We all go through periods of our lives that feel like a struggle. It is a part of the human existence and no one is exempt. Our sense of struggle can be a blip on the radar i.e an uncomfortable trip to the dentist. Or it can last longer as our days, weeks, and months becoming an endless cycle that constantly weighs on our shoulders. When this happens, the tendency is to accept struggle as “normal” and even necessary to achieving what we want. While I do agree that with struggle comes a certain degree of character building, where we fall short is getting trapped in the whole idea of contant struggle such that life always feels like that and we lose our sense of flow. Life is not meant to be a struggle; it’s not meant to be hard. But we make it that way mostly because of how our minds perceive difficulty and hardship.
When we experience struggle, 3 things can happen:
- We perceive hardship has negative
- We fall out of flow and become a victim to our circumstance
- We identify with struggle and make it a part of who we are
But what would change if we looked at struggle as a gift or an internal message of an area of our lives that needs addressing?
Struggle puts us in direct contact with the areas of our selves and our lives that we most need to work on. You ever wonder why some things come more naturally for others than it does for us?
Take for example speaking up. You find that speaking your voice and sharing your ideas is oftentimes a struggle for you whereas for others it seems like a walk in the park. A typical scenario for you would go like this: you’re in a meeting at your job or some sort of social event. You remain mostly quiet during conversation; listen while other people inject their ideas or opinions, you finally try to utter a word but someone else who’s louder and a bit more direct than you starts talking at the same time and drowns you out. You go home that night feeling annoyed, mentally exhausted, and you decide you don’t like meetings or socializing because who likes to hear a bunch of loud mouths get together to talk about nothing. Who even cares?
What you might see in that attitude if you look a little closer is a part of you that desires to share her voice and speak it freely. You might see someone who admires those who are confident but doesn’t believe she is has the same capability. You might feel that the difficulty you have in speaking up goes back to the time in the classroom when you spoke up and students made fun of you for it. Today the struggle you feel is an opportunity to deepen your own personal work so that becomes less of a struggle for you tomorrow. By learning what underlies our sense of struggle and who we’re becoming as a result of it, we can then decide how to use it to our advantage.
This comes with observing the area of our life that feels hard or difficult, leaning into it, and choosing to see what it might be showing you about yourself.
Remember what our good friend Frederick Douglas said, “without struggle, there is no progress”. So take every struggle as your invitation to get curious and discover what feels out of flow and how it might be holding you back. Rewrite your story and see yourself on the other side of struggle as a newer version of your former self.
Let me know how it goes....firstname.lastname@example.org.
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