HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIFE CHALLENGE A GIFT
In face of challenge we often either dwell in our powerlessness or harden ourselves. Instead I want to offer 3 practices, which leads to authentic personal growth and empowerment.
If you are anything like most people on this Earth, you’ll be challenged in one or more areas of your life right now. It might be a big challenge or a small challenge, but something is biting at you and making life a little more tough than you’d like it to.
Broadly speaking, my experience is that in times of challenge people often adapt one of two strategies.
Either they trap themselves in a story of how hard and unjust life is and they many ways they can feel sorry for themselves. They can be recognized by a victim mind-set and come armed with proof why other people are to blame for their situation – which they will gladly talk about.
Others put on a brave face, acting like the strong-minded person they are and ’buckle up’. They seem strong as they don’t reveal any deeper feelings about their challenges but are recognized by the wall of hardness they put in place not to show how they really feel.
One is an expert in being absorbed by all the feeling of powerlessness and the other is an expert in ignoring the emotional pains the challenges bring them. But neither position help one to step into an authentic place of power and respond to the call of growth that is offered. And that is a choice.
I want to offer a third way, which I find is the path to true mastery of our outer life and inner life.
To be honest I used to see it as a bit of an ugly truth, and it took me some years to fully swallow. But when I follow this Truth I find that it is the most life changing and empowering path I can take in life.
LIFE DOESN’T HAPPENS TO US IT HAPPENS FOR US
For many years I felt that life happened to me. That either other people were to blame for why life wasn’t working for me the way I wanted it or that I was to blame for not succeeding with what I wanted. Having been in this victim mind-set for some years, I finally decided that I am the creator of my life. Things don’t happen to me – I create things consciously and subconsciously.
This also means that whatever situation that comes up in my life, I am responsible. The situation might involve people I find act in ways that are hurtful, immoral, unfair. They might put obstacles in my way or make things difficult for me. But ultimately, it doesn’t change the fact that, I am responsible for creating my life. And I see each challenge in my life as an opportunity to refine myself and my inner mastery. It is an opportunity for personal growth.
THE BIGGER THE CHALLENGE, THE BIGGER THE GROWTH
We don't get stronger muscles by moving boxes of tissue paper around. You learn to master peace by having things come into your awareness that stir you up. You learn to master power by having situations emerge that make you feel limited. You learn to master prosperity by facing circumstances where fear, lack and stagnation may be prevalent. Therefore each challenge in your life is calling forward greater capacity and power in you if you have the courage to look for them.
3 steps have taught me to turn any situation from powerlessness to empowerment
Stop blame and judgment to move into power
First step is to take out all blame or judgment from the situation. Can you stop yourself from judging the other person or judging yourself? Simply state the facts of the situation and take out the story you make around these facts. If you take out the judgment and the blame – what are you left with? When we judge and blame, we step out of authentic power and hand over our power to the other person. We have then given other people power over us and diminished our ability to act from a place of calm and clarity. When we judge and blame, we also keep feeding the drama, which cloud our ability to make decisions from a place of authentic power, calm and clarity.
Turn inward and be observant
When you have the facts of the situation, observe what feelings and thoughts come up in you? Be curious as if you are watching a movie. Write it down. And take some time to see if there is something deeper than what initially comes up. When we are faced with a challenge, disempowering thoughts and feelings will be triggered. If they didn’t it wouldn’t be a challenge. But what come up are crucial clues to where we need to let go of limiting and false beliefs and what muscles we need to exercise in ourselves to develop more authentic power. One of the biggest powers we can cultivate is the power of observation. When we are able to observe our inner feelings without being attached to them and run with them, we start to open up for a completely new variety of choices in our decision-making and open up for a path of powerful growth.
Exercise your new powers
When you have suspended judgment and blame, you have taken your power back. And when you have become observant of what is triggered in your, you have a clear message on where to put your focus. What are you called upon to do? To be someone who doesn’t take no for an answer? To be someone who goes along instead of fighting others all the time? To show up with more courage? To go into action mode? To be more patient? To have more faith or more trust in others?
Next time life is biting at you, I hope you'll try these 3 steps and I'd love to hear from you if it changes anything for you!