The Value of Struggling
Everyone struggles with issues from time to time.
The question is how do you work with something that you are struggling with? When something arises that has you struggling, you might look at what is going on, and then react by saying: “Oh, there’s a big mess here. I don’t think I want to work at this. I think I will find someone or something that can fix this mess.”
You can see whatever the problem is that you’re struggling with as the issue, or you may see the struggle itself as the problem. Either way, if you resist acknowledging the value of struggling, you will slow the learning and most likely the issue will resurface again and again.
The learnings that provide lasting fulfillment are the ones that are personal to you and arise because there is something that you really care about and something for you to learn. If someone else hands you an answer, you are not likely to integrate it as powerfully as when you wrestle with it yourself.
Struggling with an issue can be a catalyst for a new insight. It can also be an acknowledgment that your deepest longings are coming to the surface. If you ignore this and distract yourself with old habits, or patterns that numb your anxiety about the struggle, or you go looking for a Rescuer, you may block your ability to face what your life is trying to tell you.
We’re not talking about causing pain in your life, but genuinely grappling with whatever is at hand, and taking responsibility for evolving into the person you want to be.
When you’re able to hold the dynamic tension around the struggle, you’re able to go underneath what is on the surface into a deeper question that your life is asking you to address. This burning question cannot be answered by anyone else. But it is tempting to look for a Rescuer to take away your struggle and provide the answer.
Recurring situations that create a struggle in your life are not by chance or happenstance. When you take on a mindset of valuing a struggle and the same issues keep arising, you’re able to say, “Ah, look here. Here it comes again. Another opportunity to continue to clarify what I most care about.”
With a change in mindset, you can learn to actually appreciate the struggle and rest in the question of what wants to arise. When you get to this point it means you’re getting closer to the next level of personal awareness and the capacity to expand your ability to be with life’s challenges. Now you are experiencing life from a perspective of your inner experience with the struggle, rather than the content of the struggle itself.
Here’s a metaphor to illustrate the impact of struggling with struggling. Consider you are a tree that bears fruit, and when the flower buds begin to blossom you say: “I don’t want the pain of bearing this fruit. I just want my leaves. When the buds appear, I will pinch them off and not allow the fruit to grow.” If you are this fruit tree, eventually you will never bear fruit, and will stop your growth.
It may be helpful after you’ve struggled with a question to ask for support. Rather than ask for someone to be a Rescuer, learn to formulate a question that you want more insight and awareness. Second, seek out people that understand the Coach role in TED* (The Empowerment Dynamic)®. They can compassionately support you, and at the same time, they leave the power with you to clarify your struggle and what you want to create.
Learning the value of struggling can be the fire and heat inside of you that brings an entirely new understanding and relationship with yourself as a Creator.