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How do you experience life?
Do you believe everything is scarce and that you must constantly fight for yours?
Do you constantly scan the horizon of life seeking to destroy any threats to your safety and well-being?
Do you fight hard against the relentless waves of change?
If so, you may be experiencing your life as a constant threat. You may not even be aware of it except for the sense of emotional exhaustion you feel.
If you find yourself always having to protect, to guard, to attack, you may experience life as impossibly hard.
Life doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of seeing everything as a threat, begin to view everything that comes into your life as a gift. Welcome not only the things you desire but everything.
It may seem impossible to achieve. And maybe it is. But fighting will all but guarantee a life full of misery.
What’s your pain tolerance?
If you’ve spent your life fighting and resisting, you may have noticed something:
The pain that comes with resisting eventually exceeds the pain of the thing you’re trying to resist.
When I was fired from my job a few years back, the humiliation of that experience was bad enough.
Resisting and fighting against the pain proved to be even worse.
Once the built up anger and resentment started affecting my family life, I realized I needed to stop fighting and accept what had happened to begin the healing process.
Sadly, until this threshold is reached, there’s little incentive to stop fighting.
If your tolerance for emotional pain is especially high, like it was for me, it may take a while before you reach the place where you say, “Enough is enough!”
Fighting is useless
I’m going to say something that’s unpopular:
What choice do you have?
You cannot stop the flow of life any more than you can stop the earth from moving.
All the fighting and resisting you do to avoid pain will not keep pain and suffering from visiting you.
Believe it or not, this is not the sad news.
The sad news is that we all go around pretending life is ok when it’s not.
We’re desperate to show others how well we’re doing.
We’re eager to demonstrate how well we’re doing relative to others.
We’re easily threatened by the success of others. We’re easily fooled by the idea that the grass is greener on the other side.
So we continue to grasp and pursue until the pain becomes too great. And that’s when the opportunity of a lifetime presents itself:
Why not just accept it all as gift?
But the story doesn’t end with acceptance. With acceptance, options appear. What attitude will you choose to have toward the unfolding reality called life?
How will you respond to pain, discomfort, and suffering?
Here are some steps to consider:
Once you begin to shift from viewing life as a constant threat to avoid, you will begin to soften and relax into the unfolding of life.
When you’re greeted by disappointment, relax into your pain. In my situation, that would have meant allowing myself to feel the pain of job loss rather than tense with anger.
Of course, it’s natural to be angry or upset after a job loss, but this must eventually give way to the underlying feelings of sadness and fear. Relaxing allows these difficult feelings to pass through you faster so you could finally respond to your situation appropriately and find solutions if possible.
2. Respond with compassion
When you fight against the flow of life, you’re really fighting against yourself. You may find yourself being your harshest critic. You may even blame yourself for all the bad things that happen to you.
But again, self-blame is just another form of avoidance from the real pain of disappointment. As you begin to relax and feel the pain of the loss, speak to yourself in a loving and soothing manner, as you would to someone you love who was hurting.
You can say something like, “I know this hurts but you’ll get through it.”
3. Be a visionary
You may believe that visionary thinking is only for genius scientists and titans of industry. But you too have the ability to see opportunity beyond your current circumstances.
What opportunities have arisen from your loss? For me, it was the opportunity to enter a new career field that fills me with a sense of mission, joy, and fulfillment. My experience also gave me greater empathy and understanding toward people who suffer job loss every day.
How can your pain help you to become more emotionally wise, strong, and intelligent? How can you harness what you’ve learned to build something new and exciting?
Life is a gift
These are only some of the options available to you when you embrace life for the gift that it is.
Greet each day as such and open yourself to the gentleness, wisdom, and benevolence of your life.
Once you decided to stop fighting and open yourself to life, you’ll be amazed at how almost any negative situation can be transformed for the good of yourself and those around you.