Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Martyrdom Is Not Easy

on January 21, 2013

The local sportswear shop had a t-shirt in their window display that caught my eye last week. It read “nothing worth it comes easy”. There were two points with the message that I have taken issue with:

  1. Easy in this context is an adverb. It should read “nothing worth it comes easily”.
  2. That’s a load of rubbish.

We’re a culture of martyrs, and messages like this one are just another tool we use to rub our martyrdom in other people’s faces. Unfortunately, everyone around us is also busy being a martyr, and so we have to increase our perceived martyrdom in order to compete.

Love is worth it, and love is the easiest thing in the world. Love means accepting someone for who they are and being happy that they’re in your life. Instead of acknowledging the simplicity of this, we moan about how difficult love is. We attach so many other ideas to it that we kill the loving foundation. We take the person we proclaim we love, and try to beat them into a new shape and personality. If we fail, we moan about how awful they are to anyone who will listen. If we succeed, we moan about how they have changed and are no longer the person we fell in love with. Well duh. Love is easy; control and manipulation are not.

Health is worth it, and the second easiest thing in the world. If you think getting a bit of fresh air, good food and exercise is hard, try living with a chronic illness for comparison purposes. A healthy body can easily run around the block on a warm spring day; an unhealthy body will struggle to get dressed in the morning. Restoring health is as simple as quitting the behaviours and habits that destroy it. To tweak the slogan: just don’t do it.

Fulfilling work is worth it, and the third easiest thing in the world. What could be simpler than waking up excited to start the day? It’s certainly easier than waking up, pulling the pillow over your head, and battling your emotions for half an hour while flailing half-heartedly at the snooze button. Getting up every morning to do things you hate is very hard, and rarely worth it. Living your dreams is easy.

The only things I can think about that are hard and worth doing are the things that I don’t have the skill or the strength to do. The best thing about skills is that I can easily acquire them with the right tools and teachers. Strength might take a while longer to gain, but I can get around that by finding the right tools and asking for help. It’s amazing how easy it is to find help in our culture: everyone else wants to be a martyr.

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