Nearly all of us ask the question, “why is life so difficult?” at some point during our lives. If you are reading this then you are probably hoping to find THE ANSWER to this perplexing question. I am not going to waste your time and make you read the entire post before you get to the answer. I’ll tell you right up front that I don’t have the answer to that question for you…BUT I can tell you who does and how to find it. Hopefully after you read this article, you will no longer be doomed to the fate of those depicted in the artwork below.
While I will not be writing about evil temptations, I do find the sculpture perfect for explaining how to find the answer to the $10,000 question. Imagine that 2 of the arms in that pit are yours and you are asking for someone that is not in the pit to give you the answer to the question. The problem is that if someone does come to the edge to possibly help you, everyone else in that pit is going to fight like mad to be the 1 to get the answer. You will be pulled down and trampled if you get too close. This is not a pleasant outcome and the good news is that it does not need to be your outcome.
Who has the answer to the question, “”Why is My Life so Difficult?”?
This is the easy question to answer. You have the answer, and only you have the answer. You cannot find the answer to this question from someone else, or a book, or contained in a meteorite that lands in your backyard.
There is no external source that has the complete answer to this question. There are times that someone may be able to point out how you are making something more difficult for yourself than it has to be, but when there are thousands of things you are doing the hard way, 1 of these is not going to drastically improve your life.
How do I find the answer?
This is the real question. This is also the hard one. It is hard because you don’t want to find the answer. You may be thinking, “What do you mean I don’t want to find the answer? I’m here, looking for the answer, aren’t I?” The paradoxical truth of this is that you both do and don’t want to find the answer. Now you are asking, “How can that be?” You may also be feeling frustration and annoyance right now, along with hope. Allow me to explain…
There is an actively conscious you that is searching for the reason as to why your life is so difficult and how you can make it easier. This is the hope. There is also a forceful subconscious part of you that rejects any information that is counter to its structure of limiting beliefs. This is the frustration. Take a moment right now to inventory the emotions you have experienced since you began reading this. What did you feel when I told you I didn’t have the answer? What were you thinking when I said that only you have the answer?
I am going to walk you through some generalized steps you can take to get to the answer. Any specific examples will be from my own experiences. As with all of my writings, this is based on my own truth. Take with you what resonates and leave that which doesn’t.
- Step 1: Understand what is going on in your mind
- Step 2: Consciously open your mind to ALL possibilities
- Step 3: Analyze your thoughts and emotions
- Step 4: Transform limiting beliefs
Step 1: Understanding What is Going on in Your Mind
There are a plethora of “truths” that are housed in our psyche. These are not necessarily universal truths, but they are true to you and your experience. One of these truths in particular is the reliance on an external authority to tell you what to do. We are conditioned from a very young age by our parents to do as they say, simply because they said so. This continues throughout our schooling with teachers, doctors with medicines, governments with laws and society at large with accepted behavioral norms.
This doesn’t make any of these “orders” wrong or immoral in any way. Each instruction should be weighed on its own merits. The problem with blindly yielding to authority is that our psyche accepts all of these instructions as truth.
Once they take root in your subconscious as truth, your mind does not need to bring this specific truth to your consciousness. Instead, it elicits an emotional response when new information is presented to you. If the new information is in line with these truths, you may feel contentment, pride or righteousness. If it is not in line, you may experience anger, resentment or fear.
This is actually really good news because even though we are not consciously aware of what the limiting belief is, we are given a strong clue that there is a limiting belief there. The emotion is the clue and now it is our job to dig up the actually belief that sent the emotional response.
Step 2: Open Your Mind to ALL Possibilities
Opening your mind is not a blanket rejection of all of the truths that you are carrying around with you. It is simply an attitude that you are going to hold no bias towards any piece of information. It doesn’t matter if this information is from an external source or if it is your own thought or emotion.
This is where the hard work starts to come in. This is not a habit that we are typically taught. Being open to all possibilities leaves us vulnerable to the idea that we may be wrong. GASP! This process can be painful and frightening. Our ego does not enjoy being questioned. It treats it like an attack and will throw all sorts of unpleasant emotions at you in order to get you to stop.
This is a skill and it can be learned by everyone. As with any skill, it is going to take practice to get better at it. As we get better at it, the negative feelings become less and less unpleasant. Eventually, we will be able to observe anger and anxiety with amusement and ask ourselves, “I wonder what ‘truth’ sent this emotion to me?”
Being open minded is simply acknowledging that you do not know currently what the truth is for whatever is being presented in this moment. It is an attitude that you will entertain multiple potentialities as thoroughly as possible.
