“Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.” ~Gordon B. Hinckley
I have been interested in personal development for as long as I can remember.
I devour books about increasing confidence, happiness, self-worth, and intuition. I‘m inspired by articles about self-care, living intentionally, and aligning with your purpose in life. I have read many fabulous books over the last decade, all with their own nuggets of wisdom and insight.
Recently, I was reading the book, Supercoach, 10 Secrets to Transform Anyone’s Life by Michael Neill. In his book, Michael describes how many of his clients go through a phase where they feel unsettled as they begin to make positive changes in their lives.
Michael talks about how his clients literally begin “worrying about not being worried.” They feel that something is missing from their lives when they no longer have the struggles and challenges they once faced.
The idea that on some level, we are attached to our struggles and fear losing them (or who we might become when we lose them) struck me. Why would we want to hold on to what causes us pain?
I started to think about my own life. Who would I be without my struggles, challenges, and problems?
Who would I be if I didn’t have to worry about money or how to pay my mortgage?
Who would I be if I didn’t have to agonize over decisions about my children, but instead completely trusted my inner wisdom?
Who would I be if I had full confidence in myself and cared for my personal needs without guilt?
And maybe more importantly, who would be able to relate to me if I didn’t struggle? What kind of conversations would I have with friends and family if I had nothing to complain about? Would we have anything left to talk about at all?
The truth is, as I examined these questions, I realized that the answers were mostly tied to my ego: I wanted to have a purpose (which solving problems permitted) and I wanted to be liked (by people who could relate to my problems).
The more I thought about the answers to these questions, the more I realized that this was not the kind of person that I wanted to be.
I didn’t want my purpose to be about putting out fires or worrying about the future, and I definitely didn’t want people to feel connected to me only because we shared the same struggles.
I want to be someone who lives with intention and makes a difference in the lives of the people around me. I want to be someone who enjoys life and who inspires others by living this way. Most importantly, I want to be an example for my children.
For me, this was an eye opening insight. Ever since, when I notice myself getting worried or stressed out, or when I find myself complaining, I stop and ask myself how I might be attached to my current situation and why. I question whether I can make a different choice or react in a different way.
I may not be able to change the situation in that moment, but I can change my thoughts about it and my approach going forward.
Life isn’t always going to be a piece of cake. We’re here to learn, grow, and experience the full spectrum of life. We’ll have good experiences and not-so-good experiences. For some reason, it seems easier to get caught up in the not-so-good ones.
We can dwell on the challenges because it seems to give us that automatic bond to others who are experiencing the same crisis. We instantly connect with the other sleep-deprived moms, or the co-workers complaining about the boss in the lunch room. As humans, we crave that connection.
But what if we connected over the joys in life, not just the pains? What if we connected by lifting each other up and supporting each other instead of tearing each other down? What if we talked more about the beauty in life than about the ugliness?
There will always be times in life where we need support. I can’t promise to never complain again, or stress out, or need to vent to a girlfriend. But I’m working on it. Will you join me?