The Upside of Challenges

Challenges – how do you view them?

When I was younger, I planned a pretty awesome future for myself, one free of any problems. I saw myself getting an education, landing a good job, driving a safe car, living in a peaceful home and being healthy and stress-free. In this picture of my future I wouldn’t have to deal with the overwhelming stresses I saw so many adults grapple with. No, my life was going to be smooth sailing, with blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

Stability and certainty surrounded this future life. I thought if I planned properly, I would prevent a lot of problems from ever having the chance to sprout in my life.

I believed that all the drama and self-consciousness that I suffered as a kid would magically disappear as I entered into adulthood. I’d never have to experience these things again. I’d no longer have to worry about bullies or fitting in with the right group. My biggest concern would be how I wanted to spend the day.

As I entered my adulthood, things didn’t go exactly as planned. My degree didn’t exactly offer me that easy income I thought all college graduates should gain. In fact, for the years that followed my graduation, I believed someone had to have placed a curse on me because I ran into every possible obstacle along the career path. This drove me to push myself harder and take on not only two, but three jobs to reach this perfect life I had dreamed up in my childhood.

I would get there, and so I kept pushing over those stumbling blocks and charging forward.

challenges

I sought perfection in everything I tackled, including trying to change people and circumstances I had no business trying to change. I wanted things to fall into place easily, but they didn’t. And the more obstacles I ran into, the deeper I had to dig. Life tossed me one big challenge after the other.

And to that I say Thank God!

Why do I say this? Because if I had landed gently in the perfect life without ever experiencing the bumps, twists, disappointments, and harsh lessons of a life truly lived, I wouldn’t be as resilient or developed as I am today.

I highly doubt I would’ve had the guts to uproot to a new state, become a professional writer, start a business, or tackle any of the others things I did on my path to balancing out the disappointments and replacing them with accomplishments and unbelievable experiences.

Life is not meant to be perfect. When we truly live life, we’re going to run into challenges. It’s part of the human experience. Instead of fighting them, embrace them.

The bee led her sister down the side of the hive box, diligent and determined to forget her own pain and challenges for the betterment of the hive as a whole. – The Dance

Challenges are good for us. 

challenges-1They mold us, stretch us, and teach us how to face real-life situations with grace, if we allow for this. Some of my most pivotal moments in life have been the result of an unexpected bend in the road or slash to a dream. If those curves never appeared or those dreams had come true, I wouldn’t be me as I am today. 

Challenges help us thrive. 

Challenges make us grow.
When we face a challenge, by default, we dig deeper to overcome. This motivation to push through tough circumstances is part of the wonderful experience of being alive. Our deepest growth happens when we are stretched.

Challenges stretch us and place us where we may need to be.
The inclination for most is to remain rooted in comfort. It feels good to sit in the safety of the known. But, it’s in tossing ourselves into the unknown that we develop skills and clarity to help us thrive. Many times by sitting in the pocket of comfort, we miss out on a great deal of opportunity. When we’re forced to face challenges, we’re taken to places we never knew existed and are nudged towards people who need us there with them.

Challenges inspire us to keep moving.
Challenges keep us from going stagnant. A body in motion, stays in motion. A brain that is simulated by challenge, continues to reap the rewards of this motion, growing new connections and becoming more resilient. We become flexible and better able to adapt when we’ve had to cross the line of resistance.

Embracing challenges allow us to stay in the flow rather than paddle against it.
Challenges are a part of life. We can fall down to our knees in defeat over them or we can rise to the occasion, facing them with the confidence that we are in the right place at the right time. Surrendering the desire to fight challenges places us in a unique position to thrive in its presence. By going with its flow, we are in effect telling the universe that we are strong and capable and committed to taking on the challenges that will continue to mold us into the best version of ourselves.

Resiliency
When we allow the power of life to drip its challenge onto us, we liberate our need to control its pungency and place ourselves on the higher perch. If we yield to the enticement of tempering its grip on our senses, we effectually redirect the power to ourselves, channeling it for all it has to offer and savoring its delicious aftertaste. Facing the challenge changes us because never again can we deny that we are strong for having recognized its potion. We are permanently changed after meeting up with its rapid and heavy beat on our spirit, captured by the beauty in its delivery of another lesson learned. Only in the surrender of fear towards it, do we experience the pure pleasure of knowing we entered a new zone that offers a brand new opportunity to relish in the zest of a sight never seen, a scent never cherished, or a spice never savored.

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Wishing you the very best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

4 replies
  1. Lara Estes
    Lara Estes says:

    Like the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’m not talking brut strength, I’m talking about emotional and intellectual strength. Great blog post, Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

    Reply

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