You see, the struggles are necessary. The roadblocks, the hurdles, the obstacles—I mean, damn, we do have quite a few words to identify them, don’t we? Anyway, these challenges are what make us the multidimensional, fully fleshed out beings that we are. In the gym, at work, in our relationships, we will never be immune to the myriad struggles that will shape our character—nor should we aim to be.
We will inevitable fail a lift and have lackluster training days. We’ll struggle with our diets and our perception of our bodies. We’ll have arguments and breakups. We’ll get fired or laid off. We’ll have difficult coworkers and moments of imposter syndrome as we chase our dreams.
But because we spend so much of our time trying to insulate ourselves from struggle, we often aren’t prepared to respond to them when they inevitably find their way through our carefully crafted shields. We can all too easily meet challenges by completely falling apart, and when we do so, we miss out on the opportunity to expand from these struggles.
Listen, I’ve done the breaking apart thing. I’m sure you have too. It looks a lot like self victimization and a prison of our own design. It looks like blame and shame and resentment. It looks a lot like righteous indignation—like pain with no purpose or end in sight; like an oddly familiar attachment to misery.
Breaking open, on the other hand, now that’s a different story. It looks a lot like sitting with the rawness of our experience and allowing it to stretch us in various directions. It looks a lot like leaning into uncomfortable emotions, unpacking our patterns, and rewriting our narrative. Breaking open is a potent elixir—it burns and stings and heals.
Heartbreak can force us to recognize our default ways of being, and ask us to examine if those ways are serving us or stealing from us.
If we can learn to break open rather than break apart, to sit with the demons and invite them over for a glass of wine rather than allow them to dictate over our very existence, we’ll find increasing power and freedom through each and every struggle we face.