Are You Afraid to Let Go of Your Struggle?Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy. ~Leo Buscaglia
My mother, a woman who is steadfastly spiritual and always looking for a way to move into greater understanding of herself and others, recently attended a meeting for our church where she serves as a prayer practitioner.
Each of the participants were recounting the issues they were working through, some rooted in relationships, others in careers.
When it was my mom’s turn to share, she expressed that she felt beaten down by the financial trouble that was on the horizon once again after recent layoffs left both her and my dad without jobs.
One of the women turned to her and simply said, “Are you ready to let go of the struggle?”
Her first instinct was to say, “Yes, of course. Who wants to struggle?” But as she sat with the idea, she noticed the pattern, the strings of attachment and the payoff of being in a constant state of upheaval, worry and uncertainty.
When she relayed the story to me, I began to notice how my own attachment to struggle had shaped my life experiences.
In fact, if I was really being authentic, I could see that I had been in various states of struggle for years — the silent kind that carried with it an endless stream of worry, and the dramatic kind that was loud, over the top and, well, dramatic.
Here are the three key areas where a lack of abundance and flow had become a normal that I had learned to accept — even embrace — and the benefit that the struggle had offered me:
Even when I found myself making more money, I didn’t allow the change to show up anywhere other than my bank account.
I still talked about money like I didn’t have it. I was still extremely guarded with my purchases and never allowed myself to be generous with my money.
The benefit, or struggle payoff, with my finances was a way to gain sympathy and support from those around me. It also allowed me continue to entertain the belief I’ve had for as long as I can remember — the more money you have, the farther you have to fall and the more it’ll hurt when you land.
When opportunities and praise were served to me on a silver platter, or when the universe would offer subtle nudges to move in a certain direction, I turned the other way and opted to feed into the story that there just wasn’t anything out there for me.
In many ways I’ve put the brakes on my professional life before it was ever allowed to take off.
The benefit? Remaining in a perpetual state of being “stuck” has allowed me to stop taking risks and put myself in a position where I might not know exactly what I’m doing.
If I can say that there just aren’t any opportunities out there, then all the focus is no longer on what I’m not paying attention to within myself.
The struggle I’ve entertained in my relationships has, for the most part, revolved around an inability to bend, an attachment to being “right” and a desire to control the environment around me.
I’ve struggled because I’ve spent more time looking at what others need to change than what I could adjust and allow to grow in myself.
The benefit? Self-reflection is exhausting, and it’s far easier to blame others for their shortcomings than examine those I have within myself.
Playing the victim is a quick get-out-of-jail-free card, one that I had used as a fallback to avoid the uncomfortable nature of change.
As I’ve sifted through the current and past consequences of an attachment to struggle, the overarching emotion has been fear — fear that if I release the struggle and open the doors to abundance, I will experience deep disappointment — that I will have more to lose than ever before.
Keeping the things I want at arms distance and playing into the story that things just aren’t going my way has been a kind of counter-productive way of protecting myself. This outer skin has kept me from making decisions and, more importantly, changes.
Here are five questions to help you determine if you too are attached to struggle:
- Do you repeat stories of things that have happened to you making generalities like, “I always end up broke,” or “My relationships never last?”
- When things seem to be going smoothly, do you make an inventory of things you should be worrying about?
- Do you find yourself rehashing “negative” situations over and over with different people?
- Do you resort to blaming what’s going on “out there” or what has happened in the past instead of looking at your inner thoughts and beliefs?
- Do you find it easier to seek sympathy than elicit change?
If we were to examine our society — the conversations we gravitate to and the news we watch — we would likely see the underlying societal belief that struggle is a necessary part of the human experience.
We must struggle in order to deserve something better. We must struggle in order to have something to share with others. We must struggle because that is how we learn.
Listen & Let Go
But just as we must release the beliefs we harbor as individuals that keep us from living happy and fulfilling lives, we must release these societal beliefs and patterns that prevent us from standing in the flow of abundance in all areas of our experience.
The truth is, the flow of the universe is meant to show us that we are not intended to live in a constant state of struggle. We are expected to grow and gravitate toward the people and experiences that speak to us on a deeper level.
We are constantly being directed to create a better life — it’s simply a matter of listening and letting go.
Are you ready to let go of the struggle?