The Benefit of Struggle

odometerDo you have specific areas in your life that always seem to be a struggle? 

April 2015 – Maybe every month you open your checkbook to pay your bills and when you see your account balance, your stomach suddenly turns inside-out. Because once again, you don’t have enough money to pay your bills…

Or every 10 days, almost like clockwork, you have a super-blowout argument with your partner. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s even over the same damn problem! “Why can’t s/he understand my point of view?! Why does this keep happening?”

We all have our struggles and stressors, and we just want them to go away. But hold on a sec… What if there’s some benefit to them? What if our struggles are trying to tell us something?

When a warning light goes off in our car, we pay attention to it, right? We take the car in to get a ‘diagnosis’ and then fix it.

Our repetitive struggles – like lack of money, unhappy relationships, or health issues – are like the warning lights in our cars, but they’re in our psyche – and most often our subconscious. They’re trying to convey something to us.

There are a lot of different messages encoded in these situations, but one of the biggest and most illuminating is:

Each of our struggles shows us where we hide our power.

We are all extraordinarily powerful. You are incredibly adaptive, and absolutely unique. But we hide our own power from ourselves.

One the biggest ways we hide or dilute our power is through our negative internal thoughts – especially the repetitive ones, which I call Mind Loops. These Loops come from our old programming. And I mean OLD (insert creaky sound effect here) – as in, before you were 12 years old and more likely before the age of seven.

Here’s an example of what might go through the head of the person who felt sick when they saw their low bank account balance:

Oh my god. I never have enough money. I can’t figure it out. Why can’t I make more money? What is wrong with me anyway? Maybe I’m not as good at what I do as I thought. All those younger people are way faster at this than I am… I think my work is probably outdated. I’m getting older, I can’t keep up with them. Geez, the way I’m going I’ll probably end up in some crummy old-folks home. Because if I don’t have enough money now, I’m definitely not going to have enough money when I’m old and feeble. Geez, I am SCREWED!”

Does this type of thinking sound familiar? I think we all do this – it’s just to what degree. And the moment we start in on a Mind Loop, we’re amping up our stress, lowering our intelligence, depleting our energy, diminishing our immune system, closing down our hearts… We’re basically shutting down our POWER.

Especially debilitating is the fact that, like with this example, the trajectory of negative thinking starts off bad enough, but then progresses into horrific FUTURE (fear-based) scenarios like: “Ending up in a crummy old folks home” or “I guess I have to let this jerk be a jerk to me or else I’ll always be alone,” or “No one will ever love me because I’m so overweight.”

It’s imperative to interrupt Mind Loops as soon as they begin so they don’t have a chance to hook into you and start stealing your energy and power.

So how do you interrupt a Mind Loop?

Coyau : Wikimedia Common-smallerThe First Step of De-Looping

The first step is: DETECT. Become aware of your own, particular Mind Loops. What are you saying to yourself in your head?

This is the first and extremely important step, because even if you think you know what’s going on up there, most of us don’t really know until we start observing our thoughts. The internal voice can become so constant, and so automatic, it’s like white noise. 

Until you know what you’re dealing with, you can’t change it. And even if it’s a bummer to discover what unfortunate Loops are rolling around in your head, you’ll also get a sense of EMPOWERMENT because you are facing them head-on, instead of sweeping them (consciously or unconsciously) under the rug or accepting them as REALITY (which they are NOT).

fllickr commons of Ruth Colvin Starrett McGuir-smThe Attitude To Adopt When Observing Mind Loops

There’s a specific way you want to observe your thoughts however – and that is: Like a scientist.

When scientists go in to observe something, they do it unemotionally right? They’re just there to gather information. There’s no moral question of something being ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ It just IS. And that’s the way you want to start your Mind Loop observations. 


Your Challenge This Week:

Whenever you catch a Mind Loop, just observe it and make a note of it. You’ll start seeing themes. You’re not trying to change anything right now, you’re just noticing. Write your observations down for a week. Believe me, you will be blown away by what you discover.

THIS is your first step towards reclaiming your Power.

You may even get to the point where you can thank your struggle for bringing to your attention the areas of your Being that needed some extra love, attention, and healing.

Here’s to your Empowerment!



photo credits: staircase by Coyau/Wikimedia Commons; scientist McGuire via Flickr Commons

5 thoughts on “The Benefit of Struggle

  1. Losing weight has been a life-long struggle for me. I often wonder to myself why I even try. The biggest takeaway I had from this is that I have to “interrupt the Mind Loops”. This is what gets me every time.


    1. Hi Nellie, so sorry to hear it’s been such a struggle. I was overweight as a child and it’s a tough place to be. You’re right: Losing weight isn’t just about changing the food we eat and exercising more. Because to DO those things and stick with them requires shifting our internal thoughts (Mind Loops). The subconscious is just SO astoundingly powerful, that it’s extremely difficult to make a major change like losing weight using willpower alone. I’m currently working on a program specifically for people who are working to lose weight. If you’d like to be notified about the program, please email me at . Wishing you all the best!!


  2. Never thought about it, but stress could also be a good thing at times, but then I think about charcoal. They were under a lot of stress and look how that turned out. They became diamonds. You’re right about not letting it take hold of you, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to thank you Barbara, for the many ways your techniques have improved my life over the last few years. Whether it was from reading your wonderful book or from your other writings, my thinking processes have improved in ways I sometimes take for granted. I must say, though, I am not at the point where I thank the universe for sending me this “problem/challenge” as an opportunity for growth, haha. Always something to strive for, you would tell me :-). Thank you Barbara!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John, thank you for your comments! I’m SO HAPPY this work is benefiting your life! I certainly GET what you mean about not being able to thank the Universe for a challenge… It’s not easy – especially while it’s happening!! What helps me is to recall previous “bad” situations and what great things came from them. Then when something “bad” is happening in my life I say, “Some benefit is going to come from this, I just dk what it is right now.” That helps! All the best to you


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