Ever have one of those tough-as-hell weeks where it feels like the world is unloading both barrels at you – where things fly at you at such an unrelenting speed that you feel like life is pushing your limits simply to see where your breaking point is?
We all have moments, days or even weeks where everything seems to be falling apart – where we feel defeated, lost and uprooted.
This past week was one of those weeks for me where I put on the front of “I’m powering through whatever”, but with each blow, I found myself asking, When am I going to get a break…or am I simply just going to break?
Underneath all my frustration, beneath the feeling of utter defeat, were questions: What am I missing? What could I have done? What can I do now? Why is this happening?
What I was trying to find was “the” answer, the control metric to “fix” things – something, by the way, I never found. In fact, the more I sought clarity, the more I met confusion and the more defeated I felt. It was like I had been sent to the battlefront unarmed and unaware.
More than anything, what I wanted was power over my circumstances so that I wouldn’t have to go through what I was going through. What I wanted was the ability to choose the cards I was dealt. What I wanted was to be able to hold the deck, all the cards at my fingertips. What I wanted was the ability to reshuffle, redeal and redo.
We can’t change the cards we’ve been dealt.
We can’t control the ones we’ll be given.
But – we can change how we play them.
The thing about suffering and struggle is that it’s fire and for most of us, we don’t want to get burned. We’d rather call 911 and let someone else figure it out. But it’s the fire – the very struggle we’re in – that is required to forge the sword.
It’s only by growing through the tough times that we uncover important lessons. It’s often the gut-wrenching breakdowns that lead us to some pretty powerful breakthroughs.
Put it this way: flowers that grow in fertile soil make sense. People don’t ask questions about how botanists manufacture the perfect circumstance for the seedling to grow. It just makes sense. But what about the rose that grows from concrete? What about the lone tree in the middle of the desert? What about the person who blow after blow gets up time and time again?
When the circumstances make no sense, that inspires curiosity. That’s a story worth telling. A life worth living. It’s the one that gives others hope because it reminds them when they are wandering, suffocating and feeling defeated, they too can weather the storm.
When we stop trying to manage the cards we’ve been dealt, when we stop trying to prove that we’re the ones who are right (even if we are, it doesn’t matter), when we put our attention and focus on the best play we can make with the cards we already have in our hands, that’s when we welcome wonder, curiosity and forgiveness – that’s when we invoke inspiration, excitement and hope – that’s when we broadcast beauty, character and personal power.
In the end, the cards will be what they are and while we can’t change the cards we’ve been dealt – the people or situations that come into our lives – we can change how we play that hand…and that one shift, changes everything.