I was in a therapy session the other day when the person I was working with said that he was taught that things had to be easy to be okay. I found myself responding, “It is a privilege to struggle and have the opportunity to find out who we are and what we are made of.”
When life is easy, we can enjoy ourselves and that is wonderful. But what about when life is not so easy? What about when we are up against challenges that really scare or overwhelm us?
It seems that it would be great if our lives were always easy and happy rather than challenging. But if we can only feel happiness when we are in the right situations or conditions, born into the right family or the right socio-economic group, we are trapped by the external. Adversity allows us the opportunity to find out what we are capable of, to develop our strengths, and to access aspects of ourselves that we did not know existed and inner resources we didn’t know we had.
Adversity can teach us that we have the ability to rise beyond our environment, that we are powerful beings who co-create our lives. This knowing brings not only inner strength and self-empowerment, but also wisdom. Instead of being victim to circumstances which shift and change throughout the years, we can choose to know that no matter where we find ourselves, we have the ability to grapple with both the external situation and our attitude about it. Like a small leaf being carried down a river, we can accept that we will move through different times and challenges. Rather than judging ourselves for what life hands us, we can trust that if life doesn’t dump us on pleasant shores, we will find a way to create what we desire, whether in attitude or actual circumstances.
Look at a difficult situation in your life right now. Are you using it to develop your strengths and compassion for yourself, or are you telling yourself that you are bad, or that life isn’t fair?
Like the Greek goddess Psyche who, despite tremendous obstacles, persisted in nearly impossible tasks and in the process made her soul complete, we can do the same. By owning and developing our capacities, we create our life and world. We come to find out who we are. Things do not have to be easy to be okay.
© Copyright 2008 by Jennifer Lehr. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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