September 2012

If you think struggling is hard, consider the alternative.

Many will argue that struggling is hard but change is harder. I argue that while change is hard, struggling is harder. Don’t believe me? Let me give you an example that calls out my preschooler.

There was a time when my beloved little boy had decided that there was nothing worse in his life than having his diaper changed. Granted, I couldn’t have agreed with him more. I mean, I think I could truly file this under the category of “ this is going to be harder on me than it is on you.” That said, I prided myself on being a bit of a quick-change artist. I could have that kid out of his diaper, cleaned, re-diapered and right back up again in under a minute–on a really good day, under 40 seconds.

On certain days, my boy would fight me about it. And when he fought, he wasn’t just verbal. Oh, no. He would twist. He would pull on the side of his changing table. He would kick and cry and wail. I would have to hold him down and turn him back over and hold him in the air while I would clean his little bottom--feet dangling and kicking. Under-a-minute easily became three-to-five-to-eight. I have no doubt it was a traumatizing experience for him. I know it was for me.

If he didn’t fight me, eight minutes of misery would have been a mere minute of discomfort.

Often, the energy that goes into resisting our reality and difficulties is greater than the energy needed for the solution itself. Think about it. Which is harder–working the weekend or complaining about working the weekend and then doing it, anyway? Is it harder to go to school or worry about going to school, argue with your parents and then go, anyway? Is it more uncomfortable to focus on your breath and lengthen it for 4 minutes or to suffer the 20 to 30 minutes of a panic attack? Is harder to look for a new job or deal with an abusive boss, day-in and day-out?

It seems obvious. In the moment, though, it takes a leap of faith. One has to trust that the new behavior, or choices, lead to something better. And so it would seem that it is not the change that is harder but the decision to trust and make the change that is harder.

Where in your life can you take a leap of faith and find some relief?