Is Your Painful Addiction To Struggle Holding You Back?

woman struggle

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Hi there, welcome back to Kelly Martin Speaks, I’m your host Kelly Martin and this is episode 68.

Today I’m going to talk about an addiction to struggle.

Something I have spoken about a little bit in previous podcasts, but also something I need to talk about more because I think that many of us are addicted, even when we think we’re not.

Now this week, I have been involved in my own struggle, hence the reason for this podcast. For those of you who have been following along for some time you may know that I have had my own challenges in life, from anxiety, depression and a failure story.

Lately I have been able to spend more and more time simply embracing ‘what is’ in my life, enjoying the present moment more and more, regardless of my life not ticking all the boxes my ego had wished my life would be by this time.

However, this past Monday I had acupuncture. I have been receiving acupuncture for a little while now for some physical issues, but sometimes it triggers emotional releases too.

In episode 65 I spoke about What If Your Inability To Receive Is From Past Trauma? And I talked a lot about the subject of valuelessness. In that episode I went into my own trauma and loss as a child and how the early life conditioning led me to believe that I was valueless and because of this in my adult life I overcompensated for this feeling by over-working and over-giving to others. By doing this I gave a lot and received very little in return.

The day after my acupuncture this week was incredibly painful. I awoke in tears after considering something my acupuncturist had said to me about the personal stories I was carrying. I have been looking at my stories for some time, but he pointed out that I was still attached to one story, that of my little sister being born when I was 13 and the false belief that she had an easy life and I had a hard life. I had built up this strong idea that she chose a life where everything worked out for her and I was stuck with the story of struggle, hardship and pain. And because of this my body had been creating intense heat, which in acupuncture can often be related to anger. So, I was bitter and resentful still, even though I thought I had worked through all of this in the past.

I had understood that my sister’s ‘easy life’ was mostly material, superficial stuff, but I have finally begun to understand that my richly emotional and aware life is something I would definitely prefer than a life that simply has the appearance of ease.

However, I had only gone so far with letting this belief and story go.

Story – My Life Is Always A Struggle

man struggle

What I had done was to accept that what I had envied and felt bitter about, had created an opposing story inside of me, that of ‘my life is always a struggle and  is hard and painful’. So, while we may think we are releasing and letting go of one story, we miss another story playing in the background.

I had believed that as my life had felt like a fight to get anything to work, I had felt hard done by. I had watched my sister being head-hunted for her skills, being very successfully self-employed, having relationships fall into her lap easily, to seeing her encouraged at so many levels with her art, that I had built up a shadow in me that was so deeply resentful, that it created anger energy that was causing heat in my body and intense itching.

The day after the acupuncture, the old story I thought I had cleared resurfaced, because deeply rooted stories do this. We remove one layer of that story, only to discover there are more layers. This doesn’t mean we are going backwards, or that we haven’t done what we needed to, it just means we were not ready to let the next layer go. This layer for me was my addiction to struggle and also the once again loud voice, ‘Why am I not enough exactly as I am?’

And even though intellectually I can see I am enough as I am, the wounded child within does not believe this yet.

I cried four times the day after my acupuncture treatment. There was this inner turmoil happening that needed release. Upon waking, I cried with the voices of lies telling me I was not enough, that I had no value, that I feel so stuck not knowing how to receive by being who I am.

I then cried at my computer after posting how I was feeling to my friends on Facebook, when a friend simply said, ‘I see you Kelly’. It was such a simple statement, but it hit me to my core. I was obviously feeling unseen again.

I then cried as I meditated about value and worth and wondering what was it that made me ‘enough’.

And lastly, I cried in the arms of my best friend, one of those real child cries, where if someone was listening they would think that someone you love had died. And in the middle of crying I was able to be an observer, to watch this scene unfolding. I was no longer the child crying, but the mother watching the child and I heard the child scream, once again ‘Why am I not enough as I am?’

My inner child was crying out deeply for acceptance and love.

Why The Struggle Story Beats The Inner Child Up

inner child crying

It is so easy to get lost in the struggle, to feel our life must be a struggle. I guess for me the hardest aspect of the struggle is to do with self-care, in the financial sense. My friend supports me and when I am hit with the ‘not enough’ voices, I feel like a failure. I ask what can I do to support myself financially? And lately I have been drawing blanks on this. I don’t want to go into specific details, but what I understood through this whole experience was that by saying I was a failure financially, not able to care for my core survival needs, I didn’t know that I was screaming at my inner child, ‘You are not enough’ and that I was using my lack of financial freedom and support as a measure of my failure as a human being.

My success definition has changed over the years. It used to be that I needed to have a constant flow of money, meet the love of my life, get married, have my own house etc. etc… all those definitions we get thrown at us by society, so much so that when they don’t happen, we feel different to those around us. We may fear our safety, we may feel like outsiders, we may feel we don’t belong and most of all we may feel we are not enough because we do not match the conventional ideas of what it means to have a happy or successful life.

