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Addicted to the struggle

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Addicted to the struggle

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Being attached or addicted to “the struggle” causes so many of us a great deal of stress, worry, and pain. What’s up with this? It’s like we prepare for a fight that doesn’t even exist. Do you ever do that?

For many of us, we get stuck in the past because of our need for certainty. Certainty is one of the six basic human needs and is fundamentally about survival. We all need to feel certain that we can avoid pain and, ideally, find some comfort in our lives.  It’s frightening to step into the unknown. It’s difficult to be vulnerable. And it can be overwhelmingly uncomfortable to have that sense of uncertainty about what lies ahead. So we hang on to the past – because even if it’s steeped in pain, it’s what we are familiar with and what we feel certain about.
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Although it may seem counterintuitive to us, letting go of our addiction to struggle is one of the best ways we can show up for those around us.

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We use the word Survivor, for people who have overcome the struggle. But what is next…our mentoring program is geared towards finding solutions and building a new future. But what if you have known nothing but struggle?

Some of the main reasons we us to justify the struggle:

  • If I don’t have to struggle for something, it doesn’t really mean all that much.
  • If things come easy to me, other people will get jealous, won’t like me, and/or won’t respect me.
  • It’s not fair for things to be easy for me (i.e., I have to struggle) — especially with so many people having such a hard time these days.
  • I actually get off on struggling and suffering — I’m quite familiar with it, and I’ve used it as motivation to change and “succeed” for much of my life.
  • My ability to work hard, overcome adversity, and rise above challenges are all things my ego uses to feel superior to others.
  • If I don’t struggle for something, when it happens I won’t feel like I deserve it.
  • Struggling allows me to avoid taking responsibility for certain aspects of my life and keeps me “focused,” so I get to avoid uncomfortable feelings, situations, and circumstances I don’t really want to deal with.

Can you relate to any of these? Maybe you have others as well.Getting in touch with some of these reasons and beliefs can be both painful and eyeopening at the same time.
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What if we allowed things to be easier? What if we started to speak about and own the aspects of our lives that are actually easy to us and started to expect things to get even easier? What if we let go of our attachment (or addiction, as it were) to struggle? Easy doesn’t mean lazy — that we aren’t willing to work in a passionate way, or that we expect a “free ride.” It means that we’re willing to have things work out, trust that all is well, and allow life to flow in a positive and elegant way for us.

Our desire and ability to embrace ease in our life isn’t selfish, arrogant, or unrealistic — it’s profoundly optimistic (in an authentic way) and can actually enhance our ability to impact others. The more energy and attention we place on surviving, getting by, or even “striving” for success, the less available we are to give, serve, and make a difference for other people.
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Although it may seem counterintuitive to us, letting go of our addiction to struggle is one of the best ways we can show up for those around us — both by our example and with our freed up positive energy.

What if we stopped arguing on behalf of how “hard” things are and started to allow our life to be filled with more peace and ease, instead of perpetuating the struggle? While the idea of things authentically being easy may not be, ironically, the easiest thing for you to embrace, let’s challenge ourselves to take this on in our life and become more comfortable with it. Maybe it will actually be easier than you think!
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