Lockdown and social distancing. And no idea when it’s gonna end.
Yes, it’s a huge challenge.
One that’s testing our resilience & resourcefulness.
Funny thing is, consciously & intellectually we know life will be hard and testing sometimes.
But we don’t actually behave like we know that.
I mean, if I asked you
“Do you expect life to always be easy and that you’ll always be where you want and get what you want (and on your first try)?”
“Do you expect that nothing will ever go wrong or get in your way of feeling safe or comfortable?”
Your answer would most likely be “Of course not.” and you might roll your eyes, knowing this is a ridiculous idea.
So you obviously know and always knew there will be waves of difficulties, problems or setbacks along your way.
But then when problems actually happen, we ‘suddenly’ feel angry, sad, disappointed, frustrated and generally resistant, cuz Life really shouldn’t have done that.
We feel ‘it’s not fair’. We feel like a victim.
This is because, subconsciously, we believe that Life or The Universe owes us something.
That we’re entitled to things being easy or convenient.
That life should go our way.
Again, consciously we know that’s ridiculous.
But subconsciously, somehow we believe it, because we want Life to give us what we want.
And Life will remind us that it doesn’t owe us a thing.
So when we let go of that subconscious expectation, we’re far less surprised by things being fucked up or times of things going wrong.
We’re far more prepared for the challenge and less in a state of shock or suffering.
Think of taking up some music training, or going to the gym, with the goal of getting really good at it, or achieving a certain body shape.
You know it will take time to get better at it, it’s not a surprise. And you know it won’t be easy, and probably pretty exhausting sometimes.
But you want it, so you welcome the challenge, as well as the idea that obstacles or more tricky moments will come and go.
And this change of perspective is huge. Because as always, it’s your mind, rather than events, that’s causing most of your suffering or grief.
When we expect life to be easy on us, we get frustrated when shit happens.
So to change this mindset, we need to allow life’s challenges. Regularly. Even daily.
Many like to start their day with rituals of gratitude or positive affirmations. Which is awesome.
But what if we also welcomed the ‘bad’? What if we saw challenges as naturally built-in and actually expected them to happen every now and again?
(Emphasis though on ‘now and again’ – constant expectation of difficulties is not recommended… topic for another time!)
What if, instead of only wanting pleasures, we also ‘wanted’ challenges…?
When we expect to be challenged, we can actually experience things far more lightly.
More like a computer game.
We know that the game is there to make things hard and be in our way.
And it’s clear, that you’re there not to allow yourself to be defeated but to keep focused on where you wanna go. You’re motivated to ‘win’ over set circumstances.
“I hope this game is easy and that nothing in it challenges me” – said no player, ever.
When a new obstacle comes up in the video game or when your opponent makes a good move against you, you don’t cry out ‘That shouldn’t happen!’, do you?
No, you examine your options and either plan or respond accordingly to keep going.
And when you progress and ‘move up’ a level, you happily move forward from the previous obstacles but you don’t think “I hope this doesn’t get any more challenging”.
No, actually you’d be disappointed if it didn’t.
When you welcome the obstacles, your mind is far more creative at being resourceful and overcoming them.
When your energy is not spent on feeling resistant, you can divert that energy to focusing on finding solutions or making new moves.
Now you might say, “But in a game I can ‘die’ and then try again. It’s not the same”.
Sure, but don’t we wake up each morning with a new opportunity to try again?
Isn’t the end of day, sleep, a little ‘death’?
So if you’ve tried one response and that too didn’t quite work out, think of that game.
You could then ask yourself ‘How can I do better?’ or ‘What is something different I can do?’
And remember, there’s no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ here.
There’s no ‘failure’.
There’s only learning.
Of either what to do, or what not to do.
And learning is always more efficient when you approach it with curiosity rather than fear.
If you always got 100% what you wanted, that would mean you never stepped out of our comfort zone. There would be no real growth.
And don’t get me wrong, I know that playing that game can be exhausting, especially if it’s never ending. And so of course it’s important to be able to not play the game and just relax sometimes.
But we still approach these games with a sense of adventure.
So yeah, it’s a struggle sometimes. But there’s so much good.
And even when all this ends (and it will!), be sure, Life will be throwing something else at you further down the line.
So remind yourself often these are all ‘game challenges’. That expecting them not to be there is ridiculous.
Remind yourself to even take these challenges for granted.
That it’s all just part of the story. And what makes a good story? Yep, some trouble or conflict.
So what if you added to that morning ritual or affirmations something along the lines of
“I allow myself to welcome shitty obstacles, knowing they’re just part of the story?”
The acceptance and expectation of inevitable challenges will help you to be able to allow & welcome even the most difficult moments.
More acceptance will allow you to feel far more in control.
Maybe not of events, but of how you respond.
It will allow you to respond with more positive focus & curiosity.
And because your mind actually loves learning, it will go off and search for creative solutions.
So, what if you brought in more gratitude, not just for all the ‘good’ stuff, but also for the trouble?
After all, you’ve already won the greatest game & prize –