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How to Stop Struggling and Start Living

Let’s talk about negative thoughts and beach balls.

What do they have to do with each other?

Let’s talk about it ⤵️

Imagine you’re standing in a swimming pool.

You are using one hand to hold a beach ball underwater.

This beach ball represents your negative thoughts, your unwanted emotions, a traumatizing memory, or something that is painful.

You tell yourself that, as long as you can keep the ball submerged, life above water is peachy… and that may be true.

However, you are limited in what you can do in the pool.

You only have one available arm, and you’re expending a lot of energy and effort trying to holding the beach ball under the water.

After you do this for a while, you start to get tired, your hand slips, and the ball explodes to the surface, smacking you in the face and splashing water in your eyes.

It’s dramatic.

Of course, when this happens, we frantically try to shove the ball back underwater to avoid the pain of getting hit in the face again (or to avoid the embarrassment we feel as a result).

Did anyone see me do that??

And while, yes, this solves the problem momentarily, it also guarantees that you are stuck forever trying to hold the ball underneath the water.

The same thing happens when you try to keep your negative thoughts at bay.

Not only are you expending energy trying to keep the negative thoughts underwater, you are limited in what you’re able to do in life because you simply cannot move forward.

You are stuck holding the ball underwater...

...UNLESS you can find a way to slowly release your hold on the beach ball, let the ball float to the surface of the pool, and allow it to do what it wants.

The ball doesn’t disappear, right? It’s still in the pool.

The difference is that, you’ve acknowledged its presence, understand that it can’t hurt you, that it doesn’t have control over you, and that it’s simply there.

Sometimes it floats right in front of you, and other times it is much further away.

When you accept and allow your negative thoughts, your painful experiences, your traumatic memories to just be there without trying to force them away, you are going to have so much more energy to focus on other things.

You’ll have more freedom to move around the pool aka your life!

You can go where you want to go, do the things you want to do, and be the person you want to be, and while those thoughts are there and floating around in your pool, they don’t control you.

And that is really freeing!

P.S. If you struggle with negative thoughts, I 10/10 recommend The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. The book changed my life (not to be overdramatic or anything 🙃).

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