OUR BIGGEST TEACHERS
Have you ever felt as though you have a recurring “theme” when it comes to your personal struggles? I sure have. Such themes might include relationships where you feel oppressed/invalidated/taken advantage of, sickness, despair, pain, anxiety, and other repeating occurrences that cause you distress.
When we don’t deal with an issue, it is bound to pop up again and again. Even moving to new environments or surrounding yourself with different people will soon reveal that while the players and location may have changed in your life, that unresolved “theme” will rear itself again, causing you to lament “this… again?!”.
Herein lies what I view to be “our biggest teachers”. Such teachers are often things that bring up feelings of fear, failure, distress, or inadequacy. They are usually the things that cause us to feel victimized, and have us protesting “it’s just not fair”. But running from these adverse themes doesn’t make them go away.
So, what can be done?
A change in perspective helps immensely. Resist the urge to go into a victim-mentality, or avoidance/denial mode. Instead, chose to embrace a stance of curiosity. What is the learning you are meant to derive from this recurring theme? For you competitive-types, you could even choose to accept your adversity as a challenge – one that you can triumph over!
There’s a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, but expecting a different result. How might you widen your perspective on your recurring issue to include previously unconsidered solutions? Brainstorming gets the creative juices flowing. Do not disregard something that may seem ludicrous on the surface – I find that oftentimes my outlandish musings can lead to real-life solutions.
Research evidences that resiliency is fostered in times of challenge, not during times of ease. We simply cannot evolve and grow without adversity. Acceptance of your “theme” can more quickly lead you to a personal awakening. It doesn’t mean you will shift into enjoying your recurring challenge – acceptance of it just loosens the negative hold it has on you. The practice of mindfulness and self-compassion helps immensely with acceptance. For more of this see: https://blacksheepcounselling.com/2017/03/mindfulness-self-compassion/ and https://blacksheepcounselling.com/2017/05/mindfulness-shmindfulness/.
And finally: Embrace gratitude for your struggles. Yep, I’m serious. The practice of gratitude affects your brain by activating the brain stem region that produces dopamine, thus creating a positive feedback loop in your relationships – with Self and others.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.