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The thorn in the arm

In his book, The Untethered Soul, Michel Singer tells the story of a person with a thorn in his arm.

This person has a thorn stuck in his arm, and it is extremely painful when something brushes against it. This means that he can't sleep freely on his bed and has to ensure nothing comes in contact with the thorn. So, he builds a protective device for it and wears it all the time. This way, nothing will ever brush against it and he can sleep well and commute in the crowded metro without worrying too much.

Also, because of the thorn, he can't lift heavy weights or play games that involves free movement of the arm like basketball or boxing. So, with his protective device on, he resorts to playing golf and chess instead.

In order to avoid the pain caused by the thorn, he found ways to not trigger that pain and created a life around that thorn.

When the better option would have been to remove the thorn.

Removing the thorn is very painful, yes, but it is only temporary. Once that pain passes, the recovery is quick and there are no hindrances to the full use of the arm.

Yet, we often deal with the problems we face in life the same way the person in the book deals with the thorn. We don't address our weaknesses and lack of confidence. We don't reconcile our differences with our partners and friends. We shy away from telling someone the truth when we think it might hurt them. We wait to be chosen instead of going out and creating the things we want. We blame our politicians and yet discard solutions that we think are hard to implement in the "current system". We don't do things we love because we are afraid that won't help us live up to the social image expected of us.

We can either build our lives around our thorns.

Or we can remove them.

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