Jim Dalling’s Pop Psychology November 6, 1983

As a therapist working in Downtown Dartmouth, I love to play  with heavy existential conversations.(that’s right play) The top 100 songs on November 6 1983 had a few songs with the same kind of delight.

The most obvious one is King of Pain by the Police. Charting at #13 that week, King of Pain captures a truth about human existence. Everywhere we look our choices lead to one pain or another. In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson argues that living a full life requires people to empower themselves by acknowledging they have the power to pick the pain of their choosing.

People come to me in this state:

I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running ’round my brain

With this in mind:

I guess I’m always hoping that you’ll end this reign

That’s right, that somehow, I can help end people’s pain. As a therapist, I help people chose their pain and take control of their lives.

But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain

When we accept responsibility for our own lives, we all can be the king of pain. In doing so, we can experience greater agency, greater control over our lives. Many people come to therapy seeking increased happiness. I help people find something else: meaning, contentment. People who chose their own pain understand that no matter what choices we make, these choices involve necessary losses. Life isn’t comfortable and pain-free. It’s really a matter of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

So, in a world where every choice leads to some kind of pain, choosing your preferred pain puts you on the throne:

Bonus track: #1 on the charts that week is a personal favorite of mine: Islands in the Stream. Kenny and Dolly?  Bliss. Best part of this video? The pleasure the two of them obviously have to sing together. Look at the twinkle in their eyes. Such generosity, presence and love.

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