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How to turn struggling to your advantage

You’re so strong and competent. You take change in your stride. You know that change is good for you – after all, change is growth.

Struggle isn’t a word you use. Competent people like you don’t struggle. They succeed. There may be bumps, even hurdles along the way. But no struggle. Struggling is for people who aren’t strong.

On the outside, everything looks fine, even though people ask you repeatedly if you’re OK, if you need help. They know you’re going through a lot right now, hence their questions. You say you’re good, even though things don’t feel quite so good on the inside.

You may not realise it, but you’re pretending to be fine. You don’t want to admit that you’re struggling, because, if you do, you’re afraid that you’ll collapse.

You’re right to be afraid of collapsing, but not for the reason you think.

You won’t collapse because you’re struggling. You’ll collapse because you’re DENYING that you’re struggling.

Change IS hard. Change IS painful. When you don’t acknowledge and accept this, your feelings of pain and fear go deep inside you. Just because you don’t appear to be struggling with change, it doesn’t mean that you’re omnipotent. It just means that you’re in denial.

There’s only so long you can remain in denial about how hard something you’re doing is. Eventually, your pain and fear will find a way of expressing themselves – how and when THEY want, not how and when you choose to let them. Your pain and fear may express themselves as tears, as anger, or by making you sick. Tears and getting sick are how mine usually come out – whenever the auto-immune disease I have gets active, I know I’m denying something.

When you’re struggling with changes you’re making in your life, you have a choice.

You can allow yourself to express your feelings of pain, as and when they arise. You can admit to your friends when they ask how you’re doing that you’re struggling. If you do this, your feelings will pass and you can continue to move forward with your changes.

Or you can save face and continue to deny them, pretending to your friends that all well. You can get well and truly stuck, unable to move forward with your life changes. And become more sick.

Feeling and expressing the pain and fear behind your struggle is good. It allows you to keep moving forward, to keep growing, to become even stronger. This is how you turn struggling to your advantage.

Everyone feels pain and fear when they’re making changes – even I do, and I’ve changed enough in my life for three lifetimes. But not everyone admits it. If you weren’t allowed to make mistakes or to show your emotions in the past, you’ll find it hard to acknowledge your fear and pain. That’s because they feel like failure to you. Admitting that you’re struggling with change feels like you’re admitting that you’re weak. My way of denying that I’m struggling is to focus on all the good that’s coming from the change, and to ignore the rest. Sure, there IS good coming from the change. But there IS also pain.

Struggle is strength. It’s a sign of growth, that you’re making some important changes to your life.

Accept and embrace ALL of the feelings that come with this – the joy, the gratitude, the fear, the pain. And you’ll come to love how struggling makes you stronger.

 

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).