What If We Don’t Improve After a Difficult Experience?
“One of the unspeakable things that I think might even be the most unspeakable way of carrying on is this idea of not improving from an experience, not becoming a better person, not having a redemption. Our culture is so obsessed with the idea that you’re going to go through a crisis or some difficult event and come out the other side a changed or improved person and I just think that if you’re honest, that often does not happen, and in fact, it shouldn’t happen.
Shouldn’t recovering from a crisis be measured in whether you stayed the same? I mean, I went through a horrible illness, and thank God, I came out the same person. I see that as a triumph. But we’re so unwilling to admit that, and there’s such a stigma in the culture about sort of not growing or not being interested in growing or not going beyond your comfort zone, all these aphorisms that come from self-help culture and 12-step culture. So, to me, I guess being in my 40s has been a process of accepting not self-love, but self-tolerance. Maybe that’s what it is. I’m working on self-tolerance.”