Years ago, I was listening to a podcast by a guy named Jeffrey Combs. I usually found his delivery a bit prickly but my higher self kept going back to hear more of what he had to say.
That particular day, he said this: If you’re stuck and struggling in any area of your life, you’re probably addicted to struggle. He followed that with something I interpreted as: Stop it. Struggling is a choice. I know I blushed. My body knew this message was for me. I looked myself in the eye in the bathroom mirror and said: Helllllll No! I’m done being A Struggler! For me, the simplicity of what he said was too black and white not to give it up. I didn’t know how to change, knew it wouldn’t be an overnight thing, but deciding was the first step.
At the time, most of my struggle thoughts were about money and success (or lack of). I had been going in circles about how to share my work, the doubts that went with it, and how to quit spending more on my business than I was making. My brain insisted that these goals were confusing, there was too much I couldn’t figure out, and that I’d probably continue to fall short. I believed the thoughts. Before the podcast, I was unknowingly in victim mode. (Earlier in my life, my struggler identity had been about food and my body. I wonder how much quicker my healing could have been if I’d have understood that it was my emotional addiction that was calling the shots.)
Here’s what I know I created when I saw myself as a struggler:
A strong victim mentality + more struggle! Believing something is too hard left no room for new possibilities or problem-solving skills.
Most times now, when I hear my brain offer me doubts about finances or my career success (I got extra practice during C-19), I’m able to recognize it quickly. I smile and remind myself that I just need to keep showing up, expect good things, and I have what it takes to figure it out. When I think otherwise, I hear my Hellll No! voice pop in like a bestie, ready to protect me from the mean girls.
The AHA about identifying as a struggler was so impactful for me, it became part of what I share with clients and it’s been a game-changer…
Earlier this week, my good friend Bonnie left this comment below a short video I made about this (in my FREE private FB Group): “OMGosh! Yes!!! I am addicted to a particular struggle. I never thought about it this way! Wow!!! The addiction is giving me permission to fail!” Her words were brave and right on point!
Here’s the thing…
We will have struggles, we just don’t want to think we ARE the struggle.
Common thoughts of The Struggler: I can’t do it. I’m not good enough. It’s too hard, it takes too much time. I’ve been this way for too long. It’s just the way it is. I can’t find anyone to help me. I’m too busy and don’t think it will ever happen. Other people are stronger (smarter, more resilient, more blessed, have more time, have more resources, have more support) than me. I’m just too busy and overwhelmed. Everything bad always happens to me. I’m always ____________ or never _______________.
Some questions that can let you know if you may be hooked on staying in struggle (a little or a lot):
1. argue for your limitations? “Yeah, but….” is often your answer when friends, family or colleagues offer suggestions that could help your situation.
2. use the phrase Life’s a bitch, then you die? (dating myself! Used to say this back in the day. How grim, right?!)
3. feel undeserving if you get something without “earning it?”
4. believe that a goal isn’t worth the effort because you perceive it to be too hard? (With something as important as your health, this could transfer to I’m not worth it).
5. at your core feel like there’s something’s wrong with you, that you need fixing? (I could do it if I wasn’t__________. Or If only I was_____________, I could do be, do, have_______.)
6. feel more proud when you’ve struggled to get something?
7. are you just used to things being hard? (Can you think of ways you’ve habitually made things more complicated than they needed to be?) I have!
8. see yourself as a glass-1/2 full person? (Here’s another label to watch for; I’m a ____________ person.)
9. stay so busy that overwhelm is your most dominant feeling?
Did any of these give you a nudge (or make you blush)?
If you think you may be addicted to struggle (a little or a lot), keep reading…
Can you get excited about the fact that we get to choose how we think and how we see ourselves?
Isn’t the concept exciting that struggle has more to do with mindset than circumstances?
Would you like to choose NOW (like I did as I heard this in the podcast) to start letting go of your identity as a struggler?
Here’s the work…
Changing our view of ourselves from powerless to powerful. To lovingly let go of the struggler (thank her and hug her goodbye, she did the best she could), and boldly take on your new role as an unlimited problem solver. The goal is to do life with less suffering and more ease and some simple tweaks with our thinking can change it all.
Here are some things to think about…
- Your desire to let go must be stronger than the need to hold onto your story.
- Patience + humor are important.
- Whenever there’s a choice to change something in your favor and you feel resistance, ask: what’s the alternative? (This example is hard to hear but the answer is very simple: deciding to keep seeing yourself as a struggler—->getting struggling person results.)
What do you feel when you try on the following thoughts?
I might not know how, but I will figure it out. I’ll find a way to get more space in my schedule so I have time to breathe and think calmer thoughts. Just like anyone else, with practice, I can improve the way I see myself; I can become a problem-solver, glass-half-full-kind-of-gal. I’m becoming good at hard things. I’m getting excited to look at challenges through the eyes of a problem-solver!
If your body responded with a Hellll Yes!, keep reading…
Now I invite you to a little self-compassion and some relief from being a struggler:
Find a mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and say out loud:
I had no idea I was giving in to struggle and creating so much pain for myself; I didn’t know I had a choice. I did the best I could with what I knew, and I’m tired of being a struggler. I deserve to feel better. There’s nothing wrong with me, my beliefs just kept me stuck.
And if you’re ready…
I know I can’t change overnight, but I’m letting go of the identity of a struggler right now…
Nice work! Be sure to take in what you just did. Feel the emotion that you just created with your commitment to see yourself differently and promise yourself some serious love and patience. (If it wasn’t at all emotional, you may want to do it again. I know it’s awkward, but you want your body in on it, not just your head.)
are the language of the brain
are the language of the body.”
-Dr. Joe Dispenza
I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email to let me know what came up for you.
If you feel that this message and invitation would help someone you care about, please share this with them.
Thank you for being here to take in what has helped me get more peaceful during my journey. I know your time is precious and hope you got value here!