Welcome to the Life Lnxx podcast, where we share how the past influences the current day so you can choose a future based on a true identity because we are not blending in.
I’m your host, Consuelo Crosby, and also the creator of this content. If you want to chat more about what we talk about on this show please reach out to me on whatever platform you enjoy on social media. We’re available @lifelnxx or on our website at TheLnxx.com, that’s L N Double X. I’d love to engage with you more in these topics and hear more of what you have to say about them.
Coffee Around The World
In this episode, I am bringing up the idea of struggle, but not as something to avoid. Instead, struggle is something to embrace. We are going to talk about how struggle has been viewed in the past compared to current day and why it is a sign of being true to yourself.
We all know how important that is especially when we’re making these life decisions. Are you all feeling like, “eh, I’ll pass on being me if it’s all about the struggle”? The struggle is real! Right?
Before we get into more struggle, you know I can’t begin to face the day without my latte. If you don’t know that, then listen to the episodes in January or further back with the original intro that gave a more robust description of me. Coffee is really big in a lot of cultures around the world. Even though I love my lattes, I was raised on cafe con leché, a version of coffee that my mother carried on from her childhood in Peru, which was rich in coffee and super sugary. I kind of drop that aspect in my coffee these days.
I’m bringing this up today because I want to bring coffee in as our common core on this show. Something we can give the tap to. So, whether it’s your favorite coffee vendor or coffee style or especially, favorite place of origin, our love of coffee really emphasizes another source of our diversity that we have in common.
Here in the Bay Area, I’m exploring our local coffee stores owned by women and especially, women of color, and sharing it on our website and our social media. And I would love to have any suggestions or recommendations from all of you out there, in both our local and global audience. They can send coffee all over the world now, so I want to see it, ladies.
Plus, share your fave coffee scenes by tagging Life Lnxx on Instagram and Facebook or give a shoutout on Twitter.
Cheers to all of you that thrive without coffee. Don’t know how you do it! That would be an unsustainable struggle for me. But, if you have a favorite drink, throw it in there. That’s what diversity is all about.
Struggle as a Sign Your On Your Way
There is no doubt about the burden placed on young professionals today and that alone creates a struggle to manage the workload. Then there’s life in general or with children added into the mix and life may seem like just one constant struggle, which is so much different than it had been in the past.
Now, struggle can be viewed differently than just the amount of work effort needed on any given day so there’s hope. Struggle can also be viewed as the sheer determination to live life true to your identity, to who you were born to be, and the lifestyle that stems from it. Depending on how you view yourself within society, the struggle may be greater for some people than for others.
But that struggle is evidence of the insistence not to blend in, not to just take part in what’s given, not to make life easier by following the norms. It is a sign of strength to hold true to yourself even when a workplace, or society or group of friends may not support this. Depending on what’s at stake, the struggle can be a few years or a lifetime.
So, just how do we refresh our mindset to embrace struggle as a strength, as a sign that we are living true to ourselves, rather than a threat? How do we accept struggle as part of the process rather than something to avoid because avoiding struggle may put you on a path that does not sustain who you really are. What happens after that? Struggle becomes an unsustainable threat rather than a signal you are on the right path.
Different types of struggle
First off, there are so many areas in life where we struggle. It’s part of the human process to grow into the person we were born to be. We do it from when we are born, struggling to walk, and to talk. And it goes through our childhood, into adolescence and young adulthood. It’s constant for our lifetime. We are struggling to move forward, struggling to know who we are becoming because, like we said in Episode 29, if you’re constantly growing into yourself, you are always struggling to come to terms with who that is.
But, struggle isn’t always good for us and that’s why it’s so important to understand ourselves, value our true identity, so we feel compelled to be guided by it in our decision making. Struggle can be seen as a novice symptom, (How many times have you felt that?), a result coming from feeling that we aren’t good at something.
We struggle in learning a new language or an instrument when it’s not native to us. We struggle in making friends and long lasting relationships as adults. And as we continue to age, we should be open to struggling with anything that is unknown for us because there’s still a lot of life to live. Well, that’s a natural experience. That’s not a sign of inadequacy.
Oh, I heard the exhale. That’s good. That’s good. Yes! Struggling in learning constantly about ourselves and how we fit into this world is getting us closer to where we want to be. Getting us closer to accepting who we are and our place and where we find our happiness.
Now, some struggles may take a lifetime to overcome, especially the acceptance of truth. It’s so much easier to avoid truth, and therefore, avoid the struggle. For instance, how many times have you set your mind to join in on something that didn’t quite sit well with you but you wanted to go with the flow, right? You wanted to be part of something bigger.
Well, that’s a great first step to getting out of your comfort zone. Still, somewhere along the way you start feeling that it isn’t right and maybe start blaming yourself for not wanting to be part of it.
