“What would your life be like if you only did what was easy?”
I’m serious, that was my first answer. I didn’t say it out loud, because the general reaction from the people around me couldn’t have been further from my own.
And I know that I’m pretty much alone with my answer. Most people want to press an easy-button. Whether it’s at work, around money, health, creative projects, getting that paper done on time, or whatever you struggle with, imagining an easy-way-out feels nice, doesn’t it? And I get that. Believe me, I do, because I was there once. I thought easy was what I really wanted. And I hear it from my clients all the time.
I too wanted someone to take the load off my gluten-free back, give me a break, make dinner, shop, plan, and give me the life of bon-bons, caramels and that freakin’ pan pizza I was missing out on. I wanted easy so bad, I could literally taste it in every commercial I watched. At least, that’s what I thought I wanted.
Why is a hard life so bad?
Usually when I tell people about going gluten and many other foods-free, I get a pretty standard response. “Oh my God, that must be so hard for you!” They extend a pitying smile, a look that says, “Man, you’re f***** and after talking to you, I know how lucky I really am!”
So they look shocked when I don’t agree with them and respond with, “Actually, my celiac diagnosis was the best thing that ever happened to me. I healed so many parts of me when I gave up those foods, you wouldn’t believe it.”
I don’t tell them that they are right, that it was hard for me, but they are. And the real shocker: I’m glad that it was hard. I’m really proud of the fact (if you can’t tell) that I made something so hard and challenging for me into something that’s now relatively easy to handle. But if it had been easy from the start, I never would have learned the incredible things that I learned about myself, my eating habits, my body, and my emotional life. I never would have dealt with the really hard things in life (work, relationships) that I had been avoiding.
Looking back on my life, every single story that defines me, that makes me proud of who I am, what I’ve been through, and where I’m going includes some element of HARD. I would bet good money that your stories, the ones that you want people to know about you, that you feel warm inside about telling, have an element of HARD to them too. This is the Hero’s Journey, the reason why we read fiction, tell stories, and identify with main characters. We all have a Hell-And-Back story to tell. They are gifts of truly living.
It would be really boring to tell a story like this at the end of your life:
I was born to ridiculously rich parents, who loved me, gave me everything I ever wanted and left me millions when they both died of natural causes. My tutors wrote all of my difficult papers, and I was the most popular person at school. I never had to work a day in my life, and most days I spent with the sculpted model I married. As of this writing, I have never even had a cold.”
See what I mean?
Three questions to turn the HARD-Life into the EASY Road;
I’ve come up with a few new questions that if you take the time to really think them through and answer them for yourself, you’ll start finding your own path out of hard and into the ease of acceptance and learning that hard brings.
1. What would your life be like if you used your natural gifts and talents (the things that really do come easy to you) to solve your greatest challenges?
A great example of this is a client who told me what she does best, her very own super power, is systems. She is a systems-guru at work, and when I suggested she apply her systems-knowledge to her gluten-free kitchen and shopping she lit up and had about ten new ideas for how to cook and shop for herself. This is making it easy.
2. What would happen in your life if you were willing to confront the brutal facts of your reality? The things you don’t want to look at? What would you do?
Look, I’m no fan of beating ourselves up with our scales or our bank accounts, but let’s get one thing clear. If we don’t know the truth about ourselves, if we’re afraid to confront the real facts of the matter, there’s no way we can change them. We must be willing to look at the hard parts of our life and identify fact from fiction first. We must be truth seekers (and that is frequently hard).
3. What would you do if you weren’t blocked by fear?
What we’re afraid of is frequently something hard that we would really like to experience. The courage to try something new, go after the person of your dreams, get healthy, lose the weight, run the marathon, or write a book all comes about when you’re willing to feel fear, become friends with it, and do the thing you want to do anyway. Even if it’s hard. Funny, when you do hard stuff like that, other things start to feel easy.
Janelle Holden helps people who have struggled with their diet and their body image for years overcome that problem altogether and start to love life again. To get started with your new life, click here to schedule a complimentary 15-minute Get Acquainted Call with her.