How to Recognize Your Soul-Lessons Within the Struggles of Life

Lillian came to see me when her marriage was in trouble. She told me David had been the love of her life and she felt at a total loss at the prospect of losing him after four years invested in the relationship.

Lillian felt disillusioned and questioned whether she deserved anyone as good as David and at the same time felt angry at him for thinking of abandoning her. Her world was in turmoil and she was feeling so much pain and confusion.

How could something she had treasured so dearly fall apart? How could she make sense of what was happening, pick herself up and start to correct some of what went wrong?

Being in a “stuck” place within a relationship is fertile ground and opportunity for growth but not always easy to see the way forward.

When you set out to achieve a dream you care about, it’s inevitable that you encounter failure. And, it can be devastating and hard to deal with. At the same time, failures, setbacks and challenges can be our greatest opportunity for growth and if you want to achieve a new dream, you need to grow into the person who can hold that new reality.

Things will go wrong and you’ll get lost along the way.

In my experience, when we desire to expand to the next level, it’s necessary to make a leap beyond the confines of our smaller ego-self and learn to dance with a divine partner. Sometimes, failures can be the catalyst and open in us the humility to begin doing so.

As we worked together, Lillian began to shift her way of approaching her relationship. She went from a story of what was being done to her (abandonment), from the insecurity and fear of her own inadequacies, to one in which she had the power and agency to learn new ways of being in life and with her partner.

If we get still enough, we can start to notice a reflection of our patterns within our life experience.

Lillian began to recognize that what was occurring within her relationship with David was partly a reflection of her own life path. She started to notice that some of the pain, insecurity, and fear of abandonment were longstanding patterns for her and existed before she’d even met him.

Bringing awareness and owning some of her own emotional patterns cleared a space inside for Lillian to begin letting go of abandonment fears and feelings of being undeserving. What had been a terrible struggle within her relationship opened her up to a transformational soul-journey and re-discovery of herself where she was able to recognize her gifts and new ways to thrive in relationships.

Had Lillian stayed in the struggle of her ego, she would have tried to figure out a solution based on its own limited rationale. The problem is that when the ego is in the driver’s seat, the strategies it resorts to often have an “either-or” focus or lead to black or white thinking or dead-ends.

Here are some examples of the ego’s strategies in a situation like Lillian’s:

  1. Lillian might have decided that the relationship’s failure was all on David. She believed that it was his responsibility to change and make her feel appreciated and secure, that he should never leave her side and every time he failed to do so she would be entitled to complain or blame him.
  2. On the other hand, she might have accepted all the blame for the problem, beating herself up and at the same time feeling like a victim in the situation.
  3. Or, she might have sought to avoid the pain around the relationship and tried to distract herself by overworking, or otherwise.

This is what happens when the small-self (or ego) is left to its own devices, it becomes a closed system, boxed in, confined and turning upon itself, holding on to survival as its prime function. It’s when you open up, let go of the survival strategies of ego: such as control, fear, the need to be right and endless distraction that you access real growth.

As Einstein said: “No problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness at which it was created”.

Because no problem can be solved at the level of consciousness it was created, just as the caterpillar turns into the butterfly, we need to transform and evolve to find solutions to life situations.

The small-self alone tends to lead us to drive, push, control, seize, dominate, and capture. What’s missing is knowing how to release, surrender and receive:

  1. The first step in letting go of the ego is to lovingly find awareness of ourselves and our stuck patterns. Part of the awareness is also to understand that we’re just a small speck in the Universe – a part of something far greater.
  2. This leads us to release or let go of what we’ve been holding onto so tightly and surrender ourselves to something much bigger that better serves our soul-journey.
  3. Once we’ve experienced some letting go, surrendering, we’re more open to receive.

Mistakes, struggles and failures provide us with the opportunity to let go of the small worldview or the isolated ego and receive something immeasurably greater.

The more Lillian felt a victim to the patterns within the relationship, the more she unconsciously pushed David away.

Of course, David had his own patterns to contribute, but that’s another story and my job was to help Lillian focus on changing her side of things.

Lillian’s Soul-Lessons

As Lillian discovered that the problems she encountered in her relationship weren’t as much about David as they were about her, she uncovered her soul-lessons (i.e. that which she needed to learn to open up to a fuller, more expansive and more joyful life).

When you discover your soul-lessons, it’s usually accompanied by a sense of flow; so that instead of struggling against life, you can start to dance with life.

Her soul-lessons led her on a path towards greater empowerment. She now had power to act and to positively influence the situation.

In Lillian’s case, she worked on letting go of some of the longstanding patterns of feeling undeserving and inadequate, and this had a very positive impact on her relationship. The shifts she made had an influence on David who ended up making some positive changes himself and their relationship became so much more loving and trusting.

You can transpose Lillian’s situation to any struggle you might be having (with your boss, your finances, your mother, etc.).

Yes, the problems are real and you might not be able to change the other person or situation. But shifting your perspective to see what lessons there are for you to learn opens you up to a whole new panorama of possibilities. Because if there’s a soul-lesson for you to learn, you’re now more empowered and can begin to do something about the situation.

  • What struggle do you have that you can learn from?
  • What are the soul-lessons that are knocking at your door?
  • Are you ready to stop struggling so hard?

I’ve designed a high-touch, small community, called ALIVE to nurture and feed your spirit. If you’re ready to finally feel in  joyful alignment with your purpose and supported by like-minded women then this is the community for you. You’ll learn how to nurture your sensitive soul and reclaim your joy. Start living with your cup filled instead of empty!

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Gabrielle is a psychotherapist and a Transformational Coach. Her passion is to offer support and guidance to Sensitive Soul Leaders – visionary women who deeply desire to break through to the next level of their business or their dream.

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