I hear you. It’s a constant mantra for me, too. The concept of blending in, of doing what others are expecting of you in order to feel relevant, or successful, is easier to accept, even if we are compromising yourself. How long did it take you to stop adapting yourself to that expectation and just say, No! It could have been diet culture, appearance, lifestyle, career choice, all of it! Woof!
Facing this struggle to accept truth is the first step towards living your true self and the happiness that comes with it. The concept that you are brilliantly different from the masses becomes your comfort zone rather than the threat.
Where did today’s struggle come from?
So, struggle can be a good thing, something that brings us closer to our true identity even though the process can make us want to quit and just compromise. It can get too big sometimes. But maybe it’s just getting too big in the moment. Remember, there’s a long life to live.
As an example, let’s look into the past to understand what may be affecting your current struggle. Because knowing what happened in the past or what worked in the past may help you now. It may be your Life Link that isn’t present in your current day, but exactly what you need to feel supported in this struggle.
Here in the U.S., I really feel that the idea of struggle ended in 1980. Now I say “idea”, not actuality. I know we are plenty struggling today. But, until then, the concept of struggle was more universal. People were more in the same situations so there was community in struggle. And that’s really important because when we are not alone in our struggle or struggle is common, then empathy exists because we are all in it together. We know what struggle feels like across many of life’s platforms, not just work load.
Up until 1980, there was less disparity and that’s why there was more commonality. Again, I emphasize “less” rather than “no” disparity. In the workplace, the difference between executive pay, the top honcho, you know, top guy, and the majority of workers’ pay was about 15 times. Now, that’s still a lot, but it’s not unfathomable to move from the everyday worker to the top.
So, if an average worker’s pay was say $20,000 back then, then the top executive would be making $300K, which was a lot of money back then. But, that’s tops! No stock options, no stock payouts.
Do you know what it is now? Instead of 15 times higher, CEO’s make almost 300 times higher pay. 300 times. So, where CEO compensation has risen 1000%, since 1975, the typical workers pay has only risen 12%. 12 %. I’m not even sure that keeps up with inflation.
Avoiding Struggle Isn’t Evolution
And this explains so much of what is happening today. But we really need the reference to 1975 to understand why. It wasn’t always like this and we were fine. Whatever’s happening today as far as, quote unquote, bad things, was happening in 1975. Exactly the same. And yet there was less disparity.
Are you brave enough to even read more about this?
We have an article on our website from the Economic Policy Institute that will show you these numbers. I have a bottle of wine when you’re reading it because it’s just going to drive you nuts, but it’s truth. ((https://www.epi.org/publication/ceo-compensation-2018/))
And yet, what is our answer to this disparity? What are we compelled to do to offset this disparity? Make more money ourselves. But as we focus our time towards making more money, then we have less time for children and family and friends and fun, empathy, compassion, all of those go out the window as we devote more time to making more money, which in the past has only created more disparity.
So, rising out of financial struggle is not necessarily an evolutionary progress if, and I emphasize if, it causes another person to struggle. Instead, rising out of financial struggle can be done in a sustainable way so that the community around you also makes gains. If your intent is to become financially secure in order to create greater wealth within your community or culture, then you are following your soul, your true identity because empathy and compassion stem from there.
Current Wealth Models Based on Empathy
A fabulous model of this, and today literally a model for her own clothing line, is Serena Williams – although can’t we just call her Serena?- like who else would this be? – You have hopefully viewed the movie, ‘King Richard’, that was a big screen movie, and her HBO documentary series, ‘Serena’, to understand just how much struggle she has gone through in her life. And not only in literally shattering the tennis world bias but also the bias in childbirth, which almost took her from this world.
Yet, through it all, Serena has always stood true to who she is and learned to fight for her own well being. See that’s the difference right there. In one regard, where you struggle to fight for who you are versus struggling to survive what other people expect from you.
Beyond herself, the beauty of her story is that she didn’t struggle for her own financial security or her own well being. She included the ideal of compassion in her struggle. So instead of building a penis shaped rocket out of her wealth, Serena started a VC fund recently called Serena Ventures with $111 Million to invest in people who have a diverse point of view, a disruptor of fund.
Hence, the community gained by her gaining. By her taking on the struggle, she lessens other people’s struggle. By her making the gains, she helps other people gain. That is struggle for staying closer to who you are and what you stand for.
How Do You Know When Struggle Is Helping?
So how do you know when the struggle is moving you closer to who you are? That is the question. That is definitely a tricky question. Especially when you may have experienced times in the past when you realize the struggle didn’t get you to where you wanted to be.
Ugh, that’s so soul crushing. When we think we are on the right path. When we feel that this is the right thing to do. And yet, we may not feel good about it.
This is really important to understand. In our early days we find a lot of experiences that test ourselves, test our boundaries or our convictions. We value the lessons learned from them, even if the results aren’t what we had in mind. Keep in mind though, that the results may change as you get older and appreciate what you are truly experiencing.
