Please Step Away From the Struggle!
There is an old story that I’d quite like to toss on the bonfire and burn. It’s been doing the rounds for a million years and I think it’s time to set it on fire and rejoice in its demise. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it, it goes something like this:
In order to achieve anything worthwhile, we have to struggle for it.
In fact, we have to suffer for it.
Why is it that we equate suffering with success?
There is a difference between pushing ourselves and punishing ourselves. – Skylar Liberty Rose
Motivation is great – we all need it. After all, nobody ever changed the world by staying in bed all day, every day. But then again, nobody ever stood as a symbol for success when they were frazzled whilst dealing with burn out.
I remember one of my old bosses stating that he didn’t like the “stampede” each day at 5.30pm when most of the office would finish their shift. It was clear that favor shone on those who got to their desk early and stayed there until late. Additional points were scored by working through lunch and not taking coffee breaks.
I bought into this theory. I was actually too scared not to. Recently divorced with more debt than was comfortable, I had an unhealthy fear of losing my job. I hadn’t yet learned that I was no more defined by my job than I was by my broken marriage, my childhood or my clothes. Or indeed any of the other attachments that I thought created the sum of who I was.
At that time, everything about my life was wrapped in struggle.
As soon as I walked in the door each night I poured a glass of wine. The first of a few. I smoked too much, my weight had plummeted and my smartphone was never far from my side.
My version of success was measured by my weight and my salary.
I suffered endlessly to have a low number on the bathroom scales and a high number in my bank account.
I never felt rested. I always felt stressed. My body was giving me a ton of warning signs and I simply set them aside and ignored every cold, every infection, every single plea from my tired limbs to stop and slow down. This continued for years.
And then I got sick. Really sick. I had a crippling attack of pancreatitis that left me hospitalized and hooked up to an IV for days.
I stayed in hospital for a week. I couldn’t walk without assistance. I needed help to get to the bathroom. The success that I’d been so relentlessly trying to secure had cost me my health. I definitely didn’t feel like I was winning.
It took a long time for me to recover physically from that illness. It took me even longer to truly take on board the message that was trying to reach me. The message was: This is not how it has to be.
These days I measure my success in a very different way. How I feel is much more important than what I weigh, what I own, or what others think.
Do I put in the groundwork to achieve my goals? Yes! Do I push myself to breaking point so that I’m too beaten down to enjoy my life. Ummm, that’ll be a big No.
I have got much better at paying attention to what’s happening inside rather than being directed by “stuff” on the outside.
If I find myself slipping back to a place that doesn’t support my optimum wellbeing (which occasionally happens because I’m human!) I ask myself this:
What might I change to soften the struggle?
Can I take a step back?
Can I take two steps back?
Will that newly created space allow me to move forward in a new, more rewarding direction?
It becomes easier with practice. Much, much easier. You begin to recognize and respect your own boundaries. You become more confident in your ability to make decisions that support success in a way that you can truly benefit from.
Next time you find yourself committing your time, energy or finances to anything that leaves your balance off kilter then pause, take a moment, consider your choice. Because it is a choice. It may not always be an easy one but most of us do have the freedom of choice in most aspects of our day to day living.
Seek out what makes sense to your soul. Don’t be sucked in to the myth that you have to tick a list of checkboxes determined by someone else in order to be successful. Forget what you’ve been told. Success is honoring the unique truth within you and living your life from that same truth.
Success is the song in your heart that you hear each time you give yourself freedom to be who you truly are. Give the gift of love to yourself and step away from the struggle!
Skylar Liberty Rose is a writer and the creator of The Empowerment Experience: The Beginning of You Saying Yes to Yourself. Having found her own freedom by releasing limiting beliefs, Skylar has lovingly put together this online journey of adventure and exploration to help provide others with life changing tools they can use to empower themselves. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via her website.