by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This past year tested my ability to overcome difficulties while remaining undefeated. I experienced one obstacle followed by another. My breakthrough target date increasingly shifted further beyond my grasp. I went through an emotional ride that continues teaching me about myself.
I’m tougher than I thought. I set out on my journey with a strong, passionate determination, and perhaps some naivety that my goals would quickly be achieved. But when an onslaught of unexpected challenges swirled about me, I stood my ground. Like Superwoman. Hands on hips. Chin up.
Granted, I then had to grab on to things to stabilize me so I wouldn’t fly off the ground. But I dug in my heels and stayed the course.
I hung on with great tenacity. But, internally, the difficulties brought out my deepest fears and most piercing self-doubt. Going through tremendous problems tapped my innermost psychological tendencies. Mine surfaced blatantly as disbelief in my ability to win. More specifically, I questioned my worthiness to accept success and victory.
Oooh, that’s deep, too. Why on earth would I think I don’t deserve to win?
Facing enormous new vistas led me into the darkest regions of my heart, and it was not pretty. My deeply ingrained, false belief is the culprit for stalling my momentum and blocking my actions. My self-doubt barred me from making progress. It stopped me dead in my tracks.
But if I hadn’t had to face such difficult circumstances, my karmic pattern to limit myself would have remained masked. Fortunately, one of my greatest personal traits is my seeking spirit to improve myself. Which leads me to my relentless quest to create value from any situation, a concept I’ve gained from practicing as an SGI-USA Buddhist for 32 years.
Going through rough times has taught me to have an appreciation for who I am, and to see the positive aspect of every supposed negative trait I’ve got. My doubt in myself reveals my great sensitivity, which is a large catalyst for my creativity, and generates natural empathy toward others. Because I struggle so vehemently with myself, I’m in a position to better understand and even encourage someone else.
My experiences of enduring life’s inevitable sufferings, which may hit me in ways I never anticipated, still bring me back to learning what I’m made of. Endurance, tenacity, determination, sincere striving for personal growth. These are things about myself that help balance against my tendency to doubt.
When I look objectively at how I’ve handled a really tough year of transition and challenge, I have to admit I am a person worthy of respect and victory. As I embrace myself with more acceptance and compassion, I become a person who can advance for both self and others. When I can balance care and humility for myself, I become better equipped to be there as a positive support for others, too.
Struggles provide the opportunity for transforming failure into a turning point for victory, poison into medicine and creating value from suffering. When going through tough times, my inner battle against my lower tendencies becomes the springboard for me to rise more strongly, and to find the better part of myself.
The better part of myself is the same as my best self and greatest potential. Using difficulties or the struggles to reach my goals is the path to forge my essential best self. So, obstacles? Bring it!
What do you learn about yourself when going through struggles?
How can you use difficulties to forge your best self?
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