- Lyn Suggs, LCSW
Once again I was inspired on my walk with my dog. We regularly hike in local woods, and this part of the trail is quite steep. It made me think about the challenges that we come across in our life, and how we handle these hurdles, big or small. Our initial reaction often isn’t positive, but when we can embrace the hurdle and what it has to offer, there can be beautiful gems within.
Many of us have had a boss or co-worker with a challenging personality. We can feel like a victim, be angry, sad, frustrated, resigned, hateful, the list goes on. It’s not easy to be in a job that takes up a good part of our life and be dealing with someone we find upsetting. But when we can look for the gifts in the challenge, our experience can change dramatically. When we start to ask, what is there for me to learn? How can I grow and evolve from this experience? What might I do differently? What is getting triggered in me? Behind our anger is likely a wound that needs healing. Maybe the boss reminds us of our mother or father. Maybe there are childhood wounds that are being triggered by our boss. When we can look at that instead of pointing the finger at the one doing the triggering, our life can start changing for the better. Same goes for our partner, spouse, friend, children, etc. There are so many opportunities to look inward and evolve. The resolution to so many things is inside of us, not outside.
Challenges can also be an opportunity to look at something differently. If we think of a person or situation as negative, we likely are going to keep finding that, but when we can look for positive and opportunities, we are much more likely to find good. And when we shift our outlook and feelings, the situation can start to transform and so can we. And if we can then move into gratitude, we can evolve even further. As we do more of this, we are usually triggered less and life gets to be easier.
Dr. Shefali Tsabary, in her book The Conscious Parent, writes: “While we believe we hold the power to raise our children, the reality is that our children hold the power to raise us into the parents they need us to become.” This is a very different way of approaching parenting and I think an attitude that we can bring to so many situations. When we are open to change, thinking, “what can I learn?” rather than, coming from a triggered place of fear, anger, ego, etc., we are much better off and can much more readily move out of a miserable or difficult place into one of evolution and happiness.
Life offers us so many opportunities, often wrapped in challenges. The more we’re looking for the opportunity, the better off we’ll be.
With love always.