February 9, 2016
Four Battles you Believe you’re Fighting Alone but Actually Aren’t
How often do you consider how life appears to flow so easily for some people?
Why is it that your co-workers seem to have their money squared away so perfectly, while you still struggle to achieve financial freedom? How come those people at the gym and yoga class look so fit and healthy, while you fall of the wagon at the mere mention of a peanut butter chocolate chunk brownie? And why do romantic relationships cause you so much stress, yet that couple who lives next door always appear to be so blissfully, madly, in LURV.
What’s the reason that things seem to go so enviably well for others, while you are constantly running up against challenges to your health, wealth and happiness?
We are great actors.
The fact is we all believe at one point or another that our struggles and failures are unique to us. A major reason behind the “I’m alone in this” mindset is the vast majority of us are quite skilled at hiding away our insecurities from the world and putting on a brilliant facade. Just think how quickly you try to minimize what you consider to be your physical, mental and emotional shortcomings and begin to project confidence and happiness when you go on that interview or converse with that super-attractive person.
Going deeper still, the tendency to suppress our authentic selves can often be traced back to unsupportive subconscious beliefs that are sustained by the ego. In its eternal quest for survival and acceptance from others, the ego will always attempt to avoid criticism, judgement and looking bad. This means that if you subconsciously believe that you’re not worthy in some area of life, the ego kicks into high gear, finding ways to conceal and justify your behaviors that reflect this unworthiness. Rather than confronting and processing the painful underlying truth, the ego prefers to suppress emotions for the sake of social survival.
Here are some of the most typical examples of the “I’m alone in this” mindset I’ve witnessed while working with clients:
- Finances stress me the hell out
In my work with individuals across the socioeconomic spectrum, I’ve discovered that there are few among us who are completely at ease about our finances. If someone has negative subconscious beliefs about money and abundance–which most of us do–they are going to feel the stressful crunch no matter what is objectively reflected in their bank account. There have been some fascinating studies published showing that just one year after winning the lottery, most winners will revert back to the same level of happiness as before they hit the jackpot. Nevertheless, many of us imagine that our abundance woes are particular to us, stoking up more feelings of shame and low self-esteem.
- Romance stings
The notion of a fairy tale romance dates back centuries and today, the Bachelor-crazed media machine goes a long way in perpetuating unrealistic and false ideas around intimacy and romance, programming us with the belief that carrying on anything less than an impeccably harmonious romance means something has gone terribly wrong. The trouble is that no relationship is free from significant differences of opinion and friction. Yet to keep up appearances, many people will hide the difficult emotions triggered by their relationship challenges from the outside world, and, most importantly, from their own partner. This unhealthy buildup of tension breeds resentment, hopelessness and a great deal of suffering, to name a few.
- I’ll never achieve the health I want
As busy adults living in the modern world, the majority of us grapple with varying degrees of physical discomfort, weakness, pain, weight problems, and countless other small and large ailments and disabilities that can oftentimes leave us feeling unhealthy and impotent. This sense of unhealthiness we carry inevitably translates to disempowering thoughts and negative emotional states. I’ve found that most of us are hesitant to reveal our personal struggles when it comes to keeping physically fit and healthy, making it easy to remain unhealed and resign ourselves to not having as much fun and freedom in life.
- I’m so overwhelmed by life
When was the last time you had a totally and completely carefree day? You don’t need me to tell you that the endless stream of obligations and distractions you contend with each day lead to feelings of overwhelm and burnout. Engaging in genuine self-care on a regular basis is little more than a lofty ideal for the majority of us. Making matters worse, we fall into the frustrating pattern of being distracted while we attempt to be productive and being worried about our responsibilities while we are trying to relax and have fun. When we set the tempo of life as a stressful grind instead of a flow, we chip away at our enthusiasm and joy. Even still, we force ourselves to go through the motions and put on a big smile so those around us can’t even begin to fathom the ragged weariness we feel inside.
Stop Going Solo
Our tendency to feel isolated in fighting our battles hugely impairs our ability to effectively overcome them. When viewing a world full of people who seem to have it all figured out, it’s easy to draw the conclusions that something is wrong with us and we can’t meet our needs so we’ll just have to settle for less. Further, the “I’m alone in this” mindset fuels the suppression of our emotions and its countless negative consequences.
So how do we break free of going it alone?
Dust off the pretense and commit to expressing your deepest feelings, needs and desires to trusted people. Open up about raw emotions you feel around the sensitive parts of your life. Allowing others to be present to your innermost feelings goes a long way in dissolving and transcending the underlying pain. You’ll find that most people won’t feel like you’re “burdening them” but are happy to help, and can likely relate to you. Communicating openly with others inspires them to open up to you, creating even more intimacy and support.
We strive to be seen as strong, benevolent and self-sufficient individuals. But in our quest to be perceived as good and right by others, we let our truest feelings go unrecognized and unfelt. The most powerful and transformative way forward in any situation begins with owning your emotions. The nature of our intimate relationships, finances, and physical well-being set the tone for our personal growth and prosperity. The inevitable emotional challenges that accompany these areas of life can be viewed as painful and persistent triggers, or as opportunities to release unsupportive subconscious patterns, deepen your self-expression and create positive shifts in your life.
So ask yourself: What small steps can I take today toward not fighting my battles alone?