Why Do We Struggle?
By Kristen N. Fox
One of the major themes in the shift to the new age is the change from struggle to ease, from hardship to joy. Ironically, it seems like many of us try to STRUGGLE our way to enlightenment, which doesn’t work. You can get there from here, by not by struggling!
For most of us, struggling through certain areas of our lives is a habit, unconscious or not. We learned early on that we don’t just wish for something and have it appear on the table in front of us – we have to DO SOMETHING in order to get what we want or even EARN this item. Then we hear the “life is not struggle” line, and it feels like truth to us – so why do we keep on struggling and how do we stop?
The most direct and the most vague answer to that question is that we struggle because we don’t know who we are. If you are struggling in any area of your life, it’s most likely a result of having accepted a limiting belief as truth. For instance, if you are struggling to make ends meet, you are having to put a lot of energy into creating money because you don’t believe you really CAN have a lot of money, or you don’t believe you deserve it. You have identified yourself with this limitation instead of the unlimited truth that you can choose anything you want and BE anything you want.
Part of the struggle to stop struggling, if you’ll pardon my phrasology here, is the struggle to find out who we really are. Many of us go through a time of “processing” where we learn about what we’ve been believing, and we discard that which no longer serves us. At the same time we’re getting the hang of reconnecting with our inner selves, our true selves.
Here’s another way of looking at it – there was a young child who loved mathematics and just flew through the answers on a test. The teacher thought she must have cheated and so failed her. The truth was that she just KNEW the answers. She didn’t “show her work” or struggle through each linear step that the teacher expected and so was called a cheater. As a result, she stopped liking mathematics and school in general. The child accepted the truth of the teacher over her own knowing and closed herself down in this area. She stopped having a relationship with herself when it came to school and mathematics and instead, dealt with the world with a “false” construct or mask of herself as “limited”. Perhaps she did this because she believed in authority figures, or because she wanted to fit in and have other people like her. But whatever the reason, she was now expressing an ‘acceptable construct’ of herself, instead of who she really was. And school and math was no longer easy and joyful for her.
This is also a good example of how we perpetuate struggle. I remember feeling almost invincible when I was a kid, like I could have and do anything I wanted to. And then I learned “how things were done” – for instance, you couldn’t just CREATE money, you had to play along with the rules set up by society. Work a job, invest, earn it some way – you couldn’t just WISH money to appear – that wasn’t ALLOWED.
Right – it may not have been allowed by the limiting beliefs of our mass consciousness, but it certainly was a truth that was more in alignment with our unlimited selves than the conditional selves we learn to become.
The great, but confusing part of struggle is that there is no solution. There’s no answer on how to stop struggling except to just STOP. See your struggle and refuse to participate. Refuse to accept thoughts that try to point you back towards struggle. Make a large open space for yourself where none of the old thoughts come back in.
You will be tempted to fill this empty space with old thoughts when new thoughts don’t immediately pop in, but ignore them. Sit with the blankness. In areas where we’ve struggled most of our lives, we are very comfortable feeling the drama of struggle and not at all comfortable with clear, open space. Soon enough, you’ll be thinking those new thoughts that allow you to have whatever you want, without struggling for it.
And then, on the other hand, you may not be ready to give up struggling just yet. DON’T FORCE IT!! If you find something appealing about the drama, just pay attention to what draws you about it, and then decide whether you want to continue with the drama or just go to what you say you’ve been wanting all along. Don’t STRUGGLE with yourself over your desire to continue the drama – accept yourself for where you are and what draws you in the moment. A friend of mine calls this “deciding to decide.”
The universe responds to your beliefs, about yourself and your world, and beliefs are just thoughts that we have chosen so often that we hardly even think about them anymore. There’s an easy way to tell if you are heading down the road to struggle… do the thoughts you are choosing about yourself make you feel good or bad? Do the thoughts you are choosing about yourself support what you want to experience or keep you separated from your desires?
Once you start paying attention to how you feel, you’ll have all sorts of opportunities to stop struggling and choose easier and more joyous paths. Just be patient with yourself, and honest too. There’s nothing to work at, and you don’t have to be any holier or more spiritual than you are when you are just being yourself. There’s no grade to make or fail, and there’s no one standard to live up to. Just be yourself, and the struggle dissolves away!
[Originally published on Themestream, June 2000.]