The Struggle Is Real…Or Is It?

By Jeremy Carden

I’m certain that everyone reading this has either heard or said the phrase “The struggle is real.” Similar to Y.O.L.O. (You only live once), it has become a popular catchphrase of our generation. Typically, it is used to describe some type of hardship being experienced by an individual. However, just like those songs you hear on the radio 24/7…it gets old very fast.

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Now I’m not writing this blog to point fingers at people who say this phrase (because I say it on a daily basis) or to express my annoyance of it. The point of all of this is to ask the question; what does it REALLY mean to say “the struggle is real?”

Whenever it rolls off of your tongue the purpose behind saying it is to express that you recognize a difficult situation that either you or another person is going through. Recently, I’ve been going through some hardships of my own and I’ve found myself saying “the struggle is real” even more often than before.

A few nights ago I sat down and thought about my “struggles.” It wasn’t until I hashed out everything that I realized most of these struggles were self-created.

Take a moment and ask yourself; Am I the reason for most of my struggles?

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While I was mentally listing out my troubles, the phrase “You are your own worst enemy…” kept going through my mind. That makes a lot of sense because I’m one of those people who can be classified as an “over thinker” or a “worrywart.” I’m sure that some of you reading this can relate to me when I say that when you worry about something you can play 20+ worst case scenarios in your head about a situation in 30 seconds. Now if that does not cause a struggle for you mentality then I don’t know what does.

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For those of you who say that the struggle is real when it comes to losing weight, how many of you get off of the couch to take a walk or replace that soda in your hand with a bottle of water?

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To anyone having a difficult time trying to move on from a past relationship, are you still talking to your ex or find yourself looking at their pages on social media sites to keep track of what they are doing?

Our inner demons have a way of bringing out temptation and painful memories to bring us down. The struggle is real after you’ve gotten your heartbroken whem a relationship ends or you step on the scale and the number you see makes you want to breakdown and cry. Just the impossibility of getting into shape or putting the pieces of your heart back together truly makes the hardship of the situation escalate. Of course, these are just a couple of the many struggles people face in their lifetimes.

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Money is one of the primary struggles people use the phrase in reference to. Wanting to buy Frosted Flakes but you have to buy the generic brand instead due to a budget is “a struggle.”

Sometimes in order to overcome these struggles you have to do something about it!

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Want to lose weight? Stop scrolling through Facebook on your computer or sitting in front of your TV screen playing a video game for 5 hours straight! If you can do that then you can certainly manage to exercise for an hour or so a day.

Moving on from a relationship proving to be difficult? Stop pinning over the person who broke your heart! The more you dwell on it…the more painful it becomes. You cannot make room for the right person to come into your life if you are stilling holding onto feelings for the wrong person.

No struggle that we go through in life is impossible to overcome. Despite the difficulty one must face in order to conquer a struggle, it will all pay off in the long run.

If there was one thing that I’d want someone reading this blog to take away it is that “The struggle is real, but so is the reward on the other side.” We have to go through those times of hardship for 2 key reasons:

  1. Going through difficult times (struggles) help us to appreciate the good things in our lives once that period of hardship is over. You don’t truly appreciate something handed to you on the same level you do for something that you’ve earned through hard work and struggle.
  2. Despite the struggle(s) that you are going through at the moment there is something good waiting once it is over.

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Something else that I’ve heard many times is “Once you’ve hit rock bottom there is no reason to give up because that means the only direction that you can go is up!”

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Of course, some realists or Debby Downer would say something sarcastic or technical about how you can go even lower and melt at the center of the earth. All joking aside there is a lot of truth behind that statement. There are some moments in life where everything has to be torn down in order to be built back up again. What’s even better is that sometimes when your life is rebuilt it is even better than it was before. The downside is going through the pain of the struggles that come with that.

So the next time you say that “the struggle is real” just stop and think about whether or not you are the cause of it. The struggles we face are only as real as we make them. Are you spending more time complaining about your struggle or are you spending time doing something in order to overcome it?

 

 

 

 

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Don’t let a part-time job kill your lifelong dream?

by Jeremy Carden

Do you have dreams of flying high but find yourself grounded because your funds are low?

Personally my dream is to be a professional writer because I write short stories, blogs, songs and poems. It would be a dream come true to write a #1 hit on the Billboard Charts or write a book that ends up on the Best Seller List. However, I know that becoming an overnight sensation is nearly impossible. Not to mention overnight sensations more often than not disappear from the spotlight just as quickly as they became famous.

Now I know that it will take time to make my dreams come true. With faith, hard work and the one word almost everyone hates “patience” perhaps the day will come with some of my writing lands at the top. Until that time I have to find a way to make a living. I know a few people who tell me that they wish they could be doing some other career but instead they are stuck doing whatever job they are at for a living.

That has been my biggest fear ever since I started college: to end up working at a dead-end job and look back at my life years later regretting not going for my dream(s). Most of the people I know who feel that way are people who let their dreams die instead of keeping them alive.

What I try to tell myself everyday is that sometimes I’ll have to do something that I do not want to do in order to get to where I want to go. I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now and God has everything under control. That is the main problem that a lot of people have: going crazy over the things in their lives that they cannot control.

It helps to give me spirit remembering that I feel stuck where I am now but I should think of it as a stepping stone to the next chapter of my life. Whatever that next step is remains unknown but I do know that in due time it will be revealed to me.

Hopefully this blog will encourage that fast-food employee, a newly graduated college student working to pay off school loans or a janitor who dreams of bigger things but does not know how to move to the next step. I used to work at a fast-food place before college and let me tell you that I knew college was a good move because I did not want to ever work in a restaurant as long as I live! Looking back I am glad that I did work there because it taught me the importance of taking my time while cooking, maintaining adequate kitchen conditions like keeping the food at the right temperature and it showed me that working hard for something means more than just having it handed to me.

Again everything that we do leads to something else. One of my favorite sayings is the one about how opportunities are usually disguised as hard work. Not too many people these days want to work for something that they want. However, opportunity does not knock on people’s doors like it used to so there are times when we must put in more effort than usual to make things happen.

No matter what happens you must keep your dream alive no matter what it is. There is nothing that can take your hope and spirit away. It all boils down to whether or not you let the flame of your passion burn out. Just remember that part-time job that you are at right now is just a temporary stop on the road before you take off towards your lifelong dream.