I’m reading a book called The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt, and although I’m not too far into it, I came across a part that really struck a chord with me. It was a speech by the Chief Justice, John Roberts.
You can find it here: Chief Justice, John Roberts
But I’ll go ahead and give you an excerpt.
From time to time, and the years to come, I hope that you will be treated unfairly so that you come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach the importance of loyalty.
Sorry to say, but I hope that you will be lonely, from time to time, so that you don’t take friends for granted.
I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved, either.
And when you lose, as you will, from time to time, I hope that every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure, as it is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship.
I hope you will be ignored so you will know the importance of listening to others. I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.
Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not, will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.
– John Roberts, Chief Justice
And this really hit me. That’s because it correlates so well with what I’m going through right now. I might say that I’m in one of those low moments in life, the moments that make you really appreciate the highs when they come.
I particularly liked this part: “And when you lose, as you will, from time to time, I hope that every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure, as it is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship.”
Now, I’m not sure how you interpreted that in the same way I did, but I see it in a more abstract way.
I see it is comparing life to a game, because in a way, it really is, but more so, a series of games. You’ll lose, and you’ll win. You feel defeated, but at other times, feel triumphant. Sometimes you might get knocked down so badly, you need a little help getting up.
And that’s what I got from that passage. I feel as if I’m losing right now. Everything is going wrong, or at least that’s what it seems. And in the same way my life is going wrong, I see others, and I see their successes, their happiness, and it feels like, in a way, they’re gloating. They’re saying, “look at me and how wonderful my life is!” and, well, I’m not angry or jealous (maybe I am?), but rather, I think, when that time comes for me, I’ll appreciate it all the much more.
In the past several months, as I’ve gone on this journey of self-discovery, I’ve come to this conclusion, as Roberts describes as the “message in my misfortunes”.
The appreciation you have for the fleeting moments of happiness in life is directly proportional to the amount of pain you’ve experienced.
And I hope, when everything starts to go right, that I will appreciate what I have that much better than if I hadn’t gone through the struggles I’m going through right now.
Thanks for reading,