At times, it feels that life would be so much better without disappointments and strife. We could all go around enjoying the sunshine and laugh and relax. Sadly, life is not that way. One of my favorite books is The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D. and opens with:
“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead the moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.
Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems.”
Normally, I only look at the first paragraph because it resonates in my soul; but the first few parts all play in harmony that requires me to ask if I am moaning about my problems and burdens or if I am applying my discipline?
The beauty of pain is it creates a growth opportunity. Every time. Every time we think we have dealt with our past, it shows back up in another form. And it does so over and over because it is a part of how we operate. It has underwritten a belief that runs so deep we don’t realize it exists! And this is where we have to challenge ourselves.
1. What caused my disappointment or difficulty?
2. How does it make me feel about myself?
3. Are those beliefs true?
4. Did I do my best?
5. Did I honor who I am with my behavior or did I betray myself?
6. What action am I willing to take to align myself with who I choose to be?
7. Am I willing to forgive the disappointment, those involved, and myself?
My recent disappointments had me questioning myself and my beliefs. I looked at each piece, and finally came back to I can be proud of who I am and the choices I’ve made. It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t hurt by the disappointments, but it showed me an avenue to strengthen my resolve to be true to who I am. It showed me that I can be proud as I live my life with integrity.
Life will always have its disappointments and difficulties, but you are the one with the power to turn it into a positive. Look at it as a chance to hone your skills and stand by your values, instead of as a personal attack that leaves you a victim. The only true difficulties and disappointments are where you failed to learn the lesson you needed and turned your back on an opportunity to grow. Today, and every day, I am grateful for each moment that allows me to test my character. Are you choosing to be grateful?