Why do we all seem to love a good struggle?
“I feel I should have more of a struggle.”
This is what one client said to me a few weeks ago.
I was a little taken aback by this and expected that, when she heard herself saying it out loud, she’d try to retract or rephrase what she’d said.
But she didn’t.
She stood by it and explained that there’s honestly a part of her that feels like it isn’t right for her life to be too easy.
I then found an opportunity to test drive this on another client (I don’t just treat clients as guinea pigs, promise) and he said “Oh yes, I totally get that. There’s definitely something worthy in the struggle.”
On the face of it, I didn’t really get it. I’m all about acceptance and keeping life simple and straight forward, right? So the thought of moving towards the struggle, choosing for things to be difficult, seemed quite alien to me.
Or so I thought.
When I looked more closely at my own thinking I realised that, although in principle I like to keep things simple, the stories that I’m capable of creating in my own mind have the potential to transmogrify basic events into the most tangled web of what if’s, but’s and may be’s.
It appears that, in my own way, I too have been sucked in by the lure of the struggle.
The clients I’d spoken to seemed to think life should be a bit difficult and I seem to be attracted to making things feel more difficult than they perhaps need to be.
What’s this all about then? What is it that we’re really after when we’re feeling drawn towards the struggle?
It doesn’t seem to feel enough to have had a bit of a lucky break, to have landed on our feet or for things to have just fallen into place. We need to have earned our good stuff. We need to have the scars to show for it. Fresh wounds are even better.
Perhaps we used to complain that things were hard for us and now life has moved on. #awkward. “What has she done to end up with such a good life?”
Or is it that we find it hard to give ourselves a proverbial pat on the back for the hard work we put in and the good choices that we made in the past which have led us to this spot of comfort?
Is it a fear of being different to those around us? Because being different makes it harder to create connection. Everything being hunky dory is not the (British) way of making friends and influencing people – having a good moan is more likely to get you some interest.
Could it be about that most terrible of words…….’busy’ (read my
rant blog post all about that here)? Perhaps our desire to prove it’s a struggle, to get all of the very important things done in our very successful lives, is just another way of both fitting in (everyone else is most definitely doing it) and proving our worthiness.
We don’t tend to like things remaining ‘the same’ for too long. Our brains need stimulation, problems to solve, things to create stories about – perhaps making it a struggle it’s just something for them to do (that feels about right in my case).
And then I landed on it.
The struggle might not be a need for difficulty, pain, hardship or anguish. It might not really be a form of self-flagellation.
It could actually be a need for something exciting, stimulating and exceptionally positive.
I think this is all about overcoming an element of challenge in order to evolve into the next version of ourselves or into the next phase of our lives.
I think the struggle is really just a quest for growth in disguise.
(Boy, do I love a good reframe.)
And growth is something I can sign up for
every most days of the week.
And if our struggle is all about luscious growth then I believe we can turn it on it’s head and treat it as something to embrace and enjoy.
If you feel yourself drawn towards the struggle, then how about a little reframe, a slight change in language – and, instead, think about how you can bring a bit more growth into your life right now.
If, on the other hand, you already feel like you’re living personification of the struggle, single handedly pushing a giant spikey bolder (or perhaps even several bolders) up Everest then park it up for a moment, take a little step back, get curious and ask yourself these questions:
- Is this struggle real or is it a story I’m choosing to believe?
- What’s at the heart of my struggle?
- Does it need to be this way?
- Is it in alignment with what’s most important to me?
- How can I take action or change my mindset to turn this into an opportunity to grow?
And if, after having this little chat with yourself, you’re not able to shift the sense of struggle then perhaps it’s time to come and have a chat with me!
Let’s all struggle less and grow more.
I’m a Mindset Coach.
Sometimes known to my clients as ‘the lovely stranger’.
And I’m here to help you see things from a different perspective. In working together 1-1 you’ll discover that different ways of thinking, being and doing are totally possible for you and these small shifts can give you access to more space, more confidence and more clarity.
Keep enjoying the journey.