Long before my coaching days I attended a seminar for women facilitated by Denise Linn. One young woman listened with growing impatience to Denise’s talk and finally burst out defiantly: “You make it all sound so easy – but I have problem x, y and z to deal with! And anyway, I don’t believe in in easy solutions!”
To this day I recall how I thought, “God, this girl is right. There is no easy solution. Things are really hard for her. I wonder what could help her. ” And then Denise said calmly and with the ever so slightest smile: “So this is interesting. You don’t believe in easy solutions.” This young woman’s jaw dropped (mine too), when she realised the cause and effect.
A classical case of addiction to struggle. While it might not be always so easy to spot, I don’t know of one person who is not addicted to struggle in one form or another, yours truly included.
One of my own eye-openers occurred in my kitchen. A visiting friend watched me as I bustled around, tiring myself in preparing a simple soup. Finally she said: “You know, I’m lazy, and this is why I’m very good at finding easy ways.” And showing me a way to do it, which took about 10% of my time with the same result. At first I was miffed, and it didn’t feel “right” (read: it was too easy). And then: I, doing things the lazy way? Never!
But gradually (I’m nothing if not stubborn) it dawned on me that she was onto something: I was making things unnecessary complicated, and, what is more, I was making a virtue out of it!
Since then I have been studying simplicity, ease (and its twin sister elegance), and while I have my real-life-not-just-ease-and-elegant moments, I have learned to spot the trouble-addiction monster when it rears its ugly head.
Here are the signs to watch out. They all indicate a teeny, tiny or full-blown addiction to struggle:
- You believe that whatever you’ll do, it is not much worth, if there’s no blood, sweat and tears. I hear you. I grew up with this one and am still working on it…
- You believe deep down that you don’t deserve things coming easy. This often stems from the fact that deep down you believe that you don’t deserve anything at all. Or that you feel you’re a fraud and soon everyone find out. Then at least you’ll have the struggle to justify yourself.
- You are so used to get things the hard way, you’d be utterly suspicious or you’d feel like a fraud (again) if suddenly there was no more struggle. A bit like parents who grow suspicious when the children suddenly go quiet…
- Working through struggles keeps you busy – so you don’t have much time for anything else. That’s ideal if you want to avoid looking at some not-so-pleasant-truths (who doesn’t?)
- You are prouder when you obtain things through struggle as when you obtain the same result with ease.
- You constantly feel that you are in some ways broken and need to be fixed. Next week I’ll show you a sure-fire way to see if that is you.
- Of course the exterior circumstances need to change, before you can really…. (fill in your personal struggle-addicted delusion). If only…
- You tell the exact same story about your struggles to several persons in a row, convincing yourself more each time that things are haaaaard. Not to be confounded with letting steam off once and for good to get something out of your system. That’s rather healthy. Harping on and on the same things, whining and complaining is not.
- You insist on doing yourself things you don’t like and are not good at, rather than delegate or downright dump them.
- You are a perfectionist.
Addiction to struggle is like any addiction: it can be overcome. The first step is always to be able to spot it, and a perfect place to start is, surprise, your home!
Next week we are going to look at how addiction to struggle manifests itself in your home.
If now you just thought “uh-oh”, then this challenge might get you excited. During five days we are going to look at ways your home is teaching you things about yourself and how, making small changes in your home can bring big shifts in your life!
It’s totally free, – but: it’s also totally exclusive for the fabulous ladies in the MyTimeFirst Facebook group. I won’t publish this content anywhere else! The good news: you are very welcome to join us – a first class community with ladies from all over the world.