3 Important Reasons Why Struggling Is Okay

I’ve been struggling lately. There’s a new and exciting thrill to being my own boss, being completely in control of my schedule and how my days are laid out. But along with that thrill there is the burgeoning stress of “am I working hard enough? Am I doing everything I can to ensure I can pay my bills? What else can I be doing? What if I fail?” That last question echoes constantly, a creeping reminder that this is new and unexplored territory for me: the path less traveled, as it were (I’ve always been a sucker for Robert Frost).

As if on cue, the universe reconnected me with a member of my family today who is also struggling. Even with the short conversation we had, I could tell we were sharing similar paths: struggling with finding our way, battling choices and happenings that weren’t in the cards or didn’t see coming. It made me realize that the sensation and emotion that comes with struggling is normal; for the most part, society grooms us at a young age to know what it is we want to be when we “grow up” (whenever that is), to have the plan all laid out and written.

But what about those of us that don’t have that? We struggle, and we feel lost.

I’m here to tell you three important reasons why that’s perfectly okay. 

Related Content: Self Care on an Emotional Budget


1. Struggle breeds growth

There’s definite truth in the saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, though I’ve never been a personal fan of it. But when it comes to struggling, to working hard, to feeling like you’re in a place of negativity and can’t seem to overcome what’s in front of you… something blooms. I have learned more about myself and my own personal resilience and reliance these past three months, and even though it’s been very hard, I like the person that I’m becoming.

Struggle breeds growth because it fosters an environment for you to learn about yourself and what you are capable of. Know that it’s okay to give yourself time in those dark and churning places inside yourself, because on the morning when something changes for the brighter, it will make it all the more sweeter knowing you’ve crossed the trenches. There will be more pits, more trenches, more negative or dark days, and that’s okay too. Don’t look for them… look beyond them.


2. Not everything is perfect

Let’s be honest: shit gets hard. We feel pressured to have everything go right all the time, but the reality of life is that it rarely happens. Things happen differently (or not at all) than we expected, and we have to learn to adapt.

If something happens out of plan or off your path, it’s okay to feel bad about it for a little while. That feeling of defeat that grips you by the throat won’t be there forever, so it’s perfectly normal to be sad or angry or upset about it. Just don’t let that emotion take precedence. Give it it’s moment, but once your moment (or day, or week) is done, move on from it. I’m trying to create the habit of putting a time limit on my emotions when things feel rotten, or tough, or impossible; I give myself a day, three days, or sometimes even a week if I’m super deep in the pit to wallow in it. The moment my time is up, I straighten myself and figure out how to take the next step.


3. struggles add up… but they shouldn’t.

Last but not least, don’t let yourself get in the mindset that your struggles compound. While it might feel like one struggle on top of another struggle on top of a disappointment, you can feel your struggles without convincing yourself that they’re piling into an insurmountable mountain. If you missed going to the gym today, don’t tell yourself that you have to work twice as hard (or more) tomorrow. Didn’t make as much money as you thought you would today? Yes, you can work hard the following day, but don’t put so much weight on your shoulders by lacing your struggles together and trying to bear them all as one solid mass.

Acknowledge them, and move on. Give yourself your time, and keep walking your path. The more meaningless attention you give to your struggles the more you steal energy and focus away from what really matters. You’ve heard it before, but I’m saying it now: don’t sweat the small stuff.




15 thoughts on “3 Important Reasons Why Struggling Is Okay

  1. Carissa says:

    Great post! I find myself struggling the most with not letting defeat take precedence. Lately my husband and I have been having awful luck with everything, so it’s been hard to even try to find the silver lining.

    • Emily says:

      I wish you the best, Carissa! It’s so easy to let defeat take the reins, and I have to remind myself constantly (with failure, I might add) that it will all be okay.

  2. Never Not On The Go says:

    I find myself in a similar situation (also the reason why I created my blog) and have the same approach: allowing myself those feelings, but for a limited amount of time. Then get up, look for the many great things in life, and tackle it with a positive attitude. I’ve learnt that it’s not if you feel bad (of course you will if you’re facing a challenge) but how you choose to handle it that makes all the difference and defines who you are and want to be. Good luck in your journey! 🙂

  3. Dnné says:

    Thanks for the advice. I do agree, so often the barrier to moving forward is perfectionism. But so often, whats more important than getting it right is just moving forward in some manner or form at all! =)

  4. Tanya @ Intimate Explorations says:

    This was a really great read. I was recently speaking with someone who was struggling to learn a new job, which can be so challenging. I was sharing with her that years ago I had an insight that really helped me. Because I felt like my confidence in life was growing, and then I’d have these experiences that made me doubt. And what I recognized is that as I’m navigating change, sometimes I feel a little off kilter. When I’m growing, I don’t feel as confident as when I’ve gained competence. It’s so obvious in hindsight, but sometimes we just need to hear that we’re doing fine. Thanks for a great reminder!

  5. Komal says:

    Oh my God, you sound so much like me!! I’ve been writing about the exact same things myself lately. I do feel like I’m being hit by curveball after curveball and sometimes a voice inside me tells me that it’s not fair but I’m trying my hardest to keep going and take struggle as an opportunity. Thanks for this great post 🙂

    • Emily says:

      It’s crazy how it all piles up, right?? I find myself so overwhelmed sometimes but I’m teaching myself to be gentler with myself. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Patty says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Many people don’t seem to realize that struggling is a common part of life, whether it’s with work, house chores or personal relationships.

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