Why don’t we go to the gym more, exercise more or eat healthier? Why do we avoid unpleasant tasks? That’s easy – because it’s uncomfortable! We buy into the lie that it’s “easier” to avoid it than it is to deal with it. We lie to ourselves and say we’ll do it tomorrow. Have you ever said that? I sure have! While avoidance may easier in the short term, in the long run we all know it only makes things worse.
Just like our muscles need to first be torn down to be built back up stronger, we too need to hurt before we can heal. A famous quote goes something like this: The strongest steel comes from the hottest fire. When I’m speaking with my clients about difficult times, I challenge them to look at their situation paradoxically. I ask them, “Why is it a good thing that this bad thing has happened?”
Say what? “Is Mike suggesting that I should be happy about my misery? I’m outta here!”
Nope, misery is miserable, but it can be less miserable if you choose to look at it differently.
When you’re working out it’s uncomfortable. Being in a period of depression, grief, loss or severe stress is very uncomfortable and painful (duh!). However, as anyone who’s had a good workout can attest to, you feel better after you work out. And if you workout regularly, you feel better overall. Just like working out, dealing with problems in your life is uncomfortable. If you focus on the current predicament or pain, you’ll avoid dealing with it. If, however, you focus on the outcome, how you’ll feel better and be stronger afterwards, you’re more likely to stick with working through the pain to the other side.
So, how do you overcome adversity? Lean in. Lean in to discomfort and challenge yourself to see the other side – where you’ll be in a month, six months, or a year after you beat it.
Don’t give up!