Learning to embrace struggle and practice gratitude for life's obstacles and challenges.
Your social media feeds are about to blow up with images and posts about gratitude and giving thanks. I am going to jump on that bandwagon but I hope to offer a slightly different spin.
If I would ask you to reflect on the things that you are thankful for, what would initially come to mind? Chances are, it would be all the wonderful things in your life. Your friends. Your family. Perhaps having a warm place to sleep at night.
But what about the not so great things in your life? Your struggles? Your obstacles? Your challenges? Every single one of us experiences struggle. Mine might be different than yours but we all struggle. It’s part of the human experience.
And how often do we consciously take the time to be grateful for life’s challenges? Like truly thankful?
I believe that we are here to learn, to grow, and to evolve. And if life were peachy all the time, we wouldn’t push ourselves to do better and be better. After all, we don't seek an answer or a different approach unless something ISN'T working for us.
And take a minute to think about how powerful that is. We figure out what will work by experiencing what doesn’t. We learn through making mistakes. We learn through falling down. We learn through challenge. We learn through struggle.
It is easy to be thankful for a struggle when you are safely on the other side. They say hindsight is 20/20. You can see clearly after enough time has passed. You can reflect on the wisdom you gained through a particular experience once it is over. But what about when you are smack in the middle of a struggle? When the road is rocky? And the seas are rough?
Whenever I am in the midst of a challenge and am able to take a step back and ask myself – how is this experience here to grow me? How is this situation here to push me toward becoming a better version of myself? Whenever I can take a bird's eye view and embrace the fact that there is something that I need to learn, a MASSIVE shift always happens. ALWAYS.
As we move into a holiday centered around gratitude, take a minute to appreciate your biggest struggle. Not one that is already behind you but one that you are experiencing right now. Try to see it as an opportunity to learn more about your capabilities, lean into your strength, develop your character, and cultivate your wisdom.
Commit right now to re-framing your struggle and viewing it through the lens of growth and opportunity. I am not saying this to undermine your experience. Not in the slightest. I am saying this in hopes of offering a slightly different perspective. Especially if you feel stuck, lost, and defeated. Understand that your struggle is here to teach you and help you to become better. The question is, will you become the student?
I’ll leave you with this quote by Zig Ziglar that seriously gets me every time...
"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you."
Here's to becoming unstoppable.