Feeling Challenged? Congrats!

Date posted: October 31, 2013

“I feel like I’ve been kicked back 10 steps,” my client says with exasperation. “I’ve been making such great progress in so many areas, but now feel like I’m back at square one.”

Marybeth (not her real name) has been working hard, breaking down long-held blocking beliefs, healing past wounds, and committing to her craft consistently. The hurdles she’s up against feel like a universal shit storm, undoing years of dedication. However, I encourage her to consider a different perspective.

“What if this current wave of challenges is a graduation of sorts?”

“Huh?” she says, sounding confused.

“Stay with me here. What if that beautiful universal force that is always available to support us sees how strong you’ve become; how willing you’ve been to show up and take action, that it believes you’re ready to take things to the next level?”

“Hmmm, even considering that possibility makes my body and energy soften a bit,” says Marybeth.

“Then let’s just choose to see all of this as growing pains instead of a setback,” I suggest.

We’ve all had those periods where you’re going along swimmingly, feeling like you’re making great progress on life’s journey and on your emotional work, and then curve ball after obstacle after funk is piled onto you and you wonder what you did to deserve it.  But what if, instead of wondering what you did to “deserve” it, you reflect on what you did to “earn” it?

This different perspective can create a powerful shift that allows you to reclaim some power over the situation instead of spiraling down the victim rabbit hole.

Think about how you would have reacted to these hurdles before the important progress you’ve made. See if you can identify the thoughts, defaults, and coping mechanisms that are now a part of your toolbox versus the old ones. Are they more self-loving and supportive? Does your approach now reinforce acceptance and love more often than self-defeat and abuse?

While none of us will ever be completely “fixed” or perfect (how boring would that be anyway!), acknowledging your growth is an integral part of your healing and thriving. The universe will acknowledge your success both with wonderful gifts and opportunities, as well as challenges to kick things up a notch. So if you’re feeling aggravated and defeated right now, I congratulate you. Happy Graduation!

Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. How does this perspective resonate with you? Can you look back over a recent challenge and try to see it as a testament of your progress? If not, what thoughts are getting in your way? Let’s keep chatting in the comments below.

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  1. Oh, I am so with you with this. Three years ago, everything was going ‘wrong’ for me. I had three deaths in the family within a few months and I became very depressed. My son was by then away at Uni so, as a single parent, I felt lonely and isolated, and missed him dreadfully. Then my right hand girl at work left and I had no support in running my business. This caused a breakdown, the loss of the firm and eventually the loss of my home because I couldn’t keep up the repayments. I even had to sell my car.

    The first good thing that came out of that is that I was actually diagnosed as bipolar (which explained a lot!) and once I had started to receive help for that, life started to look clearer, so I started to become more present in my situation. I stopped drinking any alcohol because of the meds and also stopped smoking; even though I hadn’t been a heavy smoker, I decided to knock it on the head altogether. Because I didn’t have the car any more, I used – and still use – public transport and walk more, so I got more exercise. I started to take more care of the food I ate and stopped eating fast food because I had more time to source and prepare fresh ingredients.

    Then I started to be more grateful. My values changed and I realised I no longer wanted to be working all hours for money just to spend it on ‘stuff’ so I decided to start some volunteering to give me confidence and get me back out in the world. I started to feel better. Doing things for others does that to you. It stops you concentrating on your own problems and instead forces you to see how well off you are in comparison to others.

    I started looking for work again, so I updated my CV, spotted the gaps in my experience and qualifications, and started training to bring my certificates up to date and learn some new things too. I took a teaching course, a customer service course, a business and admin course; then I was tasked with setting up a work club for other people in my age group who were also having trouble finding work. I found this to be the most interesting work I had ever done.

    Then I started a professional course in Information Advice and Guidance and am progressing on to the post grad level one soon. I’m looking into running a Careers Guidance firm once I graduate from that. I feel as if I have been given a new lease of life.

    I eventually found a nice little flat, which is cheap to run, so that even though I am still out of work I am managing ok. My window looks over a lovely green area and onto a valley; my cat has loads of space to run around and trees to climb, and there are squirrels, birds and foxes too.

    I am very happy even though money is tight. I’m only looking for part time work though, because I want to keep up the volunteering role too!

    God moves in mysterious ways!

    Paula

    • Wow, Paula! What a powerful testament to seizing opportunity during hard times. You are an amazing woman with resolve and determination. Brava! Thanks for sharing your story as I know it will inspire others to see even the toughest situations as a chance at a graduation. <3

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