Finding Value In The Struggle

Finding value in the struggle, and finding value in yourself through the struggle of recovery, is an often overlooked idea that really has an impact on the recovery process.  Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that valuing ourselves means that we should try to prevent any struggle, soothe ourselves constantly, and smooth out all the bumps. Sure, that’s part of it, but in recovery we’re also tasked with finding value in ourselves that allows the struggle because we know that we’ll learn from it and grow through the experience.

This sounds like it makes no sense, but it really does.

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  • Common sense would tell us that if we value ourselves, we will protect ourselves against any struggle.  If you hold yourself in high value, you’ll soothe yourself, calm yourself, and try to make yourself comfortable, right?
  • Not really.  That is certainly something you would do for someone you value, including yourself, but that’s not the whole story.
  • In recovery we must hold ourselves at a high enough value to allow the struggle.  Intentionally being triggered, intentionally facing things that scare us, and intentionally feeling the things we try so hard to not feel is certainly a struggle.  We must value ourselves and our recovery so high that we allow that struggle because we recognize that there are lessons in the struggle that must be learned.
  • Not everyone will share these values.  Everyone has a right to move in the direction they move value.  If self-valuation means choosing comfort in exchange for restriction, that is a perfectly acceptable choice if that is the right choice for you. Nobody – including me – gets to judge you or shame you for making that choice.
  • If you do value yourself and your life in such a way that living a smaller, more avoidant life is not what you can accept, then tap into that sense of value to move yourself in the direction of the struggle rather than away from it.  That sounds counterintuitive, but so much of recovery is exactly like that.
  • As parents we value our children, but that does not mean that we wrap them in bubble wrap and “save them” from every bump, bruise, challenge and struggle.  We value our children and want them to grow into capable adults, so we allow them to explore, to take risks, and to struggle. We support them and cheer for them when those struggles teach them valuable life lessons and show them how capable they are.
  • Now apply this to the concept of self-parenting, which is in fact a thing.  If you value your children enough to let them struggle and cheer for them as they learn how to overcome challenges, can you also do that for yourself?  Self-parenting is not always protecting and shielding.  Self-parenting is also about encouraging and inspiring and supporting.  Think about that.
  • It is critical that we always remember that we are not valuing ourselves highly enough to do dangerous things.  We are valuing ourselves highly enough to do difficult things.  Difficult and dangerous are not the same thing.  This is a critical, foundational concept in anxiety recovery that you must remain connected to.
  • Some of this sounds like the tired old cliches we find in life coaching and self-help circles, but sometimes in the context of anxiety recovery those cliches hold value.  They might even be more valuable for us then they are for non-anxious people!

None of today’s podcast will fix you, cure you, or instantly change your life for the better.  But it does give you something to think about and it might give you a reason to turn to face in a new direction more aligned with the recovery you want.

Thanks for listening. I’ll see you next week.


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Founder and host of The Anxious Truth Podcast. Former anxiety disorder sufferer. Now fully recovered and dedicated to providing no-nonsense, straight-forward, actionable advice on how to overcome anxiety problems.