Step 3: Analyze with Your Whole Mind
We have two opposing, yet complementary parts of our minds. We have the analytical, logical mind and we have the emotional, creative mind. Most of us are very adept at using the analytical mind. As I have mentioned, we have a lot of truths housed in our psyche and this is the part of the brain that filters the information based on your personal narrative.
We are not, however, proficient in working with our emotional half. We allow emotions to take control of our minds and actions. We lash out in word or even deed when we get angry. We may contemplate afterward which leads to feeling embarrassed or guilty. We don’t like feeling this way so we ignore it or justify our actions in order to not feel this way. This cycle goes on and on until we do something to change it.
Our logical mind is an amazing tool, but comes with a weakness. If we do not understand what our emotions are, when we are in an out-of-control emotional state, the analytical mind shuts down. When our left-brain is not analyzing information, truths can get planted that aren’t necessarily in your best interest. This can be illustrated with the process of buying a car. The salesperson wants to get you in an excited state, imagining how amazing it would be for you to be driving this car. This leads to a purchase that was not analyzed logically. If the purchase causes unnecessary financial stress, you will experience buyer’s remorse which compounds the stress. You then blame the salesperson because you are angry, again without analyzing the truth. You are the one that made the decision to buy the car.
It is never too late to analyze a situation, learn from it, and adapt your behavior for future situations. Keeping with the car buying scenario, it is easy to see that the emotions of happiness and excitement is positive. Looking at just these emotions we can determine that we would enjoy driving this car. Unfortunately, we did not engage the logical mind as well, in order to look at the bigger picture of this purchase. Does it fit into the budget? Is it the best vehicle for everything I would actually use it for? How much is the insurance, etc.?
Both parts of the mind need to be engaged, not one or the other. I prefer to treat emotions as clues. Fear is a very useful emotion if you are walking along a trail and hear a menacing growl. If you need to run or fight, this emotion could save your life. If you live in a constant state of fear because you expose yourself to the doom and gloom of the evening news, this emotion is not very helpful. There is no immediate danger to you from watching the news. If you analyze this emotion with your logical mind, you can determine that fear is not necessary.
With fear out of the way, you can logically interpret the information being presented. The emotions that you experience are part of the information that you need to look at. Sometimes you may just feel that something is right, however, it does not align with your truths. The feeling is rejected instantly without any further investigation into the matter. I have discovered that a gut feeling, or intuition, is often a sign that this aligns with your true self. This is the emotion that will really help you in discovering the limiting beliefs that you may have.
Step 4: Transforming Limiting Beliefs
Imagine you just climbed into bed and are trying to fall asleep, when all of the sudden, anxiety fills your entire body. You remembered that you have your annual review with your not-so-kind boss. Using the analytical mind involves asking a lot of questions. Why are you feeling anxiety? What are you imagining will happen? Do you expect it to go badly?
Remember that this is our ego we are dealing with. The ego does not like to be judged, and you may have grown up with family members that constantly worried. If you are predicting the worst-case scenarios to come true, these thoughts need to be challenged. Use that logical mind to remember past experiences. Did the worst-case scenario you could have imagined come true? Most likely it did not. In fact, it probably has not happened in your own experiences.
Once you have uncovered the limiting belief, it is time to turn it into a more appropriate truth for you. In the above scenario, it was a belief that the worst would come true when being judged. Just taking past experience we were able to see that the worst never happened. In fact, the actual experiences were almost always positive. Taking just the facts: a.) You have an employee review tomorrow and b.) it usually goes well and never awfully; you can reject the worst-case scenario and replace it with image that is more in line with your reality. It is going to go well. Any constructive points that are brought up that the ego will take offense to, is just feedback that you may or may not be aware of. This criticism should be looked at with the same rigor, keeping in mind that your ego is going to be ruffled.
At this point, it just takes practice…and patience. Lots and lots of patience. Life is not going to get easy over night. If you are 40, you are probably walking around with 40 years of truths built up that have not been filtered. In order to practice this it will be easiest just to take 1 situation that happened to you today and go through this analysis. It will take a lot of practice to get to a point where you are able to do this in the present moment.
There are tools that you can use to help you get there quicker. Meditation and mindfulness are practices that will help you learn to be more present during your everyday life. Reiki can also provide these benefits. Journaling can be a great tool. Write out the question, then just start writing whatever comes to mind to answer that question. You might just surprise yourself how much wisdom you really have.
It will take time, but it will continually get easier, as will your life. I am available to assist you along your journey if you need support, encouragement and unconditional love along your journey. You can read more about how by clicking here.