I hate the saying “everything happens for a reason.” “Who’s reason?” and “How do you know this?” are my immediate thoughts. I don’t like to think that there is a “reason” behind every painful and unpleasant experience we face. But there is a law in this universe (like gravity) that no significant progress or growth comes without a little discomfort, a little struggle, and breaking through some resistance.
Remember losing your teeth? For me at least, the first set didn’t always come out painlessly. And then as the second set came in, there was some discomfort; a general unpleasantness to it. But there was also a hopefulness in it. Because I had the knowledge that what was coming up beneath the surface, was something new, and improvement on what was. The next level in my development.
I’m not the type of person to tell you that everything you’re going through is for some perfect reason and it’ll all make sense in the end. But I can verify through experience and my knowledge of how the world works, that there is no important change that occurs without a little discomfort. Even the miracle of Birth, one of the most important and magical experiences of transformation that we humans can experience, is fraught with physical discomfort and culminates in what many would describe as the worst naturally-occurring pain humans can know.
Why is this? I can’t give you a definitive answer, but maybe it has something to do with natural selection. You see, if you are unable to survive the struggle to get to that next level in your life then maybe you just weren’t cut out for it, and the stronger elements of the species will survive and go forward instead.
Darwin might agree, but that’s a little too scientific for me. From a spiritual perspective maybe it’s the universe’s way of building character within us. literally using the chisel of struggle to sculpt us into more whole, stronger, and more beautiful souls. It Sucks! but then again so did falling off of your bike a bunch of times before you started cruising around the streets with no hands, feeling a freedom like never before.
So here’s the honest truth you need to accept if you ever want to do anything great in your life. There will be discomfort. There will be a struggle. You will feel fear.
You will overcome it. And if you put Process over Progress, become RESOLVED to seeing it through, and shift your perspective from “why is this happening to me” to “what am I learning from this that is going to aide me in the next level of my personal growth?” You will be able to approach it better, and get that much more from it because you are aware of what’s really taking place. Growth. It won’t make the struggle less, but never underestimate the power of a mind-set shift to make major improvements in how you deal with things.
You want to lose weight? Gain Muscle? Tone up? “ Stop looking for magic solutions. It is a STRUGGLE! and I don’t mean this in a negative sense, It doesn’t have to be boring or torturous, It can be fun! *cough-ilovekickboxing.com-cough*….excuse me…. but if we’re being real here it’s going to take some work!
Literally you have to consistently overcome resistance (i.e. weights, bands, body-weight) to build strength and endurance. It’s going to make you feel like: “this sucks I would rather eat ice cream!” It’s going to have you searching your brain for any little thing that can make it easier. If you find something, use it! But not as a crutch or substitute for effort. Know that the struggle is not some external bad-guy meant to make you suffer. For whatever the reason, it is a part of the Process, that is going to get you where you want to be.
Want an awesome relationship? It’s going to take a little discomfort to have those important conversations. To explain what you need, how you believe, what needs to be worked on. You’re going to have to have your heart broken and maybe break a few hearts to figure out just who you need and don’t need in your life, when to compromise and when compromise is not really an option.
Want the best job ever? You may have to take the suckiest job of your life in the interim, while you wait for the right opportunity to present itself. If you wallow in the fact that your job sucks and you don’t have your eyes open to the world with a hopeful optimism and confidence that there is more out there for you, you will be asleep when opportunity comes knocking on your door.
Last year I went through the most unpleasant financial struggle of my life. It really rocked my identity. I, a college graduate, a very talented individual with certificates and awards and accolades in several different industries found myself working for just over minimum wage in a job that sapped me physically and mentally. Part of this struggle was one of pride. I didn’t think I should have been where I was. Another part of this struggle was spiritual. Why me? Had I not made the right choices in following my dreams? Did I not deserve more?
If I had let my thoughts stop there, in the “why me” realm of thinking I would probably be there to this day, still thinking “why me” as each hour that ticks away eats another small part of my soul and identity as someone who overcomes and perseveres.
But instead I used every lunch break as a time to look for other opportunities. I thought of ways to build my own business, to create opportunities for myself, I wrote, I studied, I schemed and plotted. I found the job that I’m at now and LOVE. I just got a promotion there this week!!!, and looking back I realize that even though it was unpleasant, there was a lot that I learned from that situation that is going to aide me in the next phase of life. Or reassure me if I ever find myself there again. Because life is not always a linear trajectory.
Obviously I don’t know your life, and I’m not telling you everything happens for a reason. But I am telling you that there is an unseen beauty in the struggle. If the Struggle is an inferno, somewhere at it’s core is a bar of gold that is meant for you to take with you to the next level in your life. Some things are devastating, debilitating, and illogical. But know that there is a law to the universe. What goes up must come down. A seed that is sown in fertile soil must one day bloom. A muscle that is broken down repairs bigger and stronger than before. Yeah sometimes I wax poetic, but bottom line:
Your struggle is the springboard to your next best self. Embrace it when you can. lament it when you hate it, but know that it’s all a part of the process.
Thanks so much for reading. Great things are on the horizon for you. Until next Blog.
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Originally published at Ellis E. Fowler.