What Do Challenges Have To Do With Our Growth?
Samantha Kingston writes about challenges, life lessons and personal growth
The human journey can be quite the rollercoaster. We experience highs, lows, and downright disastrous times throughout the course of our lives. It’s common to get down on life when faced with challenges, and all too easy to fall victim to the dreaded “why me?” syndrome.
Being challenged is not designed to be a fun experience, but much of how we fare during tough times boils down to our individual perspectives. While some may see challenges as the end of the proverbial world, others see them as opportunities for learning, healing and growth.
If the latter viewpoint sounds crazy to you, I get it! It took me a LONG time to figure out that my own personal challenges were actually designed to assist in my evolution, but once I did, everything changed.
Thanks to extensive soul searching, lots of inner work and some valuable lessons from a few amazing spiritual teachers, I found out that our individual challenges are not just here to torture us. In fact, believe it or not, they have a purpose: they’re expertly designed to elevate us; to show us who we have the potential to be — who we really are under the surface.
Here are a few ways challenges can help us to grow (even though they feel like torture sometimes!):
They Show Us What We’re Capable of
Once you’ve come through the other side of a challenge, do you ever stop to look back at what you’ve just overcome? If not, now is a good time to start.
Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, and while it’s hard to see just how strong you are in the midst of the chaos, taking the time afterwards to reflect on what you’ve just accomplished can be extremely gratifying.
Not only can you breathe easier when things finally calm down, but the experience can serve as a reminder for the next time something happens that causes you to doubt yourself.
Try looking back a few years and remembering the challenges you’ve survived that felt impossible to overcome at the time. You might be surprised at how well you’ve done!
They Force Us to Look Deeper
Some of us have challenges that repeat themselves, coming back to bite us multiple times throughout our lives. These can be especially draining; just when we think we’ve figured things out, here comes the same issue again — or a similar one dressed up as something different on the surface.
If your challenges seem to have a recurring theme, pay extra close attention to what you might be missing. There’s a reason this issue keeps rearing its ugly head: it usually means you’ve got something in a related area that needs to be resolved.
For example: I’ve had issues around money my entire life. This challenge has presented itself in a variety of ways, shapes and forms, and for a while I thought I was destined to be broke forever — a cruel punishment for something horrible I had done in a past life.
Little did I know, the challenge was repeating itself because it wanted me to resolve it, and the only way I could do that was to pay attention! If we don’t learn our lesson the first time, it will keep coming back until we do. At least the important ones will, anyway.
They Spark Inspiration
When we’re challenged, we can approach the issue in one of two ways. We can allow it to beat us down and continue to feel sorry for ourselves, or we can get up and do something about it!
Sometimes, if we pay close attention, we can find that our challenges actually inspire us to do better. Simply realizing that we’ve learned something that will ultimately contribute to our growth can be hugely empowering!
Next time you face what seems to be a problem, ask yourself what it could be teaching you. What could you do to turn it into an opportunity for growth? How could you see it in a way that empowers you, instead of allowing it to break you down?
You might be surprised at what you come up with.
They Highlight Our Limiting Beliefs
We all know about limiting beliefs and what a drag they can be. Not only are they buried deep in our subconscious where they’re difficult to access, but they’ve likely been programmed into us at an early age, so identifying and resolving them can take time.
If you don’t know what your limiting beliefs are, don’t worry! You can figure this out by paying close attention to the recurring theme around your challenges and working your way backwards (Hint: the theme of your challenges is usually the belief in question).
When you do this work, you’ll find that your challenges and your beliefs are aligned with each other in some way. This is because our challenges are designed to awaken us to the programming in our subconscious that isn’t serving our highest good, giving us a reason to figure out what’s not working, and fix it.
While life’s ups and downs can be frustrating, it’s reassuring to know that there’s a reason for most of our challenges. Contrary to the belief that we’re being punished or that something’s wrong with us, we’re really being nudged to find our inner power.
We were sent here to live the life that we were gifted; to learn about the human experience in the most fulfilling way possible. What our individual souls need to learn or heal in order to do that can lead to the things that challenge us, whether we enjoy them or not in the moment.
It’s up to us to decide how we perceive said challenges; whether we let them break us — or make us stronger. Just like physical pain signals there’s something in our body that needs attention, our challenges signal something that needs healing within us.
So, next time you’re faced with a challenge, I hope you’ll remember that it’s up to you to determine how to handle it. You are more powerful than you realize, and you’ve got the challenges to prove it!
About the author:
Samantha Kingston is a Personal Growth writer based in Northern California.
After healing a lifetime of anxiety through inner work and spiritual education, she found her mission in life: to help others heal through her writing.
You can find out more about her at CreatedForGrowth.com.