and even our way of life is what has made humans so successful that they can be found almost all over the planet.

One of the biggest expectations we can make about life is that it is predictable. There is nothing predictable, fair or even safe about life. At any time. Self deception or believing someone that tells us that life will be good for us will keep us from facing the truth about ourselves.

Those who are prepared to cope with life's circumstances, especially as they change, will survive and thrive best. As life seems to be changing more rapidly than previously in history (for humans), we may want to consider teaching coping skills in order to better prepared young adults for the trials and tribulations they will face later.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to have social and coping skills taught to every school student.
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