Who Are You Without Your Struggle?

We all have our struggles in life, right? Even those who seemingly “have it all together” deal with their own issues and struggles. It’s just part of being human. What I find most intriguing are those who have the same struggle repeatedly, over and over, year after year. Or those struggles that we think we’ve overcome and then they miraculously show up again, leaving us wondering, “didn’t I already deal with this?” I too have had repeat struggles or those that seem to last for years. If only I could figure this one thing out, everything would be PERFECT! Have you ever felt that?

Several years ago, a dear friend of mine, who is also a spectacular life coach asked me this question: “Who would you be without your struggle?” It left me silent. I had no idea. What I was wrestling with had been something I’d been wrangling with for many years. It had become a part of me. It was hard to imagine who I’d be without it.

I have a few clients with similar long-term issues where they are grappling. One has been experiencing a decade-long turmoil over what she wants to do with her life. She cannot find the “thing” that she loves to do that will also bring in money. Another client has always struggled with bad relationships. She somehow manages to repeatedly choose the person who’s bad for her, and the relationships go south. Like me, both of these people are accustomed to their struggle; it’s just part of who they are. They wake with the familiar feeling of tension that there is this obstacle in the way of them living the good life. They identify with it, and so I asked them (like my friend asked me) “Who would you be without your struggle?”  They too were silent.  It’s a tough question.  After contemplating it for a while, these were a few of the responses that arose:

I have no idea.

It’s so much a part of my life; I guess I’d be… well… different.

I guess I’d be freer than I am today.

That’s like asking me who I’d be without my left arm – I’d be a completely different person.

Yes, you’d be a completely different person. One without a struggle to focus your attention on; one who has freed up all that energy that you’ve spent on the struggle; energy you can now apply to other things that generate positivity in your life.

A funny thing happened to my client who struggled with bad relationships her entire adult life. She decided she didn’t want to be that person anymore. She wanted to be completely different and be the person free from that perceived obstacle in her life. So, she chose to let it go. She chose to see herself differently and instead of expending energy on how to fix her relationship issues and how to find the perfect man, she focused her attention on doing things she loved. She focused on her career, on repainting many rooms in her newly purchased home, and on adopting a dog.  Ironically enough, several months after choosing to be the person who no longer struggled with relationship issues, she found herself in a relationship with someone she’d known for many years, and it was the healthiest relationship she’d ever experienced.

I’m not saying that all of our obstacles in life are easy to let go of, but many of them are merely old stories we’ve been telling ourselves for years and years. They become ingrained in us and create self-inflicted angst. Although it might not be easy, it is as simple as choosing not to be the person with that struggle anymore. Once you make that decision, you begin to release your “struggle-energy” and create space for new and fresh ideas and opportunities to come into your life. It is inevitable. If you’re no longer focused on your struggle, you’re inevitably focused on other (hopefully more positive) things.

If you’ve been dealing with what seems like a life-long struggle or an issue that keeps showing up and you’re tired of it, ask yourself this important question: who would you be without your struggle?  The answer may lead you to finally being able to let it go.

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