“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
This is not my quote, but one from Eckhart Tolle’s book “The New Earth.” When life does not always go according to plan, which at times it does not, it is how we manage those challenges that matters.
I believe it is about living life deeply, leaning into the challenges even when they are painful. If we do not look at our life deeply, it is going to play out in another way. So often we take a difficult situation, we put it in a box, put the lid on, and on the shelf it goes.
Pretending these challenges have no affect on us and that we go on with our life as if it has never happened does not work, even though we may think it does.
The author/poet A.J. Darkholme explains this dynamic well: “Anything you don’t want to deal with can always be written off as being ‘in the past’ and ignored, but in doing so, you sweep it under a rug where it doesn’t go away with time – it becomes time itself, and takes on the illusion of life as we think we know it.”
Do you remember that arcade game where you stomp down on the beaver with a mallet and it comes up somewhere else? That is what happens when we do not deal with life’s challenges, we stomp it down and it will come up as a medical issue, a relationship issue, anxiety and depression, or isolation, just to name a few ways challenges can manifest.
None of us really like to deal with our challenges. Sometimes I can really procrastinate when it comes to dealing with negative stuff, but I always feel better afterwards when I have taken ownership of it. I get a lot of anxiety when I avoid, so it is much less painful when I lean into what is happening even though it is not easy. It is just about taking that first step.
Have you ever watched “The Amazing Race” where people are challenged to do something that feels overwhelmingly scary and often would bring them to tears and/or doubt? Yet once they actually take that first step, be it bungee jumping, paragliding, or absailing, it becomes an experience that they now feel proud of, exhilarated by, because they faced the uncomfortable and did it anyway.
I remember when I was getting ready to do a spree run into a volcano. It looked so overwhelming to think about running into this “hole.” You could not walk in as it was very steep, and if you stopped running you were likely to tumble your way down.
I was terrified. I felt the fear and then thought to myself, a year from now how would I feel if I did not do this? I decided to do it even though I was scared. I still think about how amazing that experience was.
I am not saying take daring risks—only if they are authentic for you. However, check in with yourself that you do not allow fear, procrastination, or anxiety to stop what you know to be the best for yourself.
Here is another good book, an older one that I still think is great: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers. This book explores how to manage your fear so you can achieve what you want to achieve.
Let’s go back to the idea of digging deeper. Digging deeper means embracing life for all it brings, the good, the bad and the challenges. Do not resist, do not push against, but embrace it, work through the pain, honor it for its lessons.
The lessons are how we grow and how we become all we are meant to be.
Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at DrZavala.com or [email protected]