Is life tough for you at the moment?

Is life tough for you at the moment? Try these 4 helpful steps to help you manage.

Our family loves books.

A while ago, my mother presented me with an old copy of M Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Travelled.  She found the book in a second-hand bookstore that was filled to the ceiling with book treasures. With the winter months in full swing, hibernating includes lots of reading after all!

As soon as I opened this book, I was hooked immediately. The first sentence of ‘The Road Less Travelled’ said:

“Life is difficult”. 

I was relieved when I read this.

Reading this book comes at a time when I can’t help but notice that life is rather difficult for so many people.  Whenever I speak with groups in training or engage in therapy or coaching with individuals, I realise that many people are facing some challenging giant in their lives right now.

So why was I relieved?

Because I realised that once we accept that life is difficult, it generates resilience.

It is reassuring to know that it is a normal part of life to experience pain and deal with problems. it can seem that you’re the only one finding life difficult – especially if you scroll though “Fakebook’s” happy pictures of friends tasting life with an ever-present smile.

Financial stress, a heavy workload or the difficult alternative of unemployment, illness, hurting relationships, anger, loss of all kinds, disappointment, health, a struggle to forgive the past – these are just some examples of triggers that make us lose sleep and steal our joy.

Blamer or Solver?

Life is a series of problems that needs to be resolved, says Scott Peck.  So here’s an important question – are you “blamer” or a “problem solver”?

What makes life difficult is that confronting and solving problems is a painful process.  It creates uncomfortable feelings, sometime resulting in physical pain.  But resolving problems is the cutting edge that distinguish between success and failure. Besides, Benjamin Franklin said, “Those things that hurt, instruct”.

The tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them, could be a large contributor to human mental discomforts or illnesses.

Without healing by dealing with problems, the human spirit begins to shrivel.

We need to teach ourselves the necessity for suffering and the value thereof, the need to face problem directly. That’s why I’ve broken down these 4 critical steps of discipline in dealing with the pain of problems. Let’s take a look:

  1. Delaying gratification

Ever heard the phrase, “eat the frog first”? This is the process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with.

When we feel valued, we feel worth working for a reward.  The feeling of being valued is a cornerstone of self-discipline because when one considers oneself valued one will take care of oneself in all ways that are necessary. When we feel valued, we will feel that our time is valuable, and when we feel our time is valuable, we will want to use it well.

Summary: by delaying our gratification, and confronting problems directly, we can reduce future suffering. Confronting our problems is painful!  But if dealt with early, and delaying our gratification, future suffering can be reduced or avoided.

  1. Accepting responsibility

We cannot solve life’s problem except by solving them.  The challenge is that we need to accept responsibility for the solutions we choose to use.  This is where the problem often lies, as people often hope that others will solve their problem. Sometimes they deny responsibility for their own problems by blaming others or the world outside themselves.

One the two ends of the spectrum, some take no responsibility and hold others responsible for solutions and on the other, some take too much responsibility and feel responsible to making others happy.

Summary: finding a steady balance and taking ownership over the solutions you apply to your problems is a major step in dealing with life’s difficulties.

  1. Being truthful

Living in the light that truth and honesty brings is one of the safest spaces you can be in. It is sad to see in the media that integrity and honesty is negotiable, for sale, or even fake.  But being true to yourself, should never be negotiable. Denial of problems (or solutions) is also a form of lying to yourself.

Scott Peck refers to two types of lying – black lies and white lies.  A black lie is knowingly making a false statement made whilst a white lie is not false in itself, but a significant part of the truth is omitted.

Summary: as we are often people-pleasers, we might say things which we think people want to hear or to spare their feelings.  All of this at the expense of self-truth and not defeating the giant. Be tactful, yes, but the truth really sets us free to be and not burdened by any need to hide.

  1. Balancing

The exercise of discipline is a complex task requiring flexibility and judgement.  For example, we need to exercise judgement as to when to express anger and when not to. Self-discipline also means that we need to have the capacity to express anger appropriately when needing to deal with pain.  Our response system therefore needs to be flexible to adjust to the situation, the giant and our own dignity.

Balancing means we give up parts of ourselves in order to serve a bigger solution.  It is not easy to give up things, but the reward is a state of calm and peace – indeed worthwhile considering.

The common thread linking all these four tips is discipline.

Without discipline we can solve nothing.

We need to move into action to bask in die sunshine we are destined to enjoy.

We need to get out of our chairs, challenge our comfort zones, make that call, send that e-mail, have that difficult discussion.

Because life may continue to be difficult, but we can make it joyful if we seek the sunlight through applying discipline through these four steps to face and defeat giants.

 

 

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