That’s where you endure the struggle. And each time you are going through these experiences, going through the struggle, you need to check back in with yourself. Is this truly who I am? Is this truly what makes me feel good? And honestly, it may not. It may not feel good at all and you get angry, you get frustrated.
But what my husband told me, when I was taking care of my father, “If it’s not making you happy, then don’t do it. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by doing something that you can’t do in joy.”
But, if the idea of not doing it makes you feel worse, then maybe you just needed an attitude adjustment. You are on the right path. The struggle is real. It’s who you are. And that’s how you embrace the struggle, by realizing that by not doing it, you would feel even more out of sorts.
So, why do you keep trying? Because each time gives you opportunity to reassess what you want in life. And that concept may cause you to struggle for some time. It may just be easier to compromise and settle. You’ll feel like you’ve completed something, that you’ve given it your best. And, you may have! That’s what we are getting to next, right?
And the struggle is over. Or, is it? Either, you continue to grow into your true self and realize that “yes, this struggle is part of who I am, and ultimately, that will bring me joy”. Or, you realize that, “hmmm, no, this is as far as this struggle goes and I am good with that. I’m happy in stopping and I can just tie the knot. This is done”. No more second guessing yourself. No regrets. And just move on.
Empathy is Found in Community
Like I mentioned at the beginning, life before 1980 had less disparity among families and thus, there was more compassion. We didn’t feel competing against each other for things. It was simple.
Now, it wasn’t idyllic by any standards. We were in a situation like today. We didn’t have gas. There was a cold war going on. There was a war that our young men were involved in Vietnam. It wasn’t pretty but we were all in it together. We found comfort in commonality and community.
Today, the burden of work and financial gain drawing most of our energy and time, leaving little time for community and gathering.
So, how do we face struggle in today’s world without feeling like we are alone in it? Especially in situations where you are isolated from your peers. You join into communities and efforts that speak to your soul, even if these areas of life may add to your existing struggle. May add to your financial, or time, or distance struggle.
Because there is more to life than work and play and so there is more to you, as well. You are a beautiful, complex human that is fulfilled from many vessels, many facets in life. Leaving any of those vessels empty, or draining, will also leave you feeling empty or drained. Investing time in those areas, even if you feel like you don’t have more time and energy to give, will bring balance to your life.
Even more so, they may bring you closer to understanding who you are and what keeps you feeling secure about struggle. For instance, my mother shared her deep Catholic faith with us growing up. Given that she was the matriarch and I was the only girl, I resonated with her a lot on this. I watched her carry the burden of the family, the business and illnesses without support by others. Instead, she turned to her faith to feel calm in her struggles, regardless of their severity.
Finding What Works For You In Struggle
I really admired her in this because I would see others so anxious or volatile in similar circumstances while my mother remained calm. Faith is my anchor, as well, when it comes to struggle. It definitely helps me stay true to myself by fueling my soul to make decisions, rather than my brain. If I let my brain do the thinking in these situations, it would freak out! But, with faith, my soul calmly knows what to do.
I spoke to this in Episode 23, in describing faith beyond religion. Finding faith is a way to give over your struggles to something larger than yourself. You can live through struggle calmly if you aren’t carrying the burden of struggle personally.
In any of the communities or activities you join, to feel part of something bigger, the important aspect is that it should encourage you to face struggle, rather than avoid it. So, if you are joining something to distract you away from struggle, that’s different. That’s pure joy and fun and yes, we need our revelry. But, there’s also activities and communities that encourage you to face that struggle and, with enough involvement, you eventually learn to become calm when facing them.
They will remain challenging, even scary, but there is a shift in your mindset. Struggle becomes part of the process of reaching your goal, or a solution, rather than a consequence. After the struggle has passed, you will have a deeper understanding of yourself, a deeper respect for yourself. And, you can carry that forward outwardly in your true identity.
It’s your true self that we need and want in this world because you are here for a purpose like no other. We do have our commonalities that bring us together but it’s our diversity that makes us bigger than what we have in common.
Show Us Your Coffee Moments!
We would love to see how you are facing your struggles in confidence with the communities and activities you love. So, tag us on Instagram or Twitter @LifeLnxx. L-I-F-E L-N-X-X. Take a look on our website at TheLnxx.com for each episode’s transcripts and the articles linked to what you’ve heard here today.
Remember to tag Life Lnxx of your favorite cafecito moments and your recommendations for coffee experiences around the world. I will be in Spain next week so there’s bound to be some great coffee moments on our social media along with posts of that beautiful country. Talk about soul filling.
Big shout out to our global audience. So grateful you’re here with us every week and supporting each other to keep our human touch. Your presence definitely makes the world feel closer and I’m so grateful for you. I’d love to share a cafe with anyone around the world, so please tag us or message us on social media @LifeLnxx.
Step into your truth, ladies. Ciao!