Struggle, rather we want to accept this or not, is a choice. The struggle is only as real as we make it. The struggle to survive, the struggle to open a business, the struggle to thrive, the struggle to just make it through the day… All struggles we have a choice to either participate in or not.
What makes struggle a choice? Our perception. Struggle is defined in a few ways, but I believe the best definition in this context is “strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance.”
Struggle is also defined as “make forceful or violent efforts to get free of resistance or constriction; have difficulty handling or coping with; engage in conflict, and make one’s way with difficulty.” Those definitions define struggle as a verb.
As a noun, struggle is “a forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack; a conflict or contest; a determined effort under difficulties; a very difficult task.”
What I notice off top about struggle is resistance, difficulty, difficulty coping, conflict, and force. Do we have to resist or force things? We do not. Do things have to be difficult or difficult to cope with? They don’t. Challenging? Yes. Difficult. No. There is a difference. They definitely can be difficult and are for many of us, but don’t have to be. Conflict and force are also things we do not need to participate in. Shocking. I know.
Now, now. I know what you’re thinking. I used to think the same. When my mom would tell me I didn’t need to resist, find things difficult, find it difficult to cope, deal with conflict and force, I would get even more pissed off. My feelings and how I saw my situation was real to me and here was my mom telling me I had a choice in the now although my situation wasn’t changing then.
See, to me, these things were real and I was very right for how I felt. It WAS difficult for me and I DID authentically feel conflict, resistance and force in my day to day life. Especially after I quit my “good” job to pursue writing full time. The battle was a steep, uphill one I made real and that struggle was one I acknowledged and called real every day. The pain, the anger, the depression, the hopelessness and everything that came with struggling, I felt.
I was right to feel the way I felt as we all typically are when met with challenges in life. But did you ever question if being right and justified about your current feelings really had your best interests at heart?
Was it really healthy and beneficial for you to acknowledge the struggle and affirm it daily? Did it help you reach your goals faster if you acknowledged and felt resistance, force, difficulty, difficulty coping, and conflict daily? Did you feel better and more empowered because you kept it real about the struggle?
Personally, hell no. Hell naw. Hell to the no acknowledging struggle didn’t make anything better or move faster for me. If anything, affirming struggle to myself made things even more difficult, brought more conflict and resistance to my life, and made my eyes juicier than they had to be.
I cried a lot and if I wasn’t crying, I was getting ready to. My thoughts made me angry, made me feel helpless, made me feel hopeless, and made me feel stuck, trapped and frustrated. Acknowledging the realness of the struggle in my life made life suck from the inside out. Not only was my situation shitty, but even my feelings were shitty enough to make me actually tear up at work. And I was a front desk receptionist! Not a good look.
Then something freeing happened. I finally took my mom’s advice and abandoned the struggle. By far this was not an overnight process. It took me months to shed, but babaaay when I did? I started appreciating my life as is.
The physical tension of struggling lifted off of me. I had less things to cry about. Pain stopped bothering me and the doom, gloom and negative thoughts that made my head hurt softened until they faded away.
When we struggle and affirm to ourselves how real our struggles are, we’re speaking on what is going on right now. Some people believe this is what they have to do. It’s important to keep it real and realize their struggles regularly.
The problem is our current situations have absolutely nothing to do with our present truths. Yea, sounds woo woo, but peep game.
They’re the results of thoughts and beliefs that have controlled our perception, actions, and choices. What is going on around you right now is essentially old news. Old thought news anyways.
So when we struggle and keep it real about this struggle, we’re continuing the thoughts and beliefs that created the struggle to begin with. We keep thinking struggle so our perceptions, actions and choices will continue to create more struggle.
Can’t fix a problem at the same level of thinking that created it.
What’s the solution? It really is as simple as making the decision to stop struggling.
No, your situation doesn’t have to change first. You do. Matter of fact, you must if you want to start seeing changes.
I’ve found the quickest, simplest fix is to start lying. Lie to yourself about how you feel. Hell, you can even lie to yourself about where you live, what you drive, who’s your boo, what shoes you usually where, where you work, and that you go on vacations. One time, I was lying so good I messed up and told a coworker people looked at me and thought I had money. This was when I first started at my new job (the one I got after I made the decision to stop struggling) and I was still heavily rotating the nicest things I had in my closet.
You’re not struggling. This is a great, challenging opportunity to grow. You’re not sad. You’re happy and feeling fantastic, knowing you’re being pressed to become that diamond.
Now, if you’re clinically dealing with depression, or feel you might be, please do not take me saying it is as simple as changing your thoughts to change those conditions.
Clinical depression is something that can improve with lifestyle changes, but that change can begin with more hopeful thoughts for healing and recovery.
And don’t just lie about any old thing either. Tell yourself you live, do, and have what it is you would rather be living, doing, and having. Tell yourself you feel the way you want to feel. And tell struggle it’s the lie.
Like I said before, I used to believe being right and true about everything was what I was supposed to do too. But when I started telling myself I was fine, I eventually started feeling fine and the circumstances of a person that felt fine started to come about.
I got a job that pays at least enough to take care of the basics. I’m no longer on food stamps. And I really don’t deal with emotional pain like that anymore. So much so that I’ve been able to quit smoking weed like for reals this time.
Now, you are left with a choice. You can continue to keep it real, telling yourself the truth about where you’re at, and affirming your struggle regularly. Or you can drop the struggle and start having a good time.
Don’t expect a quick jump unless that’s where you’re honestly at emotionally. I do understand some pain is too deep to just start speaking positively. But you can stop being so detailed about it.
For instance, I’m 40 pounds overweight, had an eating disorder, and used to binge eat to the point that the skin around my abdomen felt sore and tender to the touch. I was eating so much my skin stretched and ached.
What started changing this behavior was when I stopped identifying as a binge eater and accepting that struggle. I stopped digging into figuring out my addiction to food. Instead, I started telling myself I ate healthy, that I stopped when I was satisfied, and that I didn’t eat unless I was hungry.
Eventually, I became aware of what was triggering my binge eating and learned to avoid foods that were addictive to me like the plague. When I decided to stop struggling eternally, I stopped struggling externally.
Dive right into this concept or take baby steps, but you really do have a choice to release struggle. You don’t have to be right and keep it real about the struggle all the damn time. Soon you’ll find it’s best not to keep it real about those things at all. Give it a try. You’ll see.