Are You Addicted to the Struggle?

About Debi Taylor

Debi Taylor is a First Responder and parent of an Autistic child. Her experience as an Autism Specialist, Founder of Spirit of Autism, and co-founder/active member of the Fire Rescue Reserve inspired her to create Autism training programs aimed at keeping Emergency Responders and Autistic individuals safe on the scene of a crime, fire, medical call or disaster.

It’s a scant few days into the new year and  I find myself stuck in overwhelm and exhaustion. Again. It made me start to wonder… am I addicted to struggle? In my mind, is there something noble about life being hard? Does it make me think I’m a better person when people constantly exclaim, “I don’t know how you do it all!” What exactly does this perpetuate for me?

The struggle.

I hang on to self-talk phrases such as “It’s so hard being a single parent!”“I have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet…”“I have no help, I’m doing it all myself!”, and“I never get any down time, and I don’t even sleep.” Okay. These phrases are all true in my current reality. But do they have to be? After all, I create my reality. I can blame it on outside circumstances, but ultimately I am creating my day-to-day story.

cyt addicted to struggleI used to hear life coaches and gurus tell me to simply drop my story, or decide that things are easy and they will be… and I would get really ticked off. I would mutter, “Easy for you to say! YOU don’t have kids! You have someone helping you with the bills!” I thought it was rubbish. The more I open my heart, though, the more I am convinced that I’m addicted to this mindset. You know how I really know? It doesn’t matter if I am working full time, part time or if I just won the lottery (well, I’d like to test that one out for myself, ha ha!). My life would still run at this hectic pace no matter what my outward circumstances may be. I would fill my days with ridiculous deadlines, over-commit myself, and remain exhausted. It’s an inside job (ouch!).

I have this AMAZING book called Choosing Easy World by Julia Rogers Hamrick. It spells out the solution so simply and brilliantly – just choose Easy World and watch the stress and turmoil melt away as your problems are worked out effortlessly and joy abounds – if you let it. It’s the ultimate  opportunity to turn it over: to your higher self, The Universe, God, Source, Spirit… yet, I lose this logic daily (hourly!) and find myself here again.

I do get reminders and moments of clarity like a brick to the back of the head – I’m making things difficult again with my mental gymnastics. Let go… give it to Easy World and it will work out perfectly. Yes, it’s really that simple. So why do I experience amnesia every day? Yep, I’m addicted to the struggle!

Autism and Living in the Moment

I have an Autistic child. Have you ever watched a child with Autism play? They live in the present moment 100% of the time.  They’re happy. They enjoy doing what brings them happiness. It’s like they’re programmed to follow their bliss. This is the way we are supposed to be – all of us! There is a gift and a lesson here that we are in danger of missing if we’re too caught up in the story of struggle.

I receive amazing gifts and lessons from both my children daily, and I am there to guide and encourage them to be their best self. But what other lessons am I inadvertently passing on to my neuro-typical teen? Am I teaching her to live in the present, or does she pick up on my limiting thoughts by default? When I hear her say things like, “I’m worried we won’t have enough money,” “I’m stressed out,” and “Am I skinny enough?” my heart sinks. Those are not gifts I mean to leave behind! I am automatically teaching her about the struggle as well, whereas my Autistic child is too busy following his higher self and having fun. Hmmm.

So What Do You Do if You Struggle?

Well, I can’t really “preach” until I get at least one foot out of the struggle mentality (without perpetually putting it right back in, that is). Perhaps we can explore this together, and remind each other to take the express train back to Easy World when we’re caught up in the “What if” syndrome or the “It’s soooooo hard” mantra.

Watch your children while they play – they gravitate naturally toward their joy. Do more of that. Every day. Let me know how it goes by commenting below – I’d love to hear how you handle the struggle mentality.

We can start by following Julia’s advice: “Breathe, Relax, Allow” :)

Some Amazing Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Hi, Debi! I love your article, because I also live, addicted to struggle, many times. I was listening to a Michael Hyatt podcast earlier this week, in which he spoke of Abundance versus Scarcity mindsets. I thought to myself, “That’s easy for him to do.” (He’s an extremely successful blogger and businessman). But then, as I listened further, he talked about the key to abundance: Gratitude. And it’s so true. I have so many blessings, if I will just slow down and take the time to count them all. Your son, my son, are just one of the fantastic blessings we both experience daily :)
    Steve Borgman recently posted..Help Your Asperger’s Child With These Top Activities, Games, and Tools

    • Steve: THANK YOU so much for your comment! I’m glad you were able to relate and I so appreciate your shift in perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind at times, and once we do it takes a jolt out of our pity parties and overwhelm to jar us back into the present moment where all our blessings live <3
      Debi recently posted..It’s All About the Sensory

  2. Wow, I never thought about it. I’m somewhat addicted to the struggle but I don’t go around talking about or feeling sorry for myself. I just see myself as stronger. I’ll have to think about this.
    Sebastian recently posted..It’s Called Mentorship

  3. I think a lot of people have been set in a norm of chaos or struggle and they only gravitate they are a regular basis because they haven’t take the time to elevate themselves from that mindset.

    Thanks for the great post Debi
    Kael recently posted..Prime Your Life For Success – The Water Well Story

  4. I hope I can express myself in a good way on such an important matter.
    I experienced like you times when I thought that everything was difficult and where I felt really realized only if it was difficult. It was kinda strage. Sometimes we are so accustomed to negativity and problems that we see mainly those , instead of focusing on solutions. I had a partner that even if everything was okay, he just had to find a reason to complain. You know , this is a very long speech to deepen and I do not doubt that there are difficult issues to deal with and that make us feel overwhelmed. But to live better is important to focus on solutions and ask for help at times , not only from friends but also from an experienced professional. The only thing I can say is that when you are inside of these vortex is difficult to realize the situation and in fact sometimes we even like fighting and knowing that we are strong enough to deal with everything. but you also have to enjoy life and not fight constantly. Facing life with more peace of mind is really good for health. btw it takes time to change this way of thinking. it took me years to do that.
    deborah recently posted..Making new friends: overcome shyness and become a skillful communicator!

  5. Thanks Debi, My oldest son (4 years old) is on the spectrum as well. This past year he was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. Thankfully he is now in remission. It was interesting to see how he responded to his treatment. Much like you said here, he is very much in the moment. When he’s getting chemo and feels sick, he’s obviously unhappy, cranky and short-tempered. But, when he’s feeling good, it’s as if he doesn’t even consider his diagnosis, treatment plan or even the last week’s worth of agony. He’s in the moment – and in this way, his spectrum “disorder” has been a blessing. The entire experience has given me new perspective on what autism means for his own personal growth and peace of mind. Cheers!
    Jason Ellis @ SAF recently posted..A Powerful Five Step Plan For Beating Loneliness

  6. Mary Ann Muller says:

    Hi, Debi!
    Your post is so relevant for so many! I recently read a great book on facing struggle in your life and learning to live in the moment. “Letting Go Get in the Flow” by Faith M. Davis outlines in eight steps how to create an easier, happier and more peaceful life. It explains how we can increase flow, a gentle, loving, and powerful force that can guide us through life. Faith’s book is helping me achieve a greater balance in my life. I am slowly eliminating fear by asking myself “What is the lesson I need to learn from this hardship?” Don’t let fear feed the struggle!

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