August 22, 2016

4 Reasons Why we Struggle even when Everything is Fine.

bobi bobi/flickr

There’s an intriguing pattern that manifests when we achieve what we’ve been craving.

Instead of celebrating, our minds tend to focus on another “puzzle” that has to be solved.

It’s like a never-ending race where we rush to move on to the “always next” level, only to smooth the feeling of “never enough.” We all know how frustrating this can be. It’s a real struggle to find the joy and gratefulness in things we already have.

I always wanted to quit my 9 to 5 job and be a freelance writer. Although surrounded by amazing co-workers and challenging tasks, I couldn’t find my purpose there. The job was physically and emotionally draining. My mental capacity was limited and it served me only to survive the day. Until one moment, when I had to admit how miserable I felt doing the things I didn’t want to do.

So I said to myself, “No more, I quit!” Well, actually, it took me longer to find the courage to do it—but in the end I left my job.

I had enough savings to survive and plenty of determination to start my freelance writing career. I even moved to a different city, which was much sunnier than the one where I lived before. I hoped that all these changes would make me feel happier and more energized. What do you think happened?

Although I was finally “free,” I felt equally miserable. Instead of waking up happy each morning to do the work I loved, I was spending my time suffering without any reason.

Realizing my “new” but old emotional condition, I decided to go deeper and find the roots of it. I started by asking myself some questions. Why can’t I enjoy the process while being grateful for what I have? Why do I always have to struggle even when the “here” and the “now” are in good shape? Although I was unemployed, I lived in good conditions, I had a dream and I was motivated to make it real.

During this introspection I discovered that our desire to be happy moves everything around us. However, our existence is also influenced by rotten beliefs deeply seeded in the brain. We can’t let ourselves experience happiness and freedom (even when everything is going according to the plan) while our mind is imprisoned by highly debilitating thoughts.

1.) We think that who we are and what we have is not enough. It’s a painful reality that strikes us since childhood. In the process of becoming who we are, we’re bombarded with messages about what we have to achieve in life. Society transforms the definition of success into a mantra that brainwashes our minds. On the top of that, nobody leaves us the freedom to define what success means to us. We follow a prescribed path on which happiness equals success and success equals socially approved achievements. Since little kids, we believe that “just being” and “just living” is not enough.

2.) We learned that we always have to prove our worthiness. First, we have to earn love and acceptance. Then, we have to maintain it. This toxic meta-reason is also ingrained during our childhood and follows us everywhere like a shadow. It’s more of a feeling than a thought. We feel that only by constantly proving that we are worthy, society will give us a pat on the back saying: “Good job.”

3.) We crave for things we don’t need because we compare ourselves with others. This feature is massively manifested especially now, with the rise of social media. We compare our lives to what other people portray. Although we know that the reality on social media is just a small fraction of how other lives look like, we tend to obsess over what people have and we don’t. We start to crave for things we don’t need only because we associate the displayed happiness of others with things they do or have. We want it, so we start feeling unhappy with ourselves and our lives.

4.) We seek conditional happiness. There is a belief that in order to be happy, we have to do or have something. We can’t conceive the idea that happiness and joy are natural and that we can experience it unconditionally. We live following the rule: “If I want to be happy, I have to…” How can we be content with what we have, if the next thing we will achieve will bring us the happiness we crave for? And this pattern repeats itself continuously. We hope that the “next thing” will give us the joy we seek.

There’s a naked truth about happiness and joy that we all know but tend to forget.

If we want to be happy, we have to… just be. Of course, in order to maintain the feeling of joy, one has to work on being focused. After this experience, I realized that if I won’t learn how to be happy or content right here, right now, I’ll be unable to feel happiness even after I’ll achieve my ultimate goals. That’s why I started practicing self-awareness and gratitude. Daily, I dedicate time to recognizing life’s gifts, to reconnect with myself, and to honor my feelings.

Let’s stop comparing ourselves with others, know that we are enough and that we don’t have to prove anything to anyone, not even to ourselves. Let’s start practicing gratitude and acknowledge the wealth that surrounds us: the people we love, our health, the work we enjoy. Let’s take a small step each day and learn how to be present. Let’s train our attention and focus to perceive the time as something dense and rich. Let’s be, breathe, and keep our awareness awake.

Let’s love ourselves and enjoy the present moment.




When the Struggle is Real: 5 Adult Affirmations to get you Through.


Author: Victoria Rudi

Image: bobi bobi/Flickr

Apprentice Editor: Thayne Ulschmid; Editor: Emily Bartran

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