How do you respond when a challenging situation shows up in your life? Do you classify it differently or place a different emphasis on the circumstance depending on the time of the year? Challenges are unaware of seasons, holidays or any other aspect of our life. We decide the degree of importance in our life.
Of course challenges aren’t easy, they’re challenges! Rarely do we like the challenges we face. And though the issue appears to be the problem, I pose the real concern is how we “show up”. When life delivers unwanted, ugly, painful, unfair, etc, etc . . . how do you respond? Do you mope around feeling sorry for yourself and dwell on the problem? Or do you acknowledge the circumstance and shift the focus to what you can do to help yourself or improve the situation?
Somehow a response of the latter has produced the misconception we like or approve of what we face. This leads to another myth which implies we need to negate how we feel. On the contrary. We simply choose our response beyond how we feel. Why? Because, our response continually impacts what shows up next in our life.
As we generate negative energy (feelings) we attract more negative energy, feelings and circumstances. This has taken me years to grasp and apply and can still catch myself starting off track!
Some may read the last sentence and conclude discouragement – years – ugh! Life is the culmination of what we think, say and do on a daily basis. This grows into years – whether beneficial or detrimental. So yes, years of practice to replace years of ineffectiveness.
Others may read years and think “Wow, what did she do to persist that long?” Or, “Isn’t that great she stuck with it?”
Your response determines which path you’re on and where you’re heading. If you like you’re path and where you’re heading, stay the course. If not, you can change anytime you decide! Some may exclaim, “It’s not that easy.”
Easy isn’t the consideration. Is what you’re thinking, saying or doing working for you? Are you getting outcomes you’d like? Based on your answers, act accordingly.
Some common interfering aspects to making necessary changes include:
- We aren’t getting outcomes we like yet refuse to change
- We decide to implement the necessary changes but expect instant gratification
- Making excuses for our circumstances and perspective
- Wanting someone or something outside ourselves to change to make our life better.
None of these approaches will lead us to successful outcomes. Rather, these represent the “victim mentality” – stuff happens to me. Often this mindset is accompanied with the idea we’re so busy dealing with things we don’t have time to work on ourselves or make better choices. Did you recognize that as an excuse?
In our society we often seem to be waiting or putting on hold what’s right in front of us or most needing our attention. We use tactics such as: when we get older, graduate, get a job, change jobs, get married, divorced, retired and on and on – a continuous cycle of procrastination.
What if we recognized what showed up as the opportunity to practice applying new thoughts, words and behavior patterns? These take time to develop and though we’d like them to, do not take root instantly. What if you looked at each challenge as simply an experiment? How are you improving or progressing?
As you respond differently to situations, different types of situations will show up in your life (and not until then). And here’s the critical point, you cannot respond differently with the same mindset as the “victim” view which means life-long learning is essential. It is NOT an option. Otherwise we respond the same way. Responding the same means we keep getting the same challenges over and over again – until we choose differently.
What if instead of asking why life keeps delivering the same frustrations we ask why do we keep responding in the same manner and expecting a different result. The latter by the way has been said to be the definition of insanity. How quick we are to see what others could do to improve their thoughts, words and actions. What about our own?
Consider a current challenge in your life. Imagine it isn’t you in the situation but your best friend or a loved one. What would you want them to think, say or do? Now you think, say or do that action!