The Gifts of Struggle

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Much of the modern-day culture is designed to make you believe that life shouldn’t be hard, and that struggle is unnecessary. With the rampant trend of immediate gratification, positive thinking, zero accountability and quick get rich schemes, we are led to believe the lie that life should always be easy and fun. When we hold onto the fantasy that at some point in the future, life will be free of struggle and everything will be easy, we set ourselves up to make our current reality a nightmare. When we are emotionally invested in this belief about life, not only do we set ourselves up for major emotional pain and suffering, we also rob ourselves of the beauty, gifts and magic that surrounds us at every moment. We cut ourselves off from reality and therefore we cut ourselves off from the people and things we care about in life.

Anything that takes us away from embracing reality is by definition a fantasy and nothing more then an illusion of the mind. These fantasies are like mirages on the desert that we want so much to be real but are merely a fabrication of the imagination. If you are thirsty and hungry, then what you want to see is food and water, and this is exactly why we want to buy into the fantasies that society sells to us. We want an easy way out that has no down sides and no risks, we want the fastest road to paradise without pain or struggle.

Fantasies like perfect health, the perfect body, the perfect family, the perfect life are all sold to us everywhere we look. In our pursuit of these fantasies we end up creating the very nightmare that we are trying so hard to get away from. Once we have taken the bait, we set ourselves up for the vicious cycle that is created by our desire for something that is ultimately unattainable.

The one thing that is never sold to us is that everybody, no matter who they are struggles, nobody escapes struggle, it is as essential to human evolution as water is to plants, without it nothing grows. Demonstrating the willingness to whole heartedly embrace struggle as a necessary and vitally important part of life is the key to personal and spiritual growth.  

 

Finding the Gifts of Struggle

As a teenager, I injured a lot of bullying for being different and trying really hard to fit in. No matter what I did socially at school I always felt as though I didn’t fit in and for many years I had debilitating social anxiety and depression. At the time I was going through this struggle I would have done anything to have what other kids have, to be loved for who I am by my peers. There were times where I considered suicide, because I believed that in order for other people to like me I had to conform to their expectations of me.

When I finally left school and started working for my father on his farm I had a dramatic shift in my self-confidence. I experienced what it was like to have people really love me for who I was and not for who they wanted me to be. For the first time I experienced what it was like to be comfortable with who I am without trying to please other people and fit in. I thrived in the new environment and my social anxieties and depression fell away to reveal the inner beauty that I had tried to hide for so long. The authentic me that I tried so desperately to change and cover up became a source of true self confidence that has stayed with me ever since.

Without the years of struggle, I would have missed one of the most important life lessons. No matter who you are, your uniqueness and the things that make you different are what make you special as a human being. Your uniqueness is your god given gift to the world, and honouring it is the primary reason for your existence.

If you would like to experience my work, then join me at one of my up and coming workshops or book a one on one EFL session

Please comment below and share your own experience of the gifts of your struggles, I would love to hear your story! 

Please share this article with people that you know would benefit from it! 

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4 Responses to “The Gifts of Struggle

  • Michelle
    1 month ago

    Ben, I have just read your article and feel quite emotional. Your words have struck a cord describing so well the conditioning process so common in our society. Thank you for sharing your experiences, it’s truely powerful. Very timely for me as a positive affirmation to a personal struggle I’m going through. For over 10 years I have been denyed myself true happiness out of habitually putting the needs of others first and feeling obligated to others. I have finally recognised that the resentment and anger brewing from my conditioned behaviour was not going away, but affecting those around me, including those I love.
    Fortunately my love and ownership of horses, and the desire to gain a closer communication bond with them, has catalysed the awareness I needed to address this behaviour. Changing will require a big shift in attitude/ communication/assertiveness, as well as the need to look within and be 100% happy with who I am.
    This process is not simple and I truely appreciate reading your story. I’ll definitely be sharing and following up with your EFL program.

    • Hi Michelle, Thank you for sharing your story of struggle with me, yes putting yourself first is such a huge one and its definitely a work in progress for e as well! Its takes courage to recognise the price of pleasing others at the expense of your own self worth as human being. Horses definitely show us the way back to ourselves if we are willing to listen with our hearts : )

      Thank you for sharing!

  • Jackie Richards
    1 month ago

    Oh Ben, such a wise and deeply knowledgeable soul you are.. it is no wonder that you can connect with horses on that high level, you are up there with them. You didn’t fit at school because you can not be in sync with such young souls.

    • Thanks Jackie, Yes it does explain my connection with horses. I always felt misunderstood like a lot of horses i’ve worked with, we are kindred spirits! I guess i didn’t understand why i was different back then either : )

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