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You know those annoying people who read a certain book or watch a super lofty, award winning documentary and then can’t shut up about it? They think they’ve learned some great, life-changing wisdom and then are super annoying because they want to tell everyone else about it. And you’re like, yes, shut up! I know all about visualization! I’ve been visualizing a Snowflake bracelet from Van Cleef & Arpels for ages and it still hasn’t materialized! Yeah I know it isn’t how you really read The Secret! It was just a joke!
Well I’ve become one of those people. Over Thanksgiving I read The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck, by Mark Manson, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I would recommend the entire book, but the part that really stood out is this idea of “the struggle” (which luckily, for you people who can’t make it through a few hundred pages, is covered in the beginning). It’s the idea that all good things in life are worth a struggle, and that it’s better to list out the things in life that you are willing to struggle for, rather than just the things you want. Because when you just think about the things you want in life, the list can be endless, but when you think about the work in actually getting and achieving them, and what it takes, you really hone in on what’s important to you. And the key lesson is accepting that to get good things in life, you have to struggle. You have to feel pain, and despair, and exhaustion, to get to the great things in life. So the next time you feel like you’re really having a tough time of it, you are comforted in the understanding that it’s part of the path towards the good.
Before reading this, I had never thought of things this way. I was miserable, so I was miserable. I was tired, so I was tired. I was sad, and that was the end of it. Afterwards however a lot of things in my life made more sense to me. The areas that I’m proud of – oh man how I’ve struggled to get there. And the areas I’m disappointed at, or have completely failed – I view them differently, like maybe somewhere deep down they were things I wasn’t willing to put in the effort with to begin with, or maybe I didn’t realize that I would need to work hard and struggle, and now I have a renewed charge to do so.
What this philosophy has been particularly helpful with is understanding that frustration and pain are part of getting somewhere good. Here are a few examples of questions I’ve been asking myself:
- Am I willing to deal with the struggle of traveling/going out with children, so I can feel like I haven’t had to give up too much of my old life?
- Am I willing to struggle to be a good mother?
- Am I willing to struggle/give up certain things to have an assured and happy retirement?
- Am I willing to struggle to have a good relationship with my husband, even when we are both tired and stressed?
- Am I willing to struggle to have a fulfilling career that I’m proud of?
- Am I willing to struggle to keep up relationships with old friends?
- AmI willing to struggle to be healthy and reasonably fit?
- Am I willing to struggle to do all the things I want to do and accomplish (aka be super tired)?
As we come up to the end of 2017, which has been a year of major ups and downs at least for me personally, I know I’ll be thinking of the struggle.
Thank you for all indulging in my self-help rant of the week…I promise we will be back to regular programming now (and yes I have been enjoying the holiday sales).
But for now, I’d love to know: what is your struggle?