Are You Addicted to the Struggle?

This is a little different than my normal posts… I’m going to be really transparent today. I seem to be stuck in overwhelm and exhaustion. Again. It made me start to wonder… am I addicted to struggle? In my mind, is there something noble about life being hard? Does it make me think I’m a better person when people constantly exclaim, “I don’t know how you do it all!” What exactly does this perpetuate for me?

The struggle.

I hang on to self-talk phrases such as “It’s so hard being a single parent!”, “I have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet…”, “I have no help, I’m doing it all myself!”, and “I never get any down time, and I don’t even sleep.” Okay. These phrases are all true in my current reality. But do they have to be? After all, I create my reality. I can blame it on outside circumstances, but ultimately I am creating my day-to-day story.

I used to hear life coaches or gurus tell me to simply drop my story, or decide that things are easy and they will be… and I would get really ticked off. I would mutter, “Easy for you to say! YOU don’t have kids! You have someone helping you with the bills!” I thought it was rubbish. The more I open my heart, though, the more I am convinced that I’m addicted to this mindset. You know how I really know? It doesn’t matter if I am working full time, part time or if I just won the lottery (well, I’d like to test that one out for myself, ha ha!). My life would still run at this hectic pace no matter what my outward circumstances may be. I would fill my days with ridiculous deadlines, over-commit myself, and remain exhausted. It’s an inside job (ouch!).

I have this AMAZING book called Choosing Easy World by Julia Rogers Hamrick. It spells out the solution so simply and brilliantly – just choose Easy World and watch the stress and turmoil melt away as your problems are worked out effortlessly and joy abounds – if you let it. Yet, I lose this logic daily (hourly!) and find myself here again.

I do get reminders and moments of clarity like a brick to the back of the head – DOH! I’m making things difficult again with my mental gymnastics. Let go… give it to Easy World and it will work out perfectly. Yes, it’s really that simple. So why do I experience amnesia every day? Yep, I’m addicted to the struggle!

What does this have to do with Autism?

Have you ever watched your child with Autism play? They live in the present moment 100% of the time.  They’re happy. They enjoy doing what brings them happiness. It’s like they’re programmed to follow their bliss. This is the way we are supposed to be – all of us! There is a gift and a lesson here that we are in danger of missing if we’re too caught up in the story of struggle.

I receive amazing gifts and lessons from both my children daily, and I am there to guide and encourage them to be their best self. But what other lessons am I inadvertently passing on to my neuro-typical teen? Am I teaching her to live in the present, or does she pick up on my limiting thoughts by default? When I hear her say things like, “I’m worried we won’t have enough money”, “I’m stressed out,” and “Am I skinny enough?” my heart sinks. Those are not gifts I mean to leave behind! I am automatically teaching her about the struggle as well, whereas my Autistic child is too busy following his higher self and having fun! Hmmm.

So What Do You Do?

Well, I can’t really “preach” until I get at least one foot out of the struggle mentality (without perpetually putting it right back in, that is). Perhaps we can explore this together, and remind each other to take the express train back to Easy World when we’re caught up in the “What if” syndrome or the “It’s soooooo hard” mantra.

Watch your children while they play – they gravitate naturally toward their joy. Do more of that. Every day. Let me know how it goes by commenting below or posting on my Facebook page, and I’ll do the same!

You can start by following Julia’s advice: “Breathe, Relax, Allow” :)

7 thoughts on “Are You Addicted to the Struggle?

  1. Connie says:

    Great article Debi! A lot of food for thought and self-reflection. It all makes sense but putting it into practice consistently is the hard part. Maybe if we try real hard to notice the positives – in the present moment – when we have “one foot out of the struggle” it will reinforce our desire to stay there?

  2. Elise says:

    This is very interesting. Just yesterday my sister pointed out to be that I am so used to dealing with such a myriad of issues all the time, I am afraid to not be “ON.” Timely article for me.

  3. Debi Taylor says:

    Thanks, Connie! Great advice :) We need just as many reinforcers as our children sometimes!
    Elise – thanks for commenting! I’m glad it spoke to you (and that I’m not the only one!).

  4. Patti says:

    Great blog! I think that you are on the right track and recognizing that the thought comes first is an important step towards getting out of that “struggle” mentality. Changing the thought process always precedes the change we seek.
    One of my favorite quotes is “Man is that he might have joy”. If we can just remember that we were created to have joy, what different eyes do we see the world through.
    Be good to yourself, we are not supposed to be “super women” despite what the world wants us to believe and this applies to all of us, no matter what our circumstances.
    You are making a huge difference in the lives of mothers and fathers everywhere – keep up the good work!

  5. Michael says:

    Sometimes it seems like we are indeed addicted to the hardness of life. Not too surprising, I guess, seeing as how we are taught from a very early age that nothing that comes easy is worth having, that we have to work hard in school, in college, at our jobs, just to be worthy of whatever somebody else decides we are worthy of.

    You are worthy of the best in life. I think one of my favorite affirmations from Louise Hay is “I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the best in life and I now gratefully accept it.”

    The first times I said it, I could remember the first part, but when it came to remembering the second about being worthy of the best, I could not remember that one at all.

    I can say it more easily now, but only after a bunch of repetitions. Could be worse things I guess. :-)

Leave a Reply