Quote from The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776:
“[M]ankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed”.
Thomas Jefferson* was 33 years old when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. “Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” In other words, as humans we are more inclined to stay miserable than fix the problem. He knew human behavior. He believed in the suffering concept so strongly that he wrote a document to move people forward because they were unlikely to do it for themselves. Better to be miserable than take risks. Better to be miserable than expend energy. Better to be miserable than look foolish. Better to be miserable than……
However, he also knew that when people are miserable enough, they will seek change. He wrote the Declaration of Independence to declare the people had suffered enough and needed separation.
After stating that mankind is more likely to stay stuck, he described the problems. He listed, in detail, the issues so that every reader could understand. By stating clearly what hardships the people of the colonies were suffering under the rule of the King of England, he declared, in essence, enough is enough, we are done, it’s over, drop the mic. (Ok, that was taking a little writer’s liberty, but, point made).
If you break down his actions, he: 1) recognized the suffering, (awareness) 2) recognized that people will suffer instead of change,(stuck) 3) specified the problems to bring awareness to everyone, (naming the issues) 4) made a commitment to take action, (decision). And, that is what we are all called to do in our lives.
Are you suffering in some aspect of your life? Are you aware of the things that are hard for you or have your been living in hardship for so long that you don’t recognize it any longer? We tolerate things that are problems, that are difficult, that are hardships. We put up with negative attitudes, housing problems, work discrimination, judgments about weight, income, ill fitting clothing, harsh parents. And these are hardships for women; add the additional layers that come with being lesbian.
What are you suffering with instead of making a change? Are you stuck where you are? Are you making the choice of suffering instead of choosing another path? Granted, the other path may be risky, scary, an unknown. But it may lead you to a better, easier way of life, or not. That’s the dilemma, isn’t it? Should I stay or should I go, now?
To help answer that question, do what Jefferson did. Make a list. Can you identify specifically the problem(s)? Can you name the issues you are dealing with? Name the people who are difficult or describe the circumstances that paved the way of your suffering? Use the list to make decisions. Keep the list for a future reference, in case you need to justify in your own mind why you made the decisions you did.
Consider giving some thought to what your hardships are. Make a List. Make a decision. Make a commitment. Write your own Declaration of Independence.
* This blog is about The Declaration of Independence. It is not an approval of all of Thomas Jefferson’s behaviors, beliefs and actions. Let’s be clear: His ownership of slaves was despicable. I encourage you to read the original document. It’s interesting, particularly in light of the problems our country is currently encountering.