“Life is difficult.” The first sentence from A Road Less Traveled, the classic book that helped a generation take an inward look. And so here we are again. In a really hard spot. All of us together, and yet each of us alone. But when you remember that this is exactly where we’re supposed to be, it makes it a little bit easier doesn’t it? To recognize and accept that life is difficult, is in essence to make enduring it easier. This is really big stuff actually. I mean, if it is just a given that life is hard, than it’s OK if it’s not easy all of the time, it’s really not meant to be. When it is easy we can enjoy it and take great pleasure in it, and when it is hard we can allow it to be just what it is…a challenge. Without judging it as bad, just accepting it for what it is. That’s the thing we forget, how to let go of judgment. It’s in the judgements that we sabotage ourselves. Of course this is something that we all know, so why do we continue to do it? Maybe because we think we can change the outcome? I watched the movie “Love Story” I don’t know how many times as a child; each time I kept wanting and thinking that it would end happily. It never did. Yet my judgments about death and loss were so strong and so negative, that it urged me forward into silly delusion. Of course I knew the ending wouldn’t actually be different, but oh how I hoped. How many times are we guilty of doing that in our day to day lives? “If only things were different than I would be happy?” Judging the present at those times as hard and horrible and something that we just don’t want. Rather than challenging ourselves to take a look at the other possibilities. Allowing ourselves to feel the weight of the effort, but pleased by the possible opportunity to learn and gain from the difficulty. Because, my friends, the good news is that out of struggle comes growth and learning. No other way to get those gifts. Really.

So how do you let go of judgement? How do you come to accept something that you have deemed terrible, bad, unjust or intolerable? Do you put on a pair of rose colored glasses and make believe that everything is rosy? No, that would be delusion as well. The trick is to distance yourself from the emotion of it. Give yourself some breathing room from that which you are determining is upsetting to you. Ask yourself for a moment to step back, take a breath and observe it as if it is happening to someone else, perhaps a stranger. Observe the situation from afar. Ask yourself to look at the situation from a different perspective. Generate an alternate hypothesis. How else could you look at the situation. What could you say that might help you get through? Maybe something as simple as “I can do this.” or “This is hard, but I can get through it.” Reminding yourself that this is just life. It gives us the hard stuff to manage on a routine basis and from time to time it may give us a brief break where things are a little easier. Now this doesn’t mean we are to go through life depressed. When you let go of judgment you allow the emotions to come and go. Sadness and happiness are all part of the normal ups and downs of life that follow the fluctuating pattern of easy and hard. Just as hard will come, it will also go. The cycle will continue.

So give yourself a break. Accept what is on your plate right now. The only other choice is really only struggle against yourself. Who in their right mind would want to do that? Life is already hard, do you really want to make it harder? Awareness of the normalcy of the struggle, allows for the acceptance and appreciation of where we are at in the moment. What do you think?

Be happy and well,
Sari Roth-Roemer

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