For me facing this idea of what ‘happy’ or ‘life satisfaction’ means is an ongoing journey. When I am faced by social media, by people I know being able to make a lot more choices financially speaking than me, it can cause me to recoil in pain, envy, resentment and hurt. This could also be the same if you had challenges with love or relationships, you may find yourself deeply triggered when you see couples in love, married etc… or if you have health issues that make it a challenge to get out the house, to move your body, to do those things you dreamed of doing and you see others fit and healthy, you may feel triggered by these experiences as well.

Redefine What Your ‘Wanting’ Means

The greater the trigger, the greater the challenge to face and embrace, BUT if we keep getting triggered by the same things time and time again, it is our intuition bringing these people as inspiration to redefine how we view what we want in life.

So, for me, I need to redefine what life satisfaction and success is.

For you, you may need to redefine what relationships or love is for you.

Or you may need to redefine what being healthy means to you.

As I cried on my bed, I screamed to the Universe (God, Goddess, whatever is the right label for you) ‘What does value mean?’, ‘Why am I valuable?’ ‘Why am I enough?’ ‘Why do people think I am amazing?’

Because I think, many of us with triggers often find that no matter what other people say to us, no matter how kind or encouraging, it simply does not penetrate us. It does not go in deep. It is lovely to receive compliments, but if the story is still painful, they don’t help.

What really matters is how we view our experience and that is where we need to change how we view ourselves and our lives.

We are not meant to give in to the voices in our heads that make us suffer, the ideas that we are victims and that we cannot free ourselves from this suffering.

We CAN free ourselves from this suffering, but we first need to acknowledge that we are addicted to the suffering. It gives us secondary benefits; it keeps us safe; it keeps us from the fear of the new, it stops us making changes.

The fact is, we are all ‘enough’, by virtue of our presence in this world, but I understand that the ego mind wants to grab onto more than this and that is where we need to question the authority of those voices we have been listening to for so long.

For me, hearing ‘Your mere presence means you are enough’ doesn’t really touch me. The story within still needs unravelling. I need to continue to change my definition of life satisfaction and what it means to be a successful human being.

It can be hard to not compare with the world around us, really hard. People may say that it’s nothing to do with us, what other people do, so just focus on our own lives, but I go a stage further on this, those other people that trigger us are necessary, because when we are able to feel enough, exactly as we are right now, imagine…? What would life feel like?

My greatest fear is probably that of being on the streets homeless, so my challenge is to face that fear, to know that even if I were homeless, this does not make me worthless or not enough, because when I see homeless people I don’t think that at all, but I can see how my ego tries to judge me in this way.

Struggle Is Not A Prerequisite for Success

And when I consider struggling, whoever told me that struggling was a prerequisite for success was wrong. Society tells us that if we don’t struggle, our achievements  mean less than if we had struggled.

Is this true? I don’t think so, but obviously a part of me still believes this illusion.

We can often believe that if things are easy, people will not like us.  For me, this is kind of true. I judged my sister and felt envy for the ease with which she receives the material world. She works hard, she struggles probably working hard, but in my mind it looks as if she found it far easier than me. So perhaps the very judgements we have of others are holding us back even further from our own letting go of struggle.

And what if we have never known a time without struggle; what if it is so familiar that the thought of ease scares us because we don’t believe it can be a way of life?

When someone does something that comes easily to them, we could say, ‘You have it so easy, don’t you?’ and unfortunately, because of the society we live in, we make them feel the need to defend that ease in their lives.  ‘I know, but I had to work really hard for it, it was a struggle and a challenge at times’ as if to have an easy life would mean that it is not worthy or deserved, but is this true?

Easy doesn’t mean lazy, but I think many of us may have been brainwashed to believe that easy does mean lazy.

One writer I read who was discussing struggle and addiction said:

My coach suggested that I start wearing a “struggle patch,” like a nicotine patch that people wear in their process of breaking an addiction to smoking. While at first it seemed a little ridiculous, I actually took her up on the suggestion and put on a band aid as a representation of my “struggle patch.” I’m allowing the band aid to represent my own commitment to break this addiction, and it actually has been altering my perception of myself and my life.

What a brilliant idea. I think I might just try this technique myself. While some people may wear bracelets to remind them that they are beautiful, I will wear a band aid to remind me that I can choose ease, instead of struggle in areas of my life.

For me, the most important thing to do is to focus on ‘what is’, what is it in my life today that I can embrace. It is very easy to keep focusing on what is lacking. This is when we struggle the most.

As Richard Bach famously stated,

“Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.” 

Thanks for listening to another episode of Kelly Martin Speaks

If you have a question or topic you are struggling with and would like me to answer on an upcoming podcast episode, please get in touch. Your name will be confidential. EMAIL me at or message me on Facebook via my page Kelly Martin Speaks.

And don’t forget, if you feel that others are passing you by and ‘The Not Good Enough’ voice is screaming loudly, pop by to find out all about my books, including Book 1 ‘When Everyone Shines but You’

Until next time…bye for now.

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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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