Struggle and Surrender
Life involves struggle. Struggle involves suffering. This is a fact of life. However, how we respond to the struggle is in our hands. It’s so much more productive to stop resisting what is and just accept the struggle as something to be expected.
Instead of resisting the struggle it’s far better to lean in and accept the hardships and discomfort as an important part of life, as an opportunity to grow. It makes everything easier. Don’t waste energy resisting it. Instead put energy into the areas of your life that you do have control over, by putting your attention on what’s right in front of you.
It also helps to appreciate the little and big things in life, from the beauty in nature to the love you share with friends and family. Give energy and attention to appreciation instead of the frustration of unmet expectations. Accept what is, and go beyond that acceptance to embrace whatever is happening in the present.
Also recognize that we often learn most from the challenging experiences in life, when we go through the hard times. Why not try shifting our perspective when we’re in the midst of the struggle, and appreciate that at some point we’ll find something good come out of the hard times.
As with anything, the more often we practice this, the more it will become a habit. So much so that when we’re confronted with hard times once more, we’ll be able to navigate them with ease and find that we can grow at an exponentially higher rate by leaning into and embracing the struggle.
Write down at least one thing you’re struggling with in your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small. Write it down with the intention to accept where you’re at and surrender to it. Recognize the areas within the struggle that you do have some control over, as well as the areas that don’t. Both are valuable to recognize so you know when to act and when to just surrender and lean in.
“Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.”
When a newly formed butterfly begins to break out of its cocoon, you should not help it in breaking the chrysalis. Doing so will stifle its growth. This process of breaking out of the cocoon is an essential part of the butterfly’s development. Any effort to assist from the outside could impede the butterfly’s delicate constitution and render it flightless.
The same can be said for the struggles we go through in life. While we don’t go through physiological metamorphosis like the caterpillar, we do go through struggles in life that leave us transformed when we make it to the other side. During these important times of transformation it may feel like senseless pain and suffering. But so often the pain and suffering is exacerbated in our own minds, by the way we stew in the sadness and disappointments in life.
Our logical thinking brain often tries to think ourselves out of a problem or challenging situation. While the logic we’re gifted with does help solve problems, we sometimes need to turn this voice off and accept what is. We can’t think ourselves free of the pains of life. We just need to be, and feel the pain in order to work through it and let it teach us invaluable lessons.
Have you ever been told to just ‘let it go’? This can quite possibly be one of the most frustrating and irritating things to be told when you’re going through a tough situation. Rightfully so, because it’s hard to let something go that has either caused us a great deal of pain or even a great deal of joy. The good times are sometimes the hardest to let go. Instead of just forcing yourself to ‘let it go’, try to ‘lean in’. Lean into the struggle, begin to surrender to the reality that life is full of suffering. Recognize that life is constantly contracting so that it can expand in unseen ways.
Don’t waste energy on resisting. Instead put energy in the areas of your life that you do have control over, being present, enjoying nature, and loving those close to you.
Accept what is and then go one step beyond; embrace it and welcome it. Have you ever had a moment of clarity after going through a really hard situation and then realizing after the fact that it was all for the best? It’s so hard to see while we’re in the midst of it but begin more and more to trust that life is happening for us and not to us. With this perspective we begin to look for the ways in which the hard times actually help us grow, learn and evolve.
This practice of acceptance and surrender will develop over time so that whenever we’re faced with a chrysalis breaking moment we can be thankful for the struggle and break through stronger on the other side.
Accepting the struggle does not mean you should lay back and let life happen without your participation. If this were the case, the butterfly would never make it out of the chrysalis. It has to struggle and work HARD to get out of its previous home so that it can fly free. Once you accept the struggle, the path of action will be laid out in front of you so that you know where to firmly take action.
Examine your actions and mindset, what struggles are you resisting? How can you better accept struggle in your life and embrace it? How can you adopt the perspective that life is happening for you and not to you? How can you learn, grow, and evolve by surrendering to and letting go of the struggle?
Don and the entire PurePower team