The holiday season has begun, and for many of us that means mixed emotions.  Not everyone finds this time of the year to be joyous, and for those who struggle to cope with this time of the year they may feel lost and out of control.

The following reflection is written by a guest blogger, sharing with us their insights on struggle, and how they learned to take that struggle and turn it into strength.  This is a reflection about hope:

struggle, hope, Oprah, strength, perspective, serenity, peace Oprah quote about struggle

Believe me when I say that the BEST thing that can EVER happen to you---is to struggle. 
It will never sound true as you struggle...as you are still on the downward swing, but believe me when I say it is the best thing to ever happen to you.

Have you ever seen those people who have it all---yet throw it all away? Who have everything---yet dive deep into drugs? Who have it all yet they just don't understand it's value? You sit there watching them, you're frustrated, angry,and even feel a little sad for them that "they don't even know how good they have it".

Do you realize people say that about you? Do you realize when you are in the middle of YOUR struggle , that people look at you, while you are crying, while you are abusing yourself, while you are just flat out down on not only yourself but also life......there are people looking at you and thinking the same things you once thought about people who have "so much" but just don't realize yet.

"Yet"

Why do people who have everything throw it away? What possesses a person with "it all" to risk everything? Why?...chances are they have yet to struggle. And I mean REALLY struggle.

A true struggle will help you see life much more clear than anything else can do. No advice can replace experience. No words can describe that eerie silence you feel at the bottom. Nobody's story will make you FULLY understand...not until you have been there.

Here is how an extreme struggle works

1. It begins. A life event triggers "everything" you know to fall apart.

 

2. You sink. You make yourself alone. You are angry, yet hate yourself for some reason. You start to question EVERYTHING...

3.You start looking at the pieces. People are not who you thought they were. Family, friends, everyone....they now look different. They all are viewed with questions and uncertainty. Who? What? Where? When? How?........WHY????

4. You feel as the world is not what you thought it was. Your life is a shambled resemblance of the "plan" you had in your head. Suddenly the values of all facets of life come into question

5. YOU. You start to look more at yourself. There is a balance that is learned in this step. No pride can be left at this point, as you need to look a lot at yourself. The balance of where blame lays, what REALLY caused this all to fall apart, and the balance of anger , depression, and most importantly. ....understanding, all need to be looked into VERY deeply.  Understanding?????

6. Understanding. You realize that you are where you put yourself in life. YOU choose who's around you, who has control of you, and that your own life that " fell apart" is one in which you personally created. That sometimes bad things happen for no reason. That sometimes life is tough for EVERYONE.  The balance here is still very important.

7. Clarity. At this point you see the balances. You have learned to understand WHY things happened and if YOU need to have some credit in it--you take that credit. You can not have pride at this step. You see that you were putting a focus on a lot of the wrong things. You see opportunities for deep conversations that were missed. You see staying guarded will not help you any longer--and is a bad idea (this is very hard at this point, but deep down you know it is true). You see a very clear "importance scale" and feel foolish that it is a far cry from your past actions--as they do not line up with this vision of importance.

8. Healing. You learn that you have way more than you previously thought, and this perspective helps you heal any anger, sorrow, depression, or doubts. You accept life , and what came with it. You ACCEPT LIFE. That means all facets of it. You become "ok" with this struggle and suddenly see it as a good thing.

9. A new day. With a new appreciation of the situation you see just what you need to do in life, and become slightly excited to life's possibilities! You now carry a new perspective....one of a struggler

10. You put one foot in front of the other and you start your new journey in life.  You now have a new found love of your own life, and look forward to the future--excited to see what's next. You appreciate things so much more than you ever did, and nothing will ever look the same again. 

You now have the view of a struggler.....congratulations, it was the best thing to ever happen to you.    --- guest blogger

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