I had a coaching call a few weeks ago with a woman who is a part of an online community I was recently welcomed to who was offering her time and support in service… and although I’ve known this for quite some time I came to something through the course of this call that has been shaping my entire life until this point (hopefully, just until this point).
Remember the list of all the things I wanted to do when I grew up? And remember how I wrote about having too many choices can be paralyzing (it was Wednesday you can go back one post and find it)? An additional factor, I probably didn’t share here yet because I don’t particularly like blaming other folks for my own stuff, in not getting anywhere on this list is because I was dedicated to a marriage that didn’t make space for me to grow or develop into anything that would reduce my availability or consume my emotional energy.
Thing is… none of those reasons are the reasons why I haven’t become any of the things on the list (or maybe they are… but I’ve got a new reason and I think it’s a doozy). Rather… it’s that I’m avoiding doing things that are difficult. It’s a very compassionate and self loving choice, actually. I’m trying to spare myself heartache and exhaustion, tiredness and the feeling of being overwhelmed, disappointment and rejection, you know… all the typical bad things that happen when you pursue growth (wtf?! isn’t it interesting to find out what you really think by reading what you just wrote/hearing what you just said?).
So yeah, I don’t do things because I think they’re going to be difficult. It’s why I didn’t stand up to BFO and hold him accountable to his responsibilities the first year after our separation. It’s why I haven’t gone back to school/started grad school. It’s why I didn’t take the extra year in undergrad to get the BFA in graphic design. It’s why I didn’t move out of state for college. It’s why I didn’t go backpacking through Europe. It’s why it took me 4 years to get out of a marriage that hadn’t been working for me since before it started. It’s why I haven’t run a marathon or climbed a mountain. It’s why I don’t own my own business. It’s why I didn’t pull my kid out of his current school as soon as I realized it was a bad match for him…
I don’t do things that I perceive to be difficult because I think I am actually sparing myself some pain. Turns out… life without the potential rewards that come from facing difficulty: still really fucking difficult. I still experience heartache, exhaustion, tiredness, the feeling of being overwhelmed, disappointment, and rejection. AND… I don’t get to counterbalance them with the potential joy that comes from taking a risk and experiencing a positive result… or at the very least… learning from it.
I’m going to go as far as to day that by avoiding difficulty… I am actually making my life MORE difficult. Because I can’t think of anything more difficult (although I’m sure the universe will perceive this as an invitation to show me!) than sitting idly by watching the potential for joy drift out of reach and feeling helpless to do anything about it.
Bring on the difficulty! (and PLEASE bring on the joy that corresponds with it too!)