It’s normal for our lives to ebb and flow and you may have times where you feel you won’t survive. The pain, the struggle, is too hard. Take a breath, think of one of those times now. Got it? I have mine. The feelings that come from merely thinking about those times make my blood pressure rise, my cheeks feel hot, my throat constricted.
Feelings that arise in times of struggle can feel crushing. Your brain becomes like mush, you might feel as though you can’t see a way through. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. If it is a season in your life, you might find yourself on auto drive. Going through the motions. Barely emerging from your self-created shell enough to engage with the world around you.
In those moments, the struggle, the pain we feel overshadows our ability to think our way through it. Yet, there is always another way. Without much effort, you can find an easy path. An escape. A distraction.
Television. That’s my go to. When I consciously or unconsciously want to escape, I’ll fall headlong into a binge-fest of mindless television. What’s funny to me about it is that I normally don’t particularly care about watching TV at all. Do I have shows I enjoy – yes – I mean, I’m a normal human person. But to sit in front of the TV for hours at a time? Nope, not my style. In times of struggle? Hours and hours on end. I have rules about it though, I won’t start watching until after noon, but then it’s game on. Some people have other escapes like drinking alcohol, shopping, perusing social media…you know your vice. But TV gives me an escape.
Yet, even during those times, I’m aware I’m falling down the wormhole. Aware that it’s a beautiful day outside, I sit in my comfy recliner watching the trials and tribulations on my show. It can feel like there’s no choice, like you’re unable to do anything else.
That’s not true. While the escape can prove helpful for a time, it’s not a long -solution. You always have a choice. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but it’s the truth. We all have a choice. It’s our life. We can choose to stay in struggle or we can do one thing. We can show up. We can stop phoning it in, stop faking it.
It may not feel like it, but simply taking one step when we’re in struggle is brave. Maybe you have coffee with a friend, go to yoga in the park, write in your journal…take a shower. It’s one step in the direction of engaging with your life. It’s a step that you can do without faking it. In my opinion, while there are times when ‘fake it till you make it’ comes in handy, it shouldn’t be a go to. Instead, choose the one thing that brings you joy and do it with all your heart.
Those hard times? The times when you can’t get off the couch? They’ll pass. One thing each day to engage with your life, that might be all you can do during those seasons. But one day, you’ll wake up and the sun will be shining outside…and in your heart. The storm has passed.