Challenges are scary to deal with, especially if they are big challenges that have the potential to be life-altering. I, for one, have always struggled with finding the internal strength to even acknowledge most of the challenges I face, let alone find the strength to overcome them.
It’s hard. It’s hard to look at something that is going wrong in life and not want to run the other way. Even if something isn’t “wrong,” but rather just challenging, many of us have the tendency to struggle due to the fact that we want to stay inside the parameters of our comfort zones for as long as we can. Our comfort zones bring us comfort, and anything outside of this zone can result in a lack of self-belief.
But according to Michael A Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, many of us are facing our challenges in an incorrect manner. In fact, we (*cough cough* me included) are only adding to the size and power of the problems in which we are experiencing. As Singer puts it, there is only one way to overcome any challenge that you face in life: to face that problem head-on with everything you have.
Everybody Has Their Own Challenges
As much as it pains me to say it, Singer is right. I look at my past for examples and can see that every time I have tried to hide from my challenges or act as if they don’t exist, they really just grow in size and eventually consume more and more of my life.
Take my eating habits for example. Ladies and gentleman, I have struggled with food in the past and I still do struggle with food. It’s not something that’s easy to admit to, especially because I am a male in my mid-twenties and food struggles aren’t something that’s common or really even heard of within my age group, but it’s me.
For years I had tried to hide this challenge. Not just from others, but internally as well. I didn’t want others to see that I was battling with food, but at the same time, I also wasn’t ready to admit that I was battling with another illness.
Same thing with my depression. I knew I was depressed far before I got diagnosed. The reason it took me so long to see a doctor was because I was afraid of the label that would come with it. I thought that if people knew I was depressed, they would look at me differently or judge me even more than before. As somebody who needed to be accepted by others, I wasn’t wanting to be judged any more than I already was.
In both circumstances, I hid my challenges from the outside world for as long as I could. I would even try to convince myself that they weren’t really problems or that I would get over them in a short matter of time. So, like most of us tend to do, I bottled them up and acted as though they didn’t exist.
Failing To Recognize Your Problems
In failing to recognize these challenges, what I was really doing was failing to cope with them. I was adding to their strength and severity until one day they would simply become too much to keep locked inside. Everybody reaches a breaking point in which the challenges they are facing become too much to keep locked in and they just let loose.
That’s what happened to me. By the time I found the strength to even admit that I was dealing with these challenges, they had grown to the point where they controlled much of my life. It was hard to go out to eat with friends, to put myself in any social setting, or to even find the strength on some days to roll out of bed. Because I had tried to hide my depression and eating disorder for so long, they were beginning to control my life while I was still in the denial stage of even having them in the first place.
This isn’t the way we should deal with any obstacle we face. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start overcoming the challenges that you face or until they grow in size to the point where they boil over. Start right now. Recognize your problems, acknowledge them, and take back your life.
The ONE & ONLY Way To Overcome Any Problem In Life
In dealing with our challenges, we have two choices. The first choice is to do what I had done for so many years and act as though they don’t exist. As you can see from how powerful these problems became in my life, this isn’t the right way to handle it.
The other choice you can make is to recognize the challenges that you are faced with for what they are, find the inner strength that you possess, and rip that shit off – much like a band-aid. Don’t act as though they don’t exist. Acknowledge them so that you can free yourself from their burdens.
Take this example that Singer gives for some context:
“Let’s say that you are walking one day and fall into a rose bush. After getting up, you realize that there is a large thorn that is stuck in your arm. At that time, you realize you have two choices to make. You can either deal with the immediate pain now of ripping that thorn out and moving on with your life, or you can avoid the pain and leave the thorn in your arm. Just know that in doing this, it’s going to impact the rest of your life.“
See, it may not seem like a big deal right now, but in a way to comfort yourself and prevent yourself from feeling the pain of something bumping the thorn, you actually go through life doing anything and everything just to make sure that thorn isn’t touched.
You don’t hug people because you don’t want them to accidentally touch the thorn, you don’t go out with friends because you don’t want them to see that you have this “thing” sticking out of your arm, and you don’t wear certain clothes because they aren’t comfortable and could cause you pain.
While you think that you have actually won because you never had to feel that initial wave of pain from ripping the thorn out, it actually now controls every aspect of your life and is causing more pain now than before. It may be emotional pain instead of physical pain, but it’s still pain.
Had you made the choice to rip that thorn out right away, you would have forgotten about the pain and would have been able to move on with your life. But since you didn’t, you are now faced to deal with the consequences of added pain until you do rip it out.
Make The Choice To Overcome Any Problem
So what are you going to do now? What are any of us going to do the next time we experience a challenge in life?
Rip it out. Rip it out and free yourself from any added pain.
My friends, it’s hard. I’m not going to sit here and act as though it’s not hard to acknowledge all of the problems you feel in life, let alone to find the strength to rip them off, but in doing so, you will find a sense of freedom in life and only then will you be able to move on with your life.
Everybody experiences challenges and hardships in life. Nobody is perfect, but the more we try to act as though our lives are perfect, the larger and stronger our problems will become.
Before You Go
Do yourself a favor today and stop hiding the challenges that you face. Acknowledge them, know that they will never define who you are as an individual, and free yourself from their burdens.
Dealing with challenges and struggles is a natural part of life. Lack of acceptance towards the challenges and struggles you face will only contribute to the strength and growth of these challenges. Nobody wants that, so hold on to something sturdy, recognize the challenges in which you deal with, and rip away the emotional burdens that are associated with them.