The Problem Gene…have you got it?

A Modern Day Epidemic.

A newly discovered first world disorder has become rampant in the last century…
This is not to say that people don’t have the problem gene in 3rd world countries, they do — but they don’t have the luxury for the gene to be active. 
Luxury? Problem gene? What….wait I’m lost.
Okay lets start at the beginning.

We all have struggles, pains, frustrations, jealousies and angers. This is being human. The stories are as old as our species. Its part of what makes us human. The difference comes, not in the way we feel but in the varying degrees of severity of the circumstances that cause these feelings to arise.

We do not need to be in 3rd world countries to experience true pain, but the analogy is a nice one to draw a contrast. Its a hard pill to swallow to imagine your very own neighbours may be silently suffering an unimaginable pain that had you known you would take action to change….but back to my study on problems…

I am fascinated with people who live in poverty. Maybe its horrible to say, but its the truth. The reason is because they are better than me. I learnt very young I could get my way by crying. People cant handle crying. I found people will do whatever it takes to stop the crying. This is a horrible, horrible ability I have (though I never did it on purpose to get my way, I just found when I cried people around me would get flustered and do whatever it takes to stop the crying.)

I admire, absolutely admire people who handle calamities with patience and humility. I am honoured to be around these people, I pray for them, and I pray to be more like them. They are better than me on my best day, and so it has me contemplating on the problem gene.

How can people who suffer poverty be so patient, so humble, so happy? How can they not complain or go to the doctor for depression medication, or cause fights? Well, what I’ve found is having problems and telling the world about your problems is actually a luxury. If you have time to wallow in your pain, to feel bad for yourself — well consider yourself blessed.

People who are in poverty have to survive. Feeling sad, or sorry for themselves, or negative — never mind dreaming of being depressed will mean they wont survive long at all, and as we all know, no matter how hard life is, we all want to live. So the desire to be alive, no matter the circumstance is a stronger pull than the pain of having an undesirable reality.

Think about that. Things are so bad for some people that the greatest joy in their life is the very fact they are still alive.

Another fact that supports an environment of humility, patience and perseverance for people living in poverty is that they are not alone. They are surrounded by people suffering just like them, there’s an understanding, a care and a love for one another. Studies have shown that there are higher levels of generosity amongst poor people than those with enough to share.

Poverty and surviving means doing what needs to get done to survive. 
There’s no time to feel sad or reflect and share your problems. 
Its a level of action — caring to ensure those around you survive as well, and repeat. 
Day in and day out,
and the celebration is each day that we are alive.

Poverty is to those living it a reality. A holding cell with no key.

Problems on the other hand, come from the belief that I have the key but until the sun comes up and I can find the hole, I am not able to get out. 
Having problems is a state of mind when we don’t believe in the permanence of the circumstance. Its the luxury to believe we have an exit, we have the time to complain, reflect, feel sorry for ourselves and even get depressed. Its no wonder depression is a first world problem, whereas sadness isn’t allowed to grow to far when your surviving.

This doesn’t mean having problems is easy, and we should smile our merry way through them. It just means to remember that we have the luxury to sit and ponder our problems, to find a resolution that is the best, this means we have options and different tools at hand to deal with our problems. We have access to coaches who have studied to help us, and in this moment to be aware that even though we face a hard time or a challenge we are blessed to have a problem with potential to be solved.

I am no expert, just an intrigued and humbled person who would like to learn from those richer than me in virtues and shed some light on those of us who have a problem or two.

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