When is it a healthy challenge, and when is it ego-centric illusion?
“It’s not a problem, it is a challenge!” Usually said – whether to others or to ourselves – to portray and instill a more positive, driven attitude. The notion is that seeing a ‘problem’ generally puts us in a disempowered reaction, whereas the perspective of that same issue as a ‘challenge’ invokes a sense of eagerness, speaks to our inherent strengths, and compels us to respond.
So then, can a challenge become a problem? Can we become so obsessed, so driven by challenges, that the NEED for a challenge becomes an issue? When is it focused discipline, and when is it ego attachment?
Challenges drive us to act. To do better. To do more. To overcome. To create.
However, as the consciousness evolution gained momentum, and as spirituality has become more widespread, these qualities started getting a bad rap. As the realization came for many to stop “chasing”, to “smell the roses”, and to be more aware of the NOW, so too has the healthy ability to propel, to drive, to seek forward momentum.
We have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. We have become limp. Instead of becoming LIKE water and flowing, we have become puddles that just cause a splash.
Let’s unpack this…
We are energy. Energy moves. Forever and always. We expand and contract. We move towards something, or away from something.
The era of moving towards a goal to the exclusion of anything and everything else is long gone, thank goodness. Pursuing and achieving for the sake of pursuing and achieving is dead, hallelujah! We have become way too conscious for that kind of outdated paradigm, fuelled by the wounded, and unhealed masculine forces in society and in the world.
Yet, we have also learned that the healthy feminine (embodied in us all, regardless of gender), needs the spark to prevent it from becoming listless, weak, and pointless, and to keep it alive.
IF done in a balanced, healthy, and empowering way. Without any attachment.
And the key to ascertaining if anything is balanced, healthy, and empowering, is CONTEXT. To know when, how, and most importantly, WHY we do (or don’t do) certain things.
So when do you put your head down and continue to challenge yourself, and when do you surrender? When it is a healthy, driven, and crucial pursuit and when is it a stubborn, ego-centric, and senseless waste of energy? How do you tell the difference and how do you know when you have crossed the line?
You inhale and remember WHY you do it. Or maybe you think about it for the first time. Does it align to your mission, your purpose, the legacy you are creating, and the values you aim to embody in this life? (And if you haven’t worked out what the above is for you, then this is the time!).
And you do it CONSCIOUSLY.
Simple example – to make it very practical. The other day I set a small challenge for myself to run up a very steep, very long hill. To run every step, no matter how slow I go.
Is there ego involved? Hell yeah, of course! A very healthy dose.
But here is how I did it consciously:
- I clarified WHY I wanted to do it: To continue to strengthen my mind. Part of my mission to embody my FULL potential, means I must develop and cultivate my fullest, strongest mind.
- I STAYED aware of this. I stayed acutely aware of when my thoughts wandered to either giving up, or to becoming arrogant. I just stayed present with the goal of strengthening my mind.
- I stayed IN gratitiude. For being able to do it, for my surroundings, and for the opportunity. Gratitude kept my heart open so that my mind stays present and doesn’t run away on an ego tangent (or at least, have less of a chance of doing so!)
- I stayed in SOVEREIGNTY. That means no co-dependence, and nothing to prove. Just the sheer aim of strengthening my mind. One step at a time, all the time.
- I stayed in COMPASSION. One foot in front of the other, in a kind, loving, and masterful way.
Context – the awareness of what’s at stake, and the clarification of why, how, and when to strive is what allows challenges to work for us, rather than to enslave us.
Next time you embark on a challenge, consider the following:
- Be sure why you are doing it. Affirm this constantly.
- Be sure your self-worth is intact before you continue. Any hint of co-dependency by trying to prove something needs to be dealt with straight away.
- Be a beginner. Allow mistakes but stay open and curious to learn.
- Nip arrogance, judgement, or comparison in the butt by staying present, humble, and in gratitude.
- Compassion, compassion, compassion.
And just get on with the task at hand.
About the Author:
Celeste Du Toit is a Transformational Coach and Holistic Therapist, based in Westville, KZN.
She is known for her deep work on thought patterns and the manifestation thereof on our spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being, and her self-awareness and empowerment workshops and retreats help people align with their true purpose and ZEST for life.
Her focus and earth mission is to help heal individual and planetary misalignment and shadows, to assist with the evolution of consciousness.