Identify with strength not struggle
On the day to day when we continuously define ourselves and vocalize our identity, outwardly and internally, we tend to identify with our struggle and weakness, innately focusing our energies on the negative within us and the negative that we have encountered through the day.
When asked who or what we are the answer is “I am a starving artist”, “I am a poor college student”, “I am having a shitty day”, and “I am struggling to pay my bills”. We define ourselves through these struggles in life rather than identifying with “I am doing what I love for a living”, “I am working towards my bachelor’s degree”, “Even with the bad things that happen today I got to come home to my beautiful family”, and “ I am still getting my bills paid”.
Why don’t we look to our strengths daily and define ourselves in positive terms of what we have accomplished and how we have persevered? Why must we identify through our faults and mishaps?
Do we wish to connect to other people based on their shortcomings to make us feel better? As a coping mechanism we want to be able to relate to others through struggle.
Or is it that on some level we want attention and pity from others as if that is better than getting attention through our accomplishments.
Why must we always be our own worst critic and stake claim on an identity that is strictly planted in what we view as our pain?
Instead of pointing out and glorifying the struggle itself, why not identify with the strength you exhibited during that hardship.
While at yoga, a level 2/3 vinyasa class that leaves you sore, tired, sweaty and feeling gloriously worked mind, body and soul, the instructor, a spunky and vocal woman named Chaz spoke about this struggle identity problem. She used it as a way to illustrate how we can push through those times to make it to the end proud of the outcome.
While holding a plank for what seemed like half the class she speaks out “do not let this struggle define your flow and your class, it’s a small part of the big picture.”
And again when having us in chair pose for the umpteenth time, thighs burning and arms dripping with perspiration she calls “ don’t identify with the fatigue, the soreness, or the aching muscles identify with that fact that you are doing it! That you are holding this pose and that you will get through it!”
In unexpected ways Chaz teaches each class with an overarching theme to lead a better life in terms of how we treat ourselves daily.
While of course it is important to think of how we are treating those around us, there is a focus genuinely toward our outward treatment, but how do we expect to treat others with respect, love and support if internally we are belittling our efforts, identifying with struggle and convincing ourselves regularly that we are not good enough?
How can we love others when we do not love ourselves and how do we expect to connect with people only through the whining and complaints of life rather than the celebration of it?
Another element Chaz brought up on this rant of self-deprecating behavior and how to change that, she spoke about the a**holes in life. Everyone has at least on a**hole in their life that is the voice of doubt and makes you question your confidence, capabilities and manipulates your thoughts into thinking this treatment is what you deserve.
She went on to say that within our own mind and thoughts there is an a**hole. Our mental a**hole is there to give us that doubt and convince ourselves that we can’t, that makes us question and alters our own reality, manipulating the brilliant life we have to seem dark and troublesome, making a mountain out of a molehill on a daily basis to force us to strictly identify with that negativity.
So shut up your mind’s a**hole, think of the light in your life that you yourself put there, not relying on others to lift or bring you down but instead allow yourself identify with your strength past the struggle. Don’t let the negative define who you are.