Seeing the best in life's challenges

What do you mean, strife?

on February 5, 2012

When I first told a friend about this blog, she questioned me about the name.  What do you mean, strife?  Don’t you have a great life?

First, let me explain how I came up with the name.  It was like coming up with a new email address.   You have to keep trying names, but most of what you think of is taken.  I was thinking “meaning of life” but then “meaning of strife” just popped into my head.  Since I’m trying to listen to my instincts, I went with it.

Yes, I have a great life.  Don’t get me wrong…just because I spend a lot of time questioning and analyzing, doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with my life.  But there are lots of challenges.  I don’t necessarily think of challenges as bad.  I am rarely satisfied with the status quo, because there is always room for improvement, for learning something new, and for greater understanding.  Not everybody is like me, I don’t expect them to be, but it’s me and it’s what I do inside this brain of mine.  I question everything.  Like, is life supposed to be perfect and easy?

Everybody has challenges.  But it’s human nature to think that other people don’t.  Part of this is The Grass is Always Greener Over There syndrome.  When we see someone else who has what we lack, we forget to remember that they probably have some other area in their life that they struggle with.

What makes this worse is the human tendency to put on our game face and minimize our struggles when interacting with other people.  We may do this because we don’t want to burden others with our troubles, or we may be embarrassed to admit our shortcomings.  We might be afraid to be vulnerable in front of others – what will they think when they find out we aren’t as perfect as they thought?

Plus, we’re not just going to run around telling everyone we meet everything about our lives.  Even with friends, it takes time and effort to connect and understand each other.

I’m all for being an optimist.  But I’m also for being a realist.  In my opinion, one of the worst things we can do is to be in denial, to pretend everything is fine when that’s not always the case.  When we’re in denial we tend to do things like blame others for our problems, feel sorry for ourselves, and cause ourselves health issues and insomnia from holding things in.  If we don’t face issues head on and make the effort to work through them, we tend to let problems repeat over and over, rather than finding solutions (something that is very easy to identify when others are doing it, and very hard to see when we ourselves are caught in the trap!). In the end, it’s all a balancing act; each individual needs to find their own balance and what works for them.

We slip, we fall, we get back up again.  Pretending to be perfect is exhausting and doesn’t get you anywhere.  Facing and sharing challenges is liberating.

That’s where I’m coming from.  Thank you for asking the question, my friend!!

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