Why we should appreciate our challenges
Things continuously happen in life.
Some great, some awful and then some great again. It's all a cycle of occurrences, with certain situations being more painful than others yet nothing remaining at a standstill.
Given the reality of this, we strive to avoid suffering at all costs. This is why we carefully plan, prepare and try to control situations so that nothing “bad” ever happens to us. We have a deathly fear of emotional pain.
I know, who would want to go through something hard anyway? It's not an easy journey, and one we'd rather not take.
This year, however, I realized that it's all the painful challenges in my life, all the hard emotional battles I fought, that I’m most thankful for.
Without our challenges, we can’t reache a different level of depths of awareness.
Each time I faced a difficulty, I noticed a few unhealthy patterns I'd fall into. They weren't particularly helpful in any way and caused me more harm than good, so I decided it was time to improve upon them and see if I could transform them into a useful tool that would help me in future situations.
Here's an example:
PATTERN: During a particularly hard emotional challenge, I didn't express my real wants because I was afraid of how other people would react towards them, which left everyone confused and frustrated.
TOOL: Find a way to express my real wants under any given circumstance, and communicate them clearly.
HOW: I stopped saying "I don't mind." I noticed I'd use that a lot instead of stating exactly what I wanted. I practiced daily on the most simple requests. Instead of "Oh sure, let's go wherever for dinner, I don't mind," I'd specifically state what I wanted to eat or what movie I wanted to see, or what I didn't want etc.
RESULT: This practice helped me find the courage to express my wants under any circumstance. I now feel less afraid, I'm more certain of my decisions and I'm able to clearly communicate with others, eliminating confusion and frustration.
Here are some other unhealthy patterns I transformed into useful tools for future challenges:
I feel stronger when dealing with uncertainty.
I have a more resilient heart.
I can remain calm under pressure.
I'm able to process my emotions and thoughts with more clarity.
I can stay grounded in the face of adversity.
I'm more mindful of others and their emotions.
I've become a better listener.
I've genuinely forgiven myself and have more compassion.
I don't wish for extreme challenges. But when they do happen I welcome them courageously.
Because each time I know, I’ll reach an even more significant depth of self-awareness I wasn’t able to before, detect more patterns I need to work on and add more tools to my ever-growing list.
And for that, I'll always be thankful.
BONUS: I've created a worksheet to help you identify unhealthy patterns and convert them into useful tools. Click to get it free below.
Until next time,