I have to admit – I’ve been going through some things lately. With the geographic shift, there have been mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual shifts as well. As a professional, I try to walk the line of being transparent and vulnerable without spewing my life all over social media for sympathy, “likes,” or even entertainment. The internet is already full of much foolery as it is.
But I think that there is value in sharing, because there are commonalities in all of our lives, regardless of the details of our particular circumstances. That’s part of why I started ARTaylor LLC and why I write this blog – to share so that you might glean from my experiences and subsequent wisdom. So when Facebook blesses me with a gem like the picture above, I have to share. It hit me when I read this. While we may have some serious challenges facing us, those struggles CAN be the catalyst for inner growth and strength.
One thing that we are not taught very well by society is that we have inherent strengths, gifts, and awesomeness. In school, the traditional model is that we are empty vessels awaiting the knowledge of the teacher – the banking method. Many parents act as if their children, especially young ones, do not know anything and are not able to make decisions at all. But the truth is that there are strengths and dispositions within us that are brought out. While children certainly need to be guided, they also need to be nurtured in ways that allow who they are to emerge and grow.
(Mini soapbox – I am so tired of parents making their children be and do certain things because they were not able to or because they had issues with certain things. Just because you are unfulfilled does not mean that you need to make your child into someone that they are not. Just because you are a follower of or believer in certain societal expectations does not mean that your child will fit that mold. Don’t be part of their trauma, please!)
So, I find that it is in these moments of adversity that we have the choice to get beyond all the coping mechanisms and pacifiers, drawing out the internal divinity and strength that we have. It’s easier for me to pick up a Black and Mild than it is for me to sit with my emotions and feel my way through the difficult complexities of life, especially because I’ve practiced avoiding hard emotions. But that’s a temporary ease that does not change the situation or my feelings.
Through what I am facing, I have to be willing to intentionally build, work, and grow through with full consciousness and personal vulnerability. It is only in lifting with my mental, emotional, and spiritual muscles that I will create an impact for myself and others. If I go to the gym to get into better shape, but I let a robot lift the weights and run the miles and swim the laps for me, then I don’t gain the benefit of the work.
And while it’s incredibly hard to work through obstacles (on top of your internal issues), the health that you gain and the beauty in achieving goals while living on purpose is without equal.
- Look at yourself in the cleanest, clearest mirror you have, because you need to see yourself fully before you can ever see anything else.
- Look realistically at where you are. If you have illusions about your starting place, you’ll never find the finish line, even with the best GPS.
- Look for the lessons. They are everywhere. Difficult colleagues can teach patience. Difficult bosses can teach humility or the ability to stand up for yourself. A loss can teach better priorities and show you strength that you didn’t know you had to survive without the lost entity. Projects that require hard work can teach discipline and the importance of self-care.
- Refuse to be pacified. This doesn’t mean that we don’t take breaks or practice self-care. We all need to unplug and unwind, because life will burn us out if we do not. But we cannot play video games, drink, shop, work out, sex (solo or partnered), smoke, gossip, binge watch, work, or any other coping means to avoid actually feeling and dealing with what is going on. This goes back to the first point – know yourself enough to know when you are relaxing versus when you are running from what you need to do.
Good things WILL come from being mature and brave enough to work through your current struggles. Even if it’s hard, even if you don’t see the results immediately, even if it doesn’t feel good, you are well worth the journey.