Accept Struggle

Difficulties are a part of life. Facing and overcoming difficulties is part of growth. Accept that struggles are inevitable. It is the first step for dealing with them when they arise.

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accept struggle

Accepting My Struggle With Shyness

I am painfully shy. I am uncomfortable in crowds and especially in groups of people I don’t know very well. Some of you may be surprised by this revelation, although some of you will not be. It began about the time I reached junior high. I often got tongue-tied when called upon in class so I rarely spoke up. I avoided parties. And I didn’t have many friends. It was difficult to get to know others and for them to get to know me. In fact, some of the older guys at my school gave me a nickname: “Oddball”.

Yet I have belonged to the Toastmasters International organization for nearly 30 years. I’ve spoken before rooms full of people. I teach classes and lead workshops. I am still shy and sometimes I have to remind myself to reach out and speak to others. But I am not the painfully quiet, people-avoiding person I once was. Why? For years, I struggled to fit in, and worse, I struggled against the struggling. I eventually accepted the fact that I was not a naturally outgoing person and that it was OK. What wasn’t OK was for it to shackle me and keep me from meeting and talking and getting to know other people. I accepted that I had to struggle with my shyness, then I got busy to work around it.

We Are Never Finished

Sometimes, after you or I endure a particularly difficult or painful experience, we say something like, “I will never go through that again.” Then, when we do have to go through it again, we may deny it is happening or try to ignore it or suppress our emotions about it.

After a difficult struggle, we want to be finished. We’ve done the hard work, now we should be rewarded. We want to be exonerated. [Stutz and Michels] But that isn’t how life works.

The fact is sometimes you have to accept the struggle again and again and again.

Pain x Resistance = Suffering

Buddhist teaching tells us that pain does not equal suffering. It is the resistance to pain that causes suffering. Suffering comes, Byron Katie tells us, when we “want reality to be different than it is”. [Katie]

What are some ways we resist? When we don’t accept our emotions or we label them as “good” or “bad”. When we don’t accept a personality trait or we label it as “good” or “bad”.

The late Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker, author, and exemplar of a life well-lived, fell down a flight of stairs in 2007, sustaining a head injury. With the help of his daughter, Julie, he wrote a book about how this changed his life. In Embrace The Struggle, Ziglar wrote: “If we stay riled up and in turmoil, always questioning ‘why’ and visiting the ‘if’ questions, we relive the pain of our emotions again and again. We get mired in the wallowing hole of self-pity or self-doubt, and our attitude becomes laced with fear, regret, and resentment.” [Ziglar]

We begin to climb out of the “wallowing hole” of self-pity and self-doubt by accepting what is. Accepting doesn’t mean you can’t work to change. It means you are no longer judging yourself, no longer resisting. Less resistance equals less suffering.

Acceptance And Momentum

“I love acceptance. Acts of surrender create forward momentum.” ~ Alison Hummel [Hummel]

Acceptance is the first step for change and growth. Taking the first small step starts to build forward momentum. Until we accept, we are going in circles at best, stuck in rumination and wishful thinking.

When I look around today, I see many opportunities for acceptance. I suspect you can, too. Here are just a few.

  • the Covid-19 pandemic
  • financial/employment situations
  • social unrest
  • personal issues > depression; anxiety; worry and stress; fear and anger

Again, accepting these and other issues doesn’t mean you agree or endorse them. It simply means you acknowledge that this is the current reality; that you accept the struggle. From there, you can take the first baby steps forward, building momentum.

Hope

“If we accept that the past is the past, yesterday ended last night, and today is a brand-new day, we can have an attitude of hope.” [Ziglar]

One way to take a step forward is to embrace hope. In Making Hope Happen, Shane Lopez describes what it means to have hope: “The hopeful share core beliefs that set them apart from others. Two of them are:
The future will be better than the present.
I have the power to make it so.”
[Lopez]

Hope is the idea that we can learn and grow and become better. This helps in our struggle to accept what is as we can see an outcome different from the present situation.

Find The Blessing In The Lesson [1]

“Don’t shy away from challenges,” writes Lolly Daskal, “but rather wade into the struggle and get comfortable with operating and living there. Struggles are a way of life, and we have to learn to confront them. And you never know — something [sic] the most challenging things can hold the greatest opportunity for success.” [Daskal]

Accept that struggle will always be part of your reality. We are never “finished”, never exonerated. We can feel the pain but let go of the suffering. And through hope, we can begin to see the gift, the lesson, in the things we struggle to accept. And that is embracing the Excelerated Life™!

(Please NOTE: I am neither a medical professional nor a licensed counselor. If you are struggling and simply cannot accept or move past a situation you are dealing with, I urge you to seek the assistance of a qualified professional.)


Excelerated Acceptance™ – identifying and accepting the things you are struggling with — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being and a life of meaning, purpose and service.

Read more about the Excelerated Life.


Footnotes:

[1] From the quote: “Mistakes are about getting the blessing in the lesson and the lesson in the blessing.” ~ Michael Beckwith

Resources:

Daskal, Lolly. “How to Accept Yourself, Your Life, and Your Reality.” Inc. Mansueto Ventures, February 15, 2018. Web. June 27, 2020.
https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/how-to-accept-yourself-your-life-your-reality.html

Hummel, Alison. “Accepting Your Battles: How Struggles Bring Gifts.” Tiny Buddah. Tiny Buddah, LLC, July, 2011. Web. June 27, 2020.
https://tinybuddha.com/blog/accepting-your-battles-how-struggles-can-be-gifts/

Katie, Byron. Loving What Is. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2002.

Lopez, PhD., Shane L. Making Hope Happen: Creating The Future You Want For Yourself And Others. New York: Atria Paperback, a Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc., 2013.

Stutz, Phil and Barry Michels. The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, And Creativity. New York: The Random House Publishing Group, 2012.

Ziglar, Zig and Julie Ziglar Norman. Embrace The Struggle: Living Life On Life’s Terms. New York: Howard Books, a Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc., 2009.

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