We all struggle at some points in our lives, and some of us may wonder: “How can I turn the tide?” … or perhaps even:
“How can I get from being ‘my own greatest enemy’ towards ‘my own best friend’?”
I will simply share my own personal experience. Your mileage may vary – it almost certainly does! Yet perhaps you may find one or another detail inspiring for your individual solutions. There is only one way to find out. :-)
Four years ago I was going through a very difficult time, struggling with emotional pain and especially with myself. Today I realize better how deeply stuck I was back then – including that my self-esteem was completely trashed and that I was actually sabotaging myself in very subtle, yet oh so powerful ways. I will spare you the details, because each and every one of us faces their own personal Nemesis from time to time, so the actual content does not matter. Hermann Hesse puts it eloquently in the “Steppenwolf” – “… wie denn jeder Mensch die ihm zufallenden Leiden für die größten hält”. The experience of magnitude of any personal challenge is per definition relative. So what does matter?
- First of all, there is always a way.
(Sounds corny, I know, but it has proved to be true over and over again. And if there was none, what would be the point in trying anyway? But this you never know. See it as your personal variation of Pascal’s wager.)
- Secondly, there is only one person who can find it – and walk it.
(Thinking and talking about it will not do the real trick.)
But what is the way, and where can you find it? Many possible answers: it’s within you, you are already on it, blah blah. That probably does not do the trick either. But everything is changing, and as far as solutions to challenges are concerned, there is a two-fold change involved: internal and external. They are mirroring each other. The change happens anyway, it cannot be otherwise, so the idea will be to give it some “beneficial” direction. Let’s assume we get ideas for that – pieces for our puzzle.
Here (just as everywhere) a doubt may be lurking around the corner. Can you really do “it”? Do you have what “it” takes? Will you ever learn “it”? Especially when you feel you have “failed” so often?
Two things have helped me there:
- For a movie scene you do as many “takes” as necessary … until it works.
(trial -> error -> more trial -> success)
- Success is often a matter of “strategy” rather than “ability”.
(choose a strategy that works for you, and you will succeed)
So we need a good strategy, which perhaps means input from external sources. And now we arrive at the vast marketplace of “good advice”, collected wisdom, mentors and friends, coaches and therapists, books and blogs, you name it. I was seeking answers in all those areas. My result:
- None of them helped.
- All of them contributed.
It’s much less of a contradiction as it seems. Even the best input does not walk you along the way. You walk, at your own pace. You’re not even “too slow” – seriously, who could judge that, and by what measure? (I spent a lot of energy on this one.)
You choose what you try, and you find out what works for you, and how it works for you – it will be a combination of many things. This is how everything contributes. Indeed it cannot be otherwise. Again, everything is changing, and we are already alive, so all it takes is to keep our senses open. Be an explorer if you like, or an adventurer, traveller, conquistador, a curious child. You are allowed to enjoy the ride!
What actually worked (and still works) for me?
I will go into detail next time. Just one main ingredient for now: juggling. And that’s where the title of this post comes from. :-)
It took me four years to write this post, and judging from today’s perspective, every single day was worth waiting. Thus I might wait another four years, but then it may never see the light of day; or I give birth to it now and review it in four years. May the latter choice prove better. And may you be happy at heart. :-)
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