The Struggle of Life
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” — Walter Anderson.
Does it feel like your life consists of an unending series of challenges? Do you often find yourself yearning for your problems to disappear? Longing for that sensation of being on vacation, free from all worries, where time seems to stand still, and your concerns momentarily fade away? Over the years, I’ve had numerous conversations with individuals who promised themselves that life would change after a vacation. They pledged to carve out more time to relax and not take life so seriously. Despite their sincere intentions, the relentless pace of life tends to overshadow their plans, and soon enough, they return to their familiar routines.
So, how can you avoid the pain of defeat and struggle? I recently had a conversation with a friend who was expressing frustration about his most recent endeavor. He mentioned something during the discussion that etched itself into my mind. Given his financial struggles, he wanted to leave his meaningless job and pursue a calling he was passionate about. He wanted to pursue work that offered him personal satisfaction above all else. He wished for a better life without the constant struggle. He believed if success found its way to him, he was powerless to appreciate it since he had become anxious about money for most of his life. He was a victim of his pain, and living a purposeful life was an elusive dream. Have you been in a similar situation before? If so, how did you overcome it, and what did you learn?
Pain or Pleasure?
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” — Anne Lamott
Reclaiming your life isn’t contingent upon altering external circumstances but hinges on redirecting your internal focus. Please take a moment to reread that sentence and allow it to permeate your consciousness. It necessitates a profound longing to transform your existence, regardless of what awaits you on the other side. Just as we’ve all yearned for the serenity of a carefree vacation, only to find ourselves trapped in the quicksand of daily life, the choice to rise above the challenges and cherish the gift of life remains within our grasp. The Freudian pain-pleasure principle underscores that humans inherently pursue pleasure or, conversely, evade pain. You either magnetize opportunities that serve your highest potential or become entangled in a cycle of relentless agony, much like those who return from vacation only to be consumed by the same old routine.
Therefore, to reclaim your life, commence by nurturing awareness of your thoughts and actions, for you alone steer the course of your destiny, unswayed by external forces. The words of the American speaker Jim Rohn echo in my mind: “The same wind blows on us all: the winds of disaster, opportunity, and change. Therefore, it is not the blowing of the wind, but the setting of the sails that will determine our direction in life.” By reframing failure as an opportunity for growth, you unleash the potential for success. Consider each loss a stepping stone toward your goals. It enables refinement and progression with each setback. Avoid tying your self-esteem to failure, as it can hinder your progress. Moreover, transform your frustrations and fears into passion and enthusiasm. People passionate about what they do value the journey, not just the end result. Trivial pursuits become insignificant when you pursue your passions and align with your core values. Many scatter their energies across myriad endeavors, hoping for a favorable outcome—like casting paint on a canvas and expecting a Rembrandt to emerge. Yet, our actions must be deliberate and purposeful.
Above all, taking charge of your life is paramount, rather than simply allowing it to pass you by. While you may have limited control over the outcomes, your ability to master your response remains firmly within your grasp. Reclaiming your life begins with cultivating inner peace and shedding the notion of being victimized by life’s circumstances. It entails collaborating with life’s various conditions recognizing that even the most challenging situations hold the potential for personal growth. Now, as you embark on your journey of self-inquiry, consider these three questions for your journal:
- How can I actively take the reins of my life and steer it in the direction I desire, even when circumstances are beyond my control?
- What steps can I take to release feelings of victimization or powerlessness in the face of life’s challenges?
- How can I embrace the circumstances of my life, recognizing their potential to contribute to my personal growth and transformation?
As you delve into these questions in your journal, remember the valuable advice of Brené Brown, who cautions against falling into the pitfall of powerlessness. She wisely observes that feeling powerless can lead to fear and despair and poses a significant risk to ourselves and those in our vicinity. Instead, endeavor to tap into your inner strength and use it to create a harmonious balance between your internal and external worlds.