What William James Teaches About Life

Isn’t it weird? I have a four year degree in psychology and never took the time to read about the life of William James. The founder of American Psychology. Now what I read about him was a small snippet from the book by Mark Mans: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A #@%! . Again what I read was really brief, but man was powerful and God only knew that it was I needed to read at the given moment.

I never knew that he had so many health problems, such a stomach, vision and back problems. Or more precisely back spasms, that could take a lot out of him. Much like myself. He was born into a wealthy family, had a very successful brother and sister.

I also didn’t know that he at one point of his life spent so much time at home, doing the one thing that he really enjoyed doing. Painting. His father on the other hand, was not very keen on the fact that his son wanted to be an artist. He wanted his son to be successful like his brother and sister and make lots of money. Which isn’t wrong.

However, the pressure and disconnect that William experienced with his father, sent him into long periods of depression. One can only imagine would that must be like, on top of having severe health issues. I could see that even through this small introduction to his life, that he wrestled with shame over his life. It got to the point where he even ran away from his home, for several months. Only driving the wedge further between his father.

William James in spite of all his tribulation, did indeed go onto be very, very successful as his father wanted. It just wasn’t in the way, nor time line that his father desired. Which I think is key for people to wrap their minds around, especially in this society that we live in. Another area of Williams life that stood out to me as well, was that he felt trapped in his circumstances, as though there was no escape for him.

So, he gave himself a years time line, and in that year if his life did not improve at all. Then he would know he was truly powerless over his circumstances. And thus, the only option he would have left would be to end his life. Again, his life did improve.

William James was like me, in his thirties and spend a lot of his time at home. And sometimes I feel like my life cannot get better. And yes, I too have dealt and wrestled with much of the same darkness as he did. And there’s many days in my own life, where the negative self talk runs wild in mind.

What I believe that William James teaches us (once again) as that if we as humans, are wiling to slowly get moving in a forward motion. Life will in fact get better. It may not happen in the time frame that we desire, but it can happen. whatever that is for you. For me, it’s becoming more independent. Which has been a slow process, most of which has been my fault. On the other hand, I think that, this could be all apart of Gods plan at least in some sense. I don’t really know.

What I do know, is that life can get better. If we not only believe it- but put our heads down and move forward. Forgetting about what lies behind.

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