Between a Rock and a Hard Place? What You Can Do!

Would you be willing to consider (for just a moment) that your struggles in life are little more than limited perspectives, options or beliefs you have concerning the problems you’re facing?

Recently I found myself trapped and in my trap I suffered. My thoughts were out of control. Anxiety got the best of me. I couldn’t sleep. I felt stressed out, overcome and confused. As I explained my situation to a friend I summarized my state of mind by simply saying I was really struggling.

I felt like I was beating my head against a wall until my friend reminded me to look at my situation from a different perspective. It took awhile to see that there was indeed different ways to look at my issue and once I could see them I realized I had a choice to make: I could keep beating my head against the wall OR I could choose to believe something different, something empowering.

Most of us learn how to struggle at such an early age. We struggle to have a voice growing up. In school, we struggle to get good grades. We struggle to be liked or to fit it. We struggle to get into college. We struggle to keep our first true love alive. We hear our parents talk about their struggles. On TV we hear how our country is struggling. We learn to push and fight and resist what life brings our way and by doing so we struggle.

Struggling means different things depending on context. To some “struggle” summarizes their personal hardships. To others struggle equals wrestling with a problem for which there seems to be no solution. For others it’s a way to describe the state in which we live or others live their lives.

To sum it up it might be safe to say: to struggle is to make something hard or to experience something as hard, tough, or beyond our control.

I think it’s safe to say most people struggle. Some are masters at getting hooked into a struggle – planting their feet firmly in place – not budging.

For a lot of us struggling isn’t so much a way of life as it is a periodic occurrence in our life. A proverbial bump in the road, a struggle will take us off track, sometimes right into the ditch.

In either case, what can you do when you find yourself in the midst of a struggle?

Remember you have a choice.

Now, I am fully aware how some of you may not want to hear that. In fact, the last thing most of us want to hear while in the midst of a struggle is that simply by making another choice our struggles could end!

After all, you might be afraid to end a struggle because doing so could mean someone else was right, or that you would have to finally take responsibility for your feelings, or even your life.

Listen, I don’t want to over simplify the struggles of our life. But I wonder, what would life be like if there was no such word as struggle. Our reality is created through the thoughts we think and the language we use. What if we couldn’t describe our challenging moments in life as a struggle? What if instead of the word struggle (or challenge or hard times, etc.) we renamed these challenging moments and called them growth opportunities or the “stuff that shows me what I’m made of”? How would getting rid of words like struggle empower us?

There are many therapies, tips and methods that can help you release your struggles. And in some situations getting outside help may be what is needed if you want to make long-lasting changes in your life.

You can also remember that even if you are struggling you still have options. In other words, you can choose to stay in the struggle or you can choose to feel better, empowered and free.

The next time you find yourself in a struggle ask yourself this question, “Instead of struggling right now, is there another perspective, option or belief that would make me feel better?”

The answer may not be immediately clear but if you keep asking you will see another way and that, my friend, will put you back in charge of your life.

Copyright (c) 2006 Cari Vollmer