by Linda-Ann Stewart
Recently, a belief surfaced for me that was an aspect of a deeper issue concerning the need to struggle. This specific belief stressed that I could only learn and grow through difficulty. It claimed that it was necessary for me to experience blocks and obstacles, since that was the only way to strengthen me.
It made me realize how pervasive this idea of struggle, suffering and difficulty is in our culture. From religion to business, we’re conditioned to believe that life has to be hard and that we’re born to suffer. Our society has made suffering and struggle a condition to aspire to. Not only is it condoned, it’s expected. Think of the things you’ve heard from childhood.
- Life is hard
- Money doesn’t grow on trees
- You have to work hard to earn a living
- Only by working hard can you get ahead
- You have to learn from your own mistakes
- You can only learn from challenges
- What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
- You’ll never learn from other peoples’ mistakes
- If you haven’t struggled, then you don’t appreciate what you have
- The only thing that teaches you is suffering
- If things come easily to you, then you’re shallow because you haven’t struggled
- You have to walk a mile in another person’s shoes to appreciate their suffering
People actually play a game of one-ups-man-ship about how hard their life is. “I worked more hours than anyone else in the department,” or “My life is harder/worse than anyone else’s.” They get perks from management with the first, and a jolt of power with the second (believe it or not).
If people like this try to draw you in, disregard them. No matter what you do, you can’t please these discontented people. If you engage in their game, they’ll keep upping the ante. When someone says something like that to me, my internal commentary is, “You win. I’d rather have an enjoyable life than a hard one.”
It’s true that suffering sometimes can encourage a person to grow. But more often than not, it just causes them to dig a deeper hole. Struggle may strengthen character, but it’s more likely to cause a person to implode and be self-destructive.
When this belief surfaced for me, I realized that, to a certain extent and in limited amounts, struggle and suffering could be beneficial. It can wake us up and cause us to aspire to something better. Too much of it, though, and it’s counter-productive. In large amounts, it doesn’t build a person up, it breaks them down.
It’s like stress. A little stress helps propel us to develop new ideas, new ways of doing things, and actually creates interest in life. What would life be without a little excitement? To build muscle, we stretch and stress them. But train too hard, and we strain or tear our muscles. Having too much stress for too long harms our health.
We can choose what to believe. Our beliefs create our reality. Since, in the past, I’d successfully transformed a belief to be more constructive, I decided to do the same thing with this one.
I considered how I could turn the idea of struggle around to be more in alignment with the Universe. What if the solution appeared as soon as I hit a snag? What if I could learn lessons while things flowed easily for me?
It may take some time for me to integrate these ideas, but I know that when I do, my life will be enriched. Try it for yourself. You just might be surprised at how wonderful your life can be without believing you need to struggle.
There is no struggle, strife, stress or suffering in the Universal Spirit, which I am a part of. I now erase from my mind the belief that any of these limited ideas are necessary. My life can flow smoothly, while I learn and grow with ease. The answer to any challenge is already apparent as soon as the issue arises. Ideas and internal resources increase as I allow myself to be more open to the flow of the Universe.
Copyright 2011 Linda-Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved