The struggle is real but suffering is optional


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Early this summer I was casually chatting with a friend over just common #momlife problems. Towards the end she made an innocent statement about how good it felt to simply know “I too, make mistakes.”

Brene Brown, a social researcher, professor, and author, talks extensively about the tremendous impact hearing the phrase “me too” has when people are in the midst of a struggle.

In fact, one of the main reasons I started to talk and continue to talk so openly about my various eating disorders and body image problems was your very own HEALING impact on ME.

When I revealed not only my bout with anorexia but also binge eating, I got dozens of emails back saying some form of, “ME TOO!!”

And then again, when I became open about how brutal a financial and emotional blow creating sweatlocal was in the midst of unemployment, another set of dozens of “ME TOO!!”

 

Not that everyone was mounting businesses, of course, but my pain in the struggle resonated with yours and yours with mine and that dark shame that hides behind isolation seemed to give way to hope.

 

Here’s the thing… my friends surprise that, “I, too, make mistakes” stems from reading my newsletters and blog posts and not seeing that what I write about are things I’ve spent countless HOURS pondering and reflecting over, WEEKS studying and reading, and MONTHS practicing, experimenting, and failing fast to find solutions.

I PURPOSEFULLY do not share my PERSONAL LIFE PUBLICLY in the midst of a storm because if I have no solutions, insights, or growth to offer then all I’m doing is complaining, venting, wallowing, and whining and that is indulgent, unhelpful, and not worthy of taking up real estate in your inbox and your precious time.

In fact, one of the reasons I don’t visit my personal Facebook often is because I find this social media platform to be a place of little solutions and a whole lot of GRUMBLING. That’s the last thing I want my newsletters, blogs, and social media posts to turn into.

 

However, I find it PROBLEMATIC to somehow be seen as some enlightened human solving problems like a buddhist monk after 6 hours of meditation.

 

Let me be the first to say the summer of 2017 SUCKED… like big time. It slapped me in the face, punched me in the gut, and revealed a long list of, to put it mildly and kindly, “growth opportunities.”

 

But… I’ve been here before… cause the summer of 2012 and 2013 also sucked… like big time.

 

And since they slapped me in the face, punched me in the gut, and I took the time to seriously cultivate those growth opportunities, I am in a far better place today to move forward quickly.

 

And let’s get real… the ONLY reason 2013 sucked so badly is because I didn’t REACT to 2012 quickly enough.

 

I sat there playing a the role of VICTIM.

 

I spent my time RESENTFUL of circumstances I didn’t create. (Who even cares who or what created the circumstances! They are here so what’s next?)

 

I spent my emotional energy worrying about details and people I didn’t control. (Why, oh, why? and not again!)

 

I was powerless because I made myself to be.

It was late in 2013 and into 2014 when my perspective shifted (not magically… I read like cray cray!!!) and I committed myself to a FOCUS on what I was able to control and create.

 

And so here are the lessons learned, I’m recalling, and reimplementing…

 

  • ACCEPT REALITY – Byron Katie says, “When we believe our thoughts instead of what is really true for us, we experience the kinds of emotional distress we call suffering.”

In other words, the struggle is real but suffering is OPTIONAL.

Suffering is a product of wishing and wanting things to be different rather than seeing and accepting what is. (insert a bazillion praise hands here.)

 

Everything is EXACTLY as it should be.

  • TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – Everything that happens and doesn’t happen to me is 100% my fault. Yes… 100%… not 50/50… not 75/25… not 15/85… 100%. Anything less means that in order to move on, past, and beyond requires validation, permission, or action from someone or something else.

 

Uhm… no thanks. I wear big girl panties. I determine my success and my failure and anything in between. I can take the heat.

 

Now… I also believe that anything that happens to someone else is ALSO 100% theirs to claim.

 

However, it’s not on me to see how much OWNERSHIP another is taking over their own life.  EYES ON YOUR OWN PAPER!

 

  • MAKE DECISIONS – Any decision… right or wrong is better than no decision at all. Overthinking is how a perfectionists tries to avoid mistakes. However, not making a decision… is still a decision and has consequences none the less. The difference is that one is cowardly and the other courageous. How do you want to go down?

 

  • FAIL FAST – Managing 2012 was brutal because every failure, every wrong decision, every misstep took what little confidence I had and crushed it. It made me incapable of seeing the ABUNDANCE OF OTHER OPTIONS I could grab, experiment with, explore, and cultivate.

 

Failing slow vs failing fast is the difference between a mortal blow or a necessary lesson. I don’t need to analyze my mistakes! I need self awareness of course, but this world keeps going round and round regardless of what I’m doing or not doing. Own your mistakes. Self correct. Pivot. Fail forward. Fall up. #leggo2017

 

My life is NOT all rainbows and unicorns, but I hold a firm belief that positivity always wins. Yes… 2012 might have sucked, most of 2013 may have sucked, summer of 2017 may have sucked too, but I CHOOSE to see them as necessary TENSION required to build my strength, character, and integrity.

 

We are meant to make the best of what is!

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