You never get more than you can handle. That’s one of our totally illogical cultural beliefs, alongside “When one door closes, another one opens,” and “You can have anything you want, provided you want it badly enough.”
Don’t worry, for once, I’m not here to trash your dearly held beliefs. Sometimes, faith is the only thing that keeps you from going under. I’m not talking about a paternalistic god, or “everything for the best in the best of all possible worlds.” I’m talking about the eons-old faith that tomorrow will be better, that the trials and troubles of the present moment will not crush you utterly.
You never get more than you can handle.
Usually, I’m not one to buy into these illogical aphorisms. Trendy koans just piss me off. But I like this one. It may be that I never really questioned my self-worth, never had any kind of existential crisis at all. I yam what I yam, and that’s pretty damn good. So even when I’ve been swamped, I mean absolutely deluged by trouble after trouble, sorrow after sorrow, I never really questioned my ability to overcome. Keep a level head, a firm hand on the rudder, and keep sailing.
I realize I am so lucky to have this bedrock of self-worth. That’s not to say I have no doubts, but over the years I’ve demonstrated my own competence time after time, and become self-reliant in the most positive sense of the term.
It’s easy to take this for granted, until I see troubled people come to me, saying, I can’t handle this, I’m sick of struggling, I’m afraid this will break me. How terrifying this must be, this black hole of fear, always following you around.
I try to offer condolences, advice. And the best all-around advice is “You are never given more than you can handle.” I find that this rings true for people, over and over again.
If you’re sick of struggling like the mythic Sisyphus, consider letting the rock roll away. Question why you want it on the top of the hill anyway. I believe that life should not be a struggle. If you feel like you’re struggling, you need to stop, take a step back, and examine what you might be doing wrong.
If you’re afraid your struggles will break you, you need to meditate on this truth: You are not your problems. You are not your past. Think about it.
And while you’re at it, think about some of the things you are sure of, and how incredibly lucky you are to have such certainty; a safe harbour where some have none.