Allow The Struggle To Help Build You And Guide You


Photography: Becky Curl

Originally published on Thought Catalog.

Change will always be amongst the scariest situations we will encounter in our lives. It seems that every time we are finally falling into a peaceful rhythm and tying up our loose ends, the ground falls out from beneath us. The moment that you think you have finally made it, we are forced to reconsider what exactly “it” is. Often at these times of utter devastation, we are presented with different paths to choose from. Sometimes, the choice is an easy one; more often than not, however, our choice comes loaded with a plethora of blurred lines and “what ifs” which create roadblock after roadblock during our decision making process. We find ourselves wondering if we will ever truly find satisfaction or if we will be stuck in this game of tug-or-war indefinitely.

Here you are. Stuck at a crossroads. Again.

What did you do the last time you found yourself here? Did you make the wrong choice? Was that choice the reason you got stuck in this same cryptic situation again? These are among the questions that circle through your mind as you sit back and try to figure out how exactly you got yourself here.

Regardless of how many right choices we make, we will always find ourselves faced with difficult decisions. Sometimes situations occur in our lives that we have no control over—no amount of good deeds or small, daily successes can make you immune to life’s challenges. All we can do is face these trials and confidently move forward in the direction we feel is best-suited to our overall well-being.

If only determining which direction to travel in was actually that simple. Unfortunately, the moment we are faced with such a choice, all logic seems to fade from our lives, and we are often left reeling in the wake of the decision we have made.

The best advice I can offer anyone when faced with a decision they are not sure how to overcome is to follow your gut. Oftentimes, there is a logical, simpler choice which will lead you down a reliable path, one that you know will get the job done. But choosing that path does not always sit right with us. Deep down, we feel a little twinge of some emotion that we cannot quite define. We try our best to muffle it, since logistically speaking, this decision will bring us to success and fulfillment more quickly than our more emotionally driven choice. Even if we ultimately settle for the “safer” of the two choices, we may still find ourselves wondering, “what if.”

Let’s talk about that second, more emotionally driven choice.

This second choice is the dangerous choice. The choice your parents always warned you about. The choice that requires the biggest leap of faith, while also potentially offering us the greatest overall life satisfaction. This is not the easiest choice. This choice will hurt; it will often take everything out of you, leaving you hoping that what comes next is better than anything you had before. This could be the choice that finally makes you.

But please understand that in order to be “made” you must first be broken. No new creation is made from one whole part—to create something new, you have to build upon what you already have. You cannot expect to just wake up one day, smile at yourself in the mirror and be what you have always wanted. Each of us has a unique view on what success truly means, which in turn, requires each of us to have our own way of achieving it. We are all made up of so many intricate layers, and we must learn to appreciate each layer and what it took for us to gain it in order to understand who we really are.

The more experiences—both positive and negative—you encounter throughout your life, the more pieces you will gain to help you put this complicated puzzle of a life together. Maybe that day you thought your world was ending will actually be that last missing part you needed to finally understand what it is that you are seeking. I truly believe that our worst experiences happen for just as much of a reason as our best; their purpose might not make sense right now, but one day, years from now, maybe, it will all come together.

And when it all does come together, you will realize that you need your broken parts as much as your shiny pieces and that you have never felt more whole than the moment you recognize the worth of every part of you. The goal is to discover what elements create your perfect life, not what you can give up to fit into someone else’s.

So the next time you are worried about a choice that you have made or a difficult decision you will soon have to make, remember that you have been led here for a reason. The struggle will help build you if you allow it to. And even if you end up choosing a path you are ultimately unhappy with, there is always a chance to turn around. You can always start over because you are not the sum of one decision, you are a collision of millions, all working towards your best possible you.

-Becky Curl

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