Do you ever find yourself stuck in struggle? You know…you find yourself in a situation you don’t like, and you complain, complain, complain. The more you think and talk about how much you really hate the situation, the more miserable you become.
Maybe you are struggling with your boss at work. Every day you walk into work wishing you wouldn’t see him at all, but when you do, you go into a downward mental spiral. “Damn. Here he comes. He’s such a jerk. He hates me. I wonder if he’s going to fire me…or just ignore me. Even worse, he might tell me I’m not good enough. I wish I didn’t have to work with him. Why can’t they just fire him and bring in someone better? Maybe I just need to find another job. But I like some things about my job…so I guess I just have to suck it up and deal with him. Why should I have to do that, though? I deserve to be treated better. But nothing will ever change, so why should I bother to work hard or change or get along? I might as well just accept that I’ll be unhappy, unappreciated, and frustrated in this job.”
Oh, my. Not fun, right?
And, of course, you see no recourse. You are convinced you can’t change anything, and this particular situation is going to be the bane of your existence. So…every minute of every day you feel like you are riding on the Struggle Bus with no way to get off.
In fact, there is a way off. You hold the ticket to get off at the No Struggle bus stop.
But that ticket is not in your hand. It’s in your mind.
You Make Yourself Struggle
When you focus on the situation you don’t like and on how you know it will negatively affect your emotions, life, well being, and success keeps you belted into your seat on the Struggle Bus. The more you think about what you don’t like and tell yourself how horrible it is and will be, the longer your struggle ride takes.
But the struggle is happening in your mind!
Yet, your thoughts impact your emotions. So you end up angry, sad, depressed, and frustrated—all because you continue to focus on—obsess over—this situation you don’t like. And that makes the Struggle Bus speed forward.
The key is to think about something else. Change your mind. Decide it can be different, and focus on that possibility. Or train your thoughts on what is working or could work in the future. You’ll feel the Struggle Bus slowing down immediately.
Sometimes we inadvertently put yourself on the Struggle Bus. For instance, you may make yourself struggle by creating false expectations. These are expectations that you know to be 99% unrealistic. In other words, you expect something you are pretty sure is impossible to achieve.
Let’s say you go to a week-long retreat where you have been told you will have to share a room. You get there, and for the first 24 hours, it’s just you—no roommate. So you begin to hope…and then expect…that you will have the room to yourself for the entire stay—even though you know that’s unlikely and you were explicitly told you would have a roommate.
When the roommate arrives on the second morning, you fall into despair. “I hate having to share a room. I don’t want to live with this stranger even for 48 hours. I won’t be able to do my morning meditation or read and journal in bed at night. I’ll have to coordinate the shower schedule with her. I hate this! This retreat is really going to suck. Why did I come? And what’s wrong with the people who run this retreat that they would think I don’t deserve a room to myself?”
Oh, boy! Ever been there?
When your expectations aren’t met, you crash into the Struggle Bus. After all, now you are disappointed…and frustrated and super pissed off. Why? Because you decided something you knew would likely happen wouldn’t happen. And then it did.
See how you just put yourself in the middle of a gigantic struggle—especially if you then focus on how you really hate this situation? And if you continue to focus on it, your struggle increases and you make yourself miserable.
How to Get Off the Struggle Bus
The way off the Struggle Bus is simple: stop focusing on the disliked situation. Focus on something else instead. Or, better yet, focus on how you can make the best of the situation—how it can and will turn out well.
Boom. The Struggle Bus stops, and the door opens.
And don’t create false expectations. It’s okay to hope something different will happen—like your roommate won’t show up—but when she does, accept that fact (and her). Turn your focus to expecting the situation to turn out well.
You are up and down the bus steps. No wave as the Struggle Bus pulls away.
What gets you a seat on the struggle bus, and how do you get off? I’d love it if you left a comment below and told me.
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