Hi meaningful leaders,
I hope you had an amazing weekend. Mine was busy as this week I’m launching my revamped website and I had a longer-than-normal laundry list to work on because of it.
For this week I want to us to talk about embracing the challenges life throws our way and what that looks like.
Have you ever felt like you’re drowning and there’s no way out? Yeah, me too. However, there’s something amazing that happens when we find ourselves at the end of our rope.
There’s a beautiful and insightful quote from Rumi that comes to mind:
Growing always carries with it its proverbial growing pains. Yet a lot of people want a plug-&-play solution without going to the process it takes to get it….without paying the price. Yet, there’s such beauty that can be found in the struggle. The struggle reminds us of our limitations. It tests us on our skills, our patience, our humbleness. It’s squishes the arrogance that wasn’t serving us and reminds us that we are still a work in progress and there are skills we still need to develop and people we need to reach out to, It reminds us that we cannot do it alone, because a team effort will always trump the scarcity of going at it by ourselves.
The struggle can be a great teacher, and as such it has the power to leave us either bitter or better. Attempting to live an easy live and achieving success while at it is simply an oxymoron. Life’s struggles, same as a sculptor crafting a piece of art out of a block of rock, will start chiseling every part of ourselves that is hiding the greatness of our final design.
This process is difficult, yes, but it’s the only gateway to get equipped for every new stage we are to encounter. Every trial we endure becomes the tooling set we’ll use to get to the next level. Remember the movie Slumdog Millionaire, the main character Jamal Malik is the contestant of Kaun Banega Crorepati or KBC for short; which is an Indian-Hindi television show similar to the American show How Wants To Be A Millionaire. Jamal surprises everyone by being able to answer every question correctly, winning 20 million Indian Rupees. Accused of cheating, Jamal recounts his life story to the police, illustrating how he is able to answer each question correctly because of all the things that he’d endured. Same as Jamal, through our life struggles is where the biggest and most impactful lessons we’ll need to be equipped with, will be crafted.
There are three very important elements of embracing the struggle:
- Building up our resilience
- Learning how to forgive
- Seeking support
Building up our resilience:
Resilience is the ability to bounce back up after a setback or a loss. As we all know, challenges and difficulties are an engrained part of being humans. However, what differentiates successful people from the rest is the ability to approach said problems with an open perspective and with hope.
One of the most important qualities found among resilience people, is the clarity to understand that these things happen to everyone, that suffering, loss, and tragedy, are part of life. They don’t particularly welcome the hardship in with open arms, but when it comes (and it will come), they accept it and don’t feel singled out and targeted by it. Successful people understand that what happens to us represents only 20% of the equation, and how we react to it, represents the other 80%.
Our resilience will help us to confront the struggle, embrace it, learn from it, and move on with a valuable lesson under our belt. Understanding that vulnerability and courage are pivotal in this process is key.
Learning how to forgive:
This one is a tricky one because of our human nature. It’s easy to get trapped into the sticky hands of grudge and resentment when we feel we’ve been wronged. Our natural responses to this wrongdoing often begin with a perception of threat. This perception triggers our “fight-or-flight'” response, causing our adrenal glands kick into high gear. At this point, our bodies get flooded with adrenaline and logical, rational thought pretty much stops (at least momentarily). Yet, after the initial threat has passed, we are left with the pain of what was done to us, which keeps replaying in our heads, fueling emotions like anger, hate, sadness, grief, nostalgia, all looping into an ongoing cycle and of course, there’s also the proverbial unanswered why.
However, there’s so much liberating power in the act of forgiving. We don’t have to expect an apology or an act of atonement from the guilty party in order to start our healing process. We have the autonomy to go at it on our own, without an external expectations. We must forgive others because that grudge and resentment holds tremendous power that we are willingly giving away to the person who’s wronged us. As the saying goes, holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die from it.
Forgiveness opens the door for healing. And forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. We do acknowledge the harm that was done, we practice empathy and try to understand why that person did what he or she did and then we let it go. Don’t lose the lesson, just let go of the hold that pain has over you. If the person who wronged you want to make amends and is willing to work at rebuilding the trust for the sake of your relationship, by all means, go for it. But don’t be tied to the pain just because that apology never came.
And part of learning how to forgive, we should do a revision of our past mistakes and start by forgiving ourselves first for not knowing any better. Sometimes, we unconsciously continue to judge our younger self for the errors of the past, not realizing how much impact that has against our ability to practice self compassion and self love.
Let bygones be bygones….after all, It is what it is, nothing you can do today can change what happened in the past, all you can do is regain your power over the situation and learn the lesson said struggle is trying to teach you, but don’t allow it to change you.
Pain tends to isolate us, we retract, it’s a normal reaction. But we were created to crave community, we need each other to find balance. Needing help and support doesn’t make you weak, on the contrary, it’s a sign of strength and humbleness. Surround yourself with people who speak life into you. Those who are there for you through thick and thin. In the world we live in, millions of people define their worth by number of likes and followers they have on social media; yet your true connections are the people in your corner, the ones who love you always, specially when your feed is unpolished and messy.
Talking things out with the right person is the best way to start to find healing. Sometimes that looks like a chat with a friend, sometimes (especially for me) that looks like a prayer in the quiet of my room. Find what works for you and go for it. If you seek a friend to talk to, make sure is someone who’s objective and wants truly what’s best for you. It’s easy to get trapped in a circle of people that just want to know your business for the sake of gossiping and that could care less about the pain you’re going through, be careful.
Embracing the struggle can definitely make us better for it. It will equip us to do more as we’ll become wiser and more poised on the other side of it. Nothing in life worth having comes easily. Valuable things come with a price tag, the more valuable, the higher the price to pay will be. If you want to move forward, be ready to confront the obstacles. Embrace them with open arms, approach failure with joy as it’ll take through the path of success and always practice self compassion…remember that you, same as I, are both a work in progress and a work of progress all wrapped into one.
I hope there was value for you here today. If so, please like, comment and share with one person who can benefit from reading these words.
Have an amazing rest of your week, do a thorough inventory of where you are in the forgiveness department, there’s always work to do there and God bless,
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