The Positive Side of Struggle

Struggle is part of what has made me who I am today- that’s the absolutely cool part.  Now that I can take care of myself, I do.  It has taken a lot of faith and work to sift through the issues; it’s really been a process of refining. 

Persevering through struggle teaches that sometimes all we need to do is push just a little farther.  Sometimes we need to just hang in there another day or week before we see the differences in life manifest.

The deeper I go, the more insight I get, which leads to greater application. 

Am I Expecting Someone Else to Make Me Happy?

Don’t I realize that I hand over the control panel of my sanity, self- esteem and sanctity when I do that?  I end up condemning myself, placing my happiness on the shifting moods and circumstances that may or may not govern someone’s life.  When someone doesn’t give the presence of mind to ‘be there’ for me in the way that I expect, I allow myself to go on a roller coaster of emotional tirades, surrendering all hope of peace.  Indeed, when I don’t give the presence of mind to myself, namely the mindfulness needed to live one moment at a time in contentment, to seek the answers within myself by not listening to my God, I am set up for self-isolation and massive disappointment.

I need to remember that I’m responsible for my own happiness.  When I understand that thoroughly, I will exude that and others may even perceive it.  If not, that’s ok, too.  Other people and their shifting intimacies and coinciding interests have no power over my moment-to-moment happiness.

Emotional security and maturity recognizes that others have a right to seek their own path and enjoy the fulfillment of life on their level, too.  When we’re truly free to interact with each other with as much intimacy that is safe and appropriate for all parties involved, then relationships can not only exist, but they can grow.

Going deeper:

What motivates me to stay emotional sane?

What emotional clues should I look for in myself to indicate that I may be going down the path of emotional dependency on others?

What benchmarks do I use to measure my growth and maturity?

Testing

God has allowed this testing, so I have MADE myself feel through it.  Not rationalize it or over analyze it, rather feel it and move on to the next thing.  Feel it again and move on again.  Whenever I pick it up, I set it back down.  I hear the song and I turn it off.  I read the article, I close the window.  I read the verse and I re-apply it elsewhere. 

There is an enormous, vacuous territory amid the remnant of my memory now.  Slowly, steadily I apply stoicism as an ointment and time mingled with distance as a bandage.  Yes, I wrap my stoicism with time and distance; in replace of where my heart once danced freely, merrily within thinly veiled, gossamer borders. 

I now allow questions to go unanswered; misconceptions unchallenged.  In this, I am released. 

Little Miracles

Amid the tedious nature of all daily things lies the miraculous; hiding in the open.  Each witnessing opportunity, each divine appointment- it’s all I can do to maintain some measure of dignity in public without bursting forth in tears at the joy of a life saved, at a mind changed, at a heart softened.  Just thinking about these moments and those in between gives me chills.

Life is Short

Life is short.  if we aren’t careful with whom we let slip in and out of our lives, we’ll soon be filled with regret. 

Make amends while there’s still time. 

Say what needs to be said,

and love each other

Don’t wait.  Someday, all of this ends.  Don’t let it end with the unspoken.

Change

The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it.” –Anais Nin

Try: Moving Beyond Self-Loathing

Have you ever noticed that so many of life’s battles are lost due to forfeit?  Think about it:  How many times have you allowed an opportunity to pass you by because you were afraid to fail?  I know I have more times than I can probably count.  The reasons for this were varied.  Sometimes I was overwhelmed or physically tired.  But the most common reason was a certain level of discomfort over the ‘what ifs’ of the situation.  I would be filled with dread over the possibility of a conflict, an embarrassment or any number of possible outcomes resulting in my social demise.

For example, I would see a way to improve a situation in the workplace and instead of working on that improvement, I would torture myself with doubt until I gave up on the notion.  I’m not talking about making your average list of pros and cons, I’m talking about imagining other people’s reactions at my attempts and how I would react in turn.  Being a woman with a very active imagination, I would build these fear-based, complex scenarios in my mind.  Soon I would talk myself out of attempting whatever challenge presented itself.   This wasn’t just limited to the workplace, this was applicable to many of my interpersonal relationships, too. I felt that others would reject me or my ideas if given the chance.  I felt that I would become even more isolated than I already was, fearing the inevitability of total irrelevance someday. I saw myself alone, criticized, scorned…you name it.  It became so exhausting to run through this litany of worst case scenarios that I finally had a moment of reckoning.  I questioned where this paralyzing routine was coming from and, once discovered, zeroed in on those issues.  I set out to confront my insecurities by keeping a list of the more positive aspects of being an active part of society.  Next, I observed others.  I especially took note of those coworkers who were less experienced and skilled, but had still surpassed me in the workplace. I wondered why they didn’t seem to have the same debilitating self-talk that had become such a stronghold in my life.

I took my observations to a life coach and worked out a plan to move out of my rut.  My first order of business was to accept these 3 key points:  1) That there may be those who try to discourage me from reaching my potential.  2)  The only one I can control is myself.  3) I need to build a life from which I don’t want to escape.  These simple truths, along with my faith helped me to move beyond the threshold of doubt.

To bolster my newfound beliefs, I made a list of key points, some of which are listed here.  The next time you’re filled with dread over what may happen by stretching beyond your comfort zone, try applying some of these:

This is an opportunity.  I am grateful for the chance to grow.

Most of which I am worried about, never comes to pass.

Being nervous is nothing out of the ordinary, it may even give me an edge.

I’m doing what others can’t or won’t.

I’m practicing the uncommon art of accepting criticism graciously, without letting it stop me from showing up for my life.

I may meet someone influential that may help me change the entire trajectory  of my life.

I am proud of my accomplishments.

I’m learning how to endure and flourish; an amazing life skill.

These are just a few of the things to keep in mind when you’re faced with uncertainty.  Being there with your best self will do more for your esteem than sitting in a corner, letting another opportunity to achieve your goals pass.  Don’t be afraid to shine.  Be honest in your assessment of yourself and work on the things that can be changed. Then you will absorb life’s lessons. Then, and only then, can you appreciate the journey.