Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Are You Making It Harder Than It Is?

If we all let ourselves think that running was easy, would we do it more often?

"Marriage is hard."

It wasn't the first time I'd heard that line. Many a husband, wife—and even singleton—had declared it in my presence. But when I heard it a few weeks ago, my coaching siren immediately sounded.


Is it true that marriage can be a challenge? Absolutely. When you're in locked in wed, you have to live with the person day in and day out, through your moods and theirs, making compromises to maintain peace.

But letting your focus rest on a thought about anything being hard can make it feel even more difficult.  

A couple of years ago when we moved to our current house, my husband was still working in Los Angeles, and was only able to commute up on weekends. During the week, I was all alone in a slightly dilapidated house, missing my friends and my love, writing marketing materials for tech companies by day, taking care of chronically sick pets by night. Very quickly, my mental mantra became "Living here is SO HARD." I had a litany of evidence to support my frustrated story, so it played on repeat in my head.

The crappy side effect of this way of thinking was that as soon as my brain started telling me something was hard, my body felt exhausted. The thought drained my energy and made me want to crumple to the floor and be spoon-fed chicken soup until I could be convinced life was easy again.

Thinking something is hard makes it feel even harder. Even heavier.

Finally one day, I sat down and forced myself to turn my story around

"Living here is easy."

I wrote it in my journal and drafted a list of dozens of reasons why it was true—maybe even truer than the crappy story about how living in my new home was hard.

Guess what? I started to feel a little better. Though my outward circumstances hadn't changed at all, the change to my inner mental state made life feel less heavy.

I shared this example with the spouse who had commented on marriage being hard, and I think something clicked.

Marriage, moving, writing marketing copy—they can all be difficult.

But can they can also be easy.

It's all a matter of where we choose to stack our decks of evidence. And the truth is, unless you're willing to do something potentially drastic to change your "hard" situation, it doesn't serve you in any way to dwell in a place of distress.

Going from feeling crappy to happy can start with a simple one-word shift in your mental playlist. Goodbye, hard. Hello, easy.

So tell me—what feels like the biggest struggle for you right now? And why is it equally true that the thing you perceive as arduous could be effortless?

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