One of my favorite singer/songwriters is Mary Chapin Carpenter. I’ve been hooked on her music since her 1992 hit He Thinks He’ll Keep Her.
There’s always a line or two in each of her songs that makes me either laugh or cry. In He Thinks He'll Keep Her, it was the line near the end of the song: “For 15 years she had a job and not one raise in pay. Now she’s in the typing pool at minimum wage.” In 1992 I was newly engaged and then newly married and not even sure what she meant exactly, but the way MCC sang “MIN-I-MUM WAAAAGGE”, I could just tell that woman in the song was hurting and it brought tears to my eyes.
Now, 30 years later, when I’m working in my kitchen I ask Alexa to shuffle songs by MCC. One I heard recently that I wasn’t very familiar with yet had a line that made me laugh right out loud: “Sometimes You’re the Windshield, Sometimes You’re the Bug.”
Man, do I feel like the BUG sometimes!
I love the principle of Opposition for our Good. In scripture, it is first alluded to in Genesis when, after partaking of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, God says, "Behold, the man is become one of us, to know good and evil..."
Before that, there was only good, therefore they could not have known evil.
Other scriptures say, “It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.” (Book of Mormon, 2 NE 2:11) and, “If they never should have bitter, they could not know the sweet.” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:39).
I find that opposition everywhere: Day and Night, Hot and Cold, Happy and Sad, Connection and Loneliness, Birth and Death. One that had me stumped for a while: Mosquitos. I could easily see the negative side – but what was the positive side of mosquitos?? The only thing I’ve been able to come up with? Food for bats.
Anyway, Before I decided to become a Life Coach I followed a couple of podcasts produced by Life Coaches Jody Moore and Brooke Castillo. I heard both of them talk about the idea that life is 50/50. Meaning 50% comfortable and 50% uncomfortable. I was immediately on board.
Up until that point I thought I understood opposition pretty well. But this idea of just expecting life to be 50% uncomfortable was mind blowing. I had been going through life thinking that anytime it was difficult, something had gone wrong. But that wasn’t necessarily true. I was just in the 50% uncomfortable part of life.
"Behold, the man (and woman, I might add) is become one of us, to know good and evil..."
Sometimes we act in ways that propel us into the 50% uncomfortable side; But anytime we resist or avoid that 50%, we actually make life MORE miserable.
Example: "I have so much to do and feel so overwhelmed I don't know where to begin. I'll just scroll on my phone, take a nap and binge my favorite TV show instead."
I'm all for taking care of yourself, but avoiding your overwhelm actually creates a bigger sense of overwhelm later, when all of those things on your list still have to get done.
Accepting the negative side of life, actually INCREASES the likelihood of feeling happy! Crazy huh? That’s because when we’re no longer afraid of or avoiding that side of life, it’s not as painful. When we know how to handle the pain, we find contentment.
The last lines of The Bug chorus say it perfectly; “Sometimes it all comes together, Sometimes you’re gonna lose it all.”
But 100% of the time, You get to choose how you respond to the 50/50.