I have to confess a secret pleasure of mine: listening to or watching TV/music/news that are polar opposites from my political/social/religious views. I like to consider it a personal form of schadenfreude. My favorite form of self-inflicted outrage comes from the conservative Christian enclave...most recently "The Message" station on Sirius Radio.
Driving home after a exhausting weekend I needed something that would keep me alert for the final ten minutes of the trip. "I know, let's listen to contemporary Christian music...that will get me going!" I said to myself. Lo and behold was dear Amy Grant singing "Don't Try So Hard."
Now before anyone dismisses this as a religious-themed post, I ask you to stay with me, gentle reader.
The song, "Don't Try So Hard" (lyrics here), basically is a typical me-centered approach to God, salvation and our struggles and doubts through our lives. But what got me - what really got me - was the refrain: "Don't try so hard." Yes, the song talks about being too hard on ourselves (for our transgressions, flaws etc.) but it's basically a dulcet manifesto to complacency.
As a therapist and musician - and as as human being - I have learned, first hand, that the things in life that matter require work...lots of work. To be told that we should just relax and let things be (don't try so hard) is disingenuous. Things that matter require work...and patience and love. None of us are born with an innate ability to accept ourselves and other for who they are (or aren't). None of us can simply silence the inner voices of self-doubt and fear that plague our thoughts and emotions every day. It takes work.
I'm not saying that everything in life should be a struggle. The important things, however, will require more than a simple laissez-faire attitude. Society tells us that we must be thin, toned and tanned...most of us aren't - it takes work to overcome those voices. Most of us measure our worth against magazine images and reality TV shows...never realizing that those images are anything but reality. We define love and worth in terms of material possessions and Facebook "likes"...failing to see that real human support and relationships surround us daily.
So I say life should be work...hard work. Make it matter. Care about it. So try...try hard - I'm sure Amy Grant did.
My thoughts and reactions to the world in which we live...completely biased and unfiltered.