Super Stressed? Is it a Breakdown or Breakthrough?

Has there ever been a time when you felt like you were having a Breakdown? Or a personal Crisis?

Maybe you’d had an overload of stress. Perhaps you’d recently experienced a significant trauma, or been going through a difficult period in your life. Or possibly you’d just become very bored with the mundane in your life.

As the old saying goes, “life wasn’t meant to be easy!”

You may be asking, “And why not?!” Why does life have to been so hard sometimes?

If you’ve ever pondered the question “Why is life so hard?” before, maybe it was because you have been, like most other humans over centuries, wondering the same thing.

Some religions may preach the answer is that you’re paying for all your sins, or for not having enough “faith”, or disobeying the “laws”. Philosophers, as well, have offered many varied answers over the years. Some of these answers have been better received than others. But no matter what is offered by way of an answer out there, we seem to be dissatisfied, and just keep on asking the same question, not really expecting to ever get an answer that will satisfy.

Now, I have my own, private opinion on this question (as most of you will). And today, I’m not here to preach my own beliefs. Today, I’m here to go back to WHY we’re even asking the question. And HOW we can look at life differently, and possibly make the problem even completely disappear! Sort of like magic, but a lot less mysterious. More like going on a safari through the jungles of the human mind. Today we’re here to observe the untamed animal that is the belief “Life is hard”.

Let’s start with a simple tutorial in Linguistics from the field of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Here is the premise: “Life is hard”.

By the nature of the language in this statement we have a few presuppositions (elements that are presupposed by the language itself). The first is the existence of “life”. The second is the presence of an adjective “hard”. The third is the complex equivalence (X = Y) that “life” = “hard”, which is tipped off by the word “is”. Finally, we also have a universal quantifier assumed by this sentence which is “if something isn’t easy, it always means it’s hard.”

So if these things are presupposed, that means that in our minds, embedded deep in our collective human consciousness, is the (strong) belief that life is hard. Yet, instead of just completing accepting that belief for ever and ever, we challenge it. It’s like as though we know it’s not true somehow. We don’t really deserved this, do we?

Now, I’ve studied a fair bit of psychology in my time. The dead giveaway of this is the smorgasbord of certificates plonked all over the bookcases and walls in my office at home. One thing (of many) I’ve come to learn is that if we believe in something (whatever it is) we somehow seem to select information from our external world that confirms our belief. We feel comfortable about this, feeling a sense of secure – we have something “figured out”!!

If we’ve figured something out, then we go on autopilot with that belief and don’t need to give that “thing” much more conscious thought. Thus, we conserve effort and energy that can go into trying to figure something else out. And so on, and so on.

So then, how is it possible for us to change?

What would our world be like if we believed something different? Can such deeply rooted beliefs even be changed? And if so, will the new belief bring with it a new reality?

The original question has changed. We have gone from continuing to assume that our belief that “life is hard” has been figured out, to doubting the truth of this old belief. And now we’re asking a lot more questions.

The key question has gone from being “Why is life so hard?” to “How is change possible?”

Now, if you’re anything like me, when we are faced with such doubts and questions we are taken out of our comfort zone and into unchartered territory. This can be quite…uncomfortable. Unpleasant. Even downright depressing. Why? Because we don’t know what the answer is. “If I do not believe life is hard anymore, what do I believe instead?”

Without the answer we’re in a sort of no-man’s land. A crisis;  a breakdown. There’s no turning back to how things used to be. We try though, don’t we? And that doesn’t work. We realise there has to be a way forward. We are forced to make a decision, and change something deep inside ourselves in order to get out of our crisis.

This is our invitation to break through to a new level within ourselves.

Something about that decision, that way forward, that leads us out of the dark time and we break through into a new place. This place is a new level of our being and it’s exciting! We are energised again! We’re similar to how we used to be, yet definitely different somehow. Better. How we see the world has changed. And with that change in perception comes a different observation of the world around us and how we function within in.

What I am describing I like to think of as The Cycle of Human Change. It is a 2-D cycle because once you have reached your new level, it’s only a matter of time before you become comfortable, and the cycle begins again. Truly though, it is more like a 3-D Spiral. Because you reach a new level of your being, the comfort zone is different and a bit “higher” than the old comfort zone.

So, have we come full circle? Has the question we’re asking changed somehow?

Is life really hard? Or are we beginning to challenge an outdated belief and possibly replace it with something more useful?

You tell me… 🙂