What/who in the world right now you’re trying to put under control or at least get some cooperation with, but they just won’t let you?
Is it your child? Your spouse or a family member?
Is it Covid-19? The current lockdown? Your business or finances?
In the midst of my frustrations, worries and helplessness, it suddenly struck me: This very person/issue that gives me trouble is also the very person/issue that’s teaching me something about life – more specifically, how I’ve been running my life before and living it now…
As a therapist and supervisor, I often see in myself and my students how our professional work is bound by how much growth we can allow ourselves to work through in our personal life. And I think this cuts across professions, whether you are a therapist, baker, artist, businessperson, or homemaker – when you first work on yourself (your perspectives and emotions), things tend to flow better and you produce better, more sustainable results. Even for someone in highly technical fields like IT or engineering, their best work is often produced when they can empathize with human structure, system and suffering.
In other words, what I am struggling with now in my personal life is very much the key to success in my professional life. Far be it that we are striving for perfection. Not at all, because life is not perfect, and it is our personal struggle as a human being that connects us to the suffering of our clients. Hence, if I want any further breakthrough with my clients, I must also be committed to finding breakthroughs in my own life. As simple as that.
So, ask yourself: who or what have you been trying to tame, without much success?
Notice also, how this person or issue begins to tame you – to slow down, to relax and breathe, to go easier with yourself, to be more daring or flexible, to give more and expect less, to allow more and resist less, and above all, to know that you are loved and cared for, even in your worst moments or apparent failures.
On the first look, it may appear as though the person or issue exists to hurt you. But look again, perhaps where you feel disturbed or hurt the most is a hidden wound or sore point that the person or issue is trying to uncover for you! In fact, it is by becoming aware of the unhealed places in our lives that gives them a chance to finally be acknowledged, so we can find closure and a deeper transformation in ourselves.
Life challenges often make us stronger, and more courageous people, well beyond our imagination. Even if it breaks us down, it also shows us that what can so easily be broken down is really just a façade or illusion of our own image. Perhaps the tearing down needs to happen, to make way for a more solid structure to rebuild. This is the norm of our ecosystem – First, a storm struck down some big ancient trees that previously block the sun from coming in. The change of landscape, initially looks bare and messy, but gradually, it also gives opportunity for other species that didn’t have a chance before, to now have the space to grow and shine!
With every change, there is the grief of loss and the stress of adaptation. We may miss our old way of life that’s built on egoistic control and predictability. But if we allow our troubles to tame us, our openness may actually lead us to great discoveries about our true selves – the natural PASSION and COMPASSION that we already have within each of us.
Whether it be the spread of Covid-19, or the global economic recession, or your terrible 2-year-old at home, or the endless house chores or financial burden on your back, the troubles that come to us is really seeking to tame us and help us become MORE LOVING people to ourselves and to each other. This is easier said than done. Not because we are incompetent or unwilling. We are just fearful, hence we keep resorting to old familiar ways of thinking and doing things. “That’s how things are”, we brainwash ourselves to believe the story we tell ourselves.
But where there is much fear, there is also much potential for love – the kind of love that’s your biggest dream or deepest desire. You can’t hush your fears, which can be really loud at times. But you can keep choosing to move towards your love, one millimetre at a time. Whenever in doubts again, remind yourself that you have come far enough by now to stay stuck in your old stories or go back to your old way of thinking.
Keep moving forward, the life and love you want to (re)create awaits you!
May the following song by Diana Ross “If We Hold On Together” inspires us to press on and get through this challenging pandemic and post-pandemic times together.
Article by Dr. Ng Wai Sheng
Image by cocoparisienne@pixabay
Song from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQnIS_nmGgA