• Search

    Search The Teal Swan Article Library

  • Endurism


    How many of you have heard the saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Or “No pain, no gain?” Or how about “It is what it is?” These sayings all have one thing in common. They help you to release resistance to a situation where you feel helpless to get out of a painful situation. 
     

    Releasing resistance is a good thing. So where is the harm in these sayings? The harm is that they can serve as justifications for not actively making changes so as to move beyond a painful situation. They can serve to keep you stuck in pain.

    We know the danger of escapism. We know the pain of being around a fair weather friend. We feel the frustration of spiritual bypassing. Many of us have a fairly good grasp at this point about the fact that running away from pain and from things that scare us is not the way to create a fulfilling life. But we need to be aware that there is danger at the other side of the scale as well. There is danger in becoming attached to pain, unwilling to leave it. I have decided to name this danger “Endurism”. Endurism is equally as unhealthy as escapism. It is a coping strategy. It is a coping strategy for dealing with the perception that we are helpless to get our needs met. But it is a coping strategy that ensures you will spend you life coping with a painful life instead of creating life you enjoy.

    We live in a world full of super mixed messages. Our current society is all about avoiding pain and being happy happy happy. Just look at the way we deal with negative emotions in ourselves and others. Just take a look at our consumer products and you will see this. And yet, on the other hand, we live in a world that glorifies struggle and pain and suffering. All the medals and trophies go to the people who struggle and self sacrifice and who take pain upon themselves in various ways. We believe there is serious virtue in suffering.

    The various religious and spiritual communities around the world take this to a whole other dimension by virtue of their addiction to goodness and rightness. We stay in situations and perpetuate situations that are causing us pain so we can feel like we are good and doing what’s right. It’s a dull and ongoing form of martyrdom. There is an element of endurism in every codependent relationship.

    And within the law of attraction communities, we are often so aware that escapism doesn’t work that we swing the pendulum to the complete opposite side of the scale. We know it doesn’t work to try to take actions to make change that are not first backed by changes in thought. But we often get stuck there. We forget that in the physical dimension action is actually part of the change process. It may be the second step, but it is a step we must eventually take. We tell ourselves there’s nothing we can actually do about a situation because we are a match to it. So we will just learn how to allow it and trust that the universe will eventually take it away and take that action step for us. In reality, part of the path of improving your vibration will involve literally taking actions that are in alignment with improvement. Sometimes taking the change action is in fact the only way to increase your frequency further.

    In endurism, we are in fact escaping something. That something is the fear of making a change and the responsibility required to actually make that change. Our ego fears that by making the change that will enable us to progress and reach our joy, we will become a bad person and therefore lose connection with the people and things we want to be connected to. For more about this concept, watch my video on YouTube titled: The Catch Up Effect, the real reason we fear change.

    Let’s peel back the layers and look at yet another angle of this issue. When we are young, what we want is for someone to love us unconditionally. We want them to be connected with us no matter whether we are feeling negative emotion or positive emotion. But what actually happens? People don’t unconditionally love us and they demonstrate that their connection to us is contingent upon us feeling good. To understand more about this, watch my video called “The Emotional Wakeup Call”. Anyway, I have very little patience for the way that people shame this wound and subsequent desire with sayings like “misery likes company”. Misery likes company because it needs company. Take a look at how this is true of your own suffering.

    When we have this wound, we develop the idea that if someone loves us, they will endure any amount of pain to be with us. Essentially, we all desperately want someone to say “I’d rather be in pain and with you than happy without you”. In fact, over the course of our relationship, we begin to incrementally cause them pain and put them in painful situations with us. We are doing this subconsciously but deliberately to try to create the experience of someone loving us so much that they will endure anything to be with us. We want the opposite of a fair weather partner. We want something secure and reliable. We expect them to endure pain for our sake and for the sake of our connection. We have been taught that this is love. In other words, edurism is undeniably linked to love for many of us. But it is at this point that our partner says, “Wait a minute, no… If you loved me, you wouldn’t want me to be in pain or expect me to be in pain or cause me pain or put me in situations that cause me pain. You’d take the pain away or rescue me from it”. And low and behold, a relationship stand off begins.

    And now let’s peel back the layers even further. When we were young, we were absolutely powerless to our parents and caregivers. This means, if we were in pain or had a need or desire, we were dependent on them to remedy the pain or meet the need. And what do we find? All too often, our parents gave us the message “sorry kid, there is nothing I can do about it, you’re just gonna have to put up with it.” We were not enabled to brainstorm ways to actually improve the situation or meet our needs or reach our desires or find alternatives to doing what we don’t want to do. We learn because of the situation we grow up with that we just have to put up with feeling unsafe or put up with having no money or put up with not being able to have the things we want or put up with being abused or put up with doing things we don’t want to do.

    This is one of the most detrimental mistakes that parents make. Parents feel trapped in their life and so what do they do? They teach their kids that they are trapped too. This is the stage for endurism. And we wonder why so many people today walk around in adulthood saying “I hate my job, but I have to go to work anyway” or “I hate my marriage but I’m just gonna have to put up with it until the kids go to college.”

    This is my advice to parents out there reading this. You want to maintain your own healthy boundaries while helping your kids to grow up unlimited by your boundaries. You want them to grow up with an attitude of freedom and with an attitude of “I can”. Not with an attitude of I’m limited, I can’t or I’m trapped. You would rather raise an adult who actively makes positive change in their life than raise one who is really, really good at enduring pain and hanging in there. So I’m asking you to lead by example. Quit enduring in your own life and if there are ways you’re demonstrating “you have to just put up with it” to your kids, remember that this is the lesson you are giving them for their whole life about their pain, not just this specific situation. I suggest seriously involving them in the process of brainstorming. Make them think their way out of painful situations and take actions to actualize their desires. Change the conversation in your family from “We can’t” to there’s always a way so, “How can we”? All that happens when we feed kids the message that they have to endure something and can’t make any change to remedy the situation is we force the kid to develop an attachment to enduring. They have to become ok with enduring. They have to find spiritual and non-spiritual ideologies that support the idea of enduring. They will grow up to force their partners and kids to endure. They will become stuck and trapped and subconsciously think that to stay stuck and trapped is virtuous. You’re gonna raise a kid that is great at coping as an adult. You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to raise a coper. So teach them freedom instead.

    Now beware, when you look at the “endurism” you are engaged in relative to your life, you are going to become very defensive. You are going to find all kinds of reasons why it is good or right to perpetuate your painful situation. But reasonability is the enemy of progress. You have plenty of incredibly valid reasons to justify your endurism. No one is trying to convince you that your reasons are not valid. I’m just trying to convince you that your valid reasons aren’t good enough to justify living a miserable life.

    Endurism is limiting. It is nothing more than the age old story of the elephants who are tied to a tree trunk they cannot move when they are little, only to grow to a size where they could easily move the tree trunk and not even realize it. So they stay tied to it unnecessarily. It is a taught limitation that turns into a self-imposed limitation. And sooner or later, an endurer is going to break. Endurism is to blame for most all chronic illness. It is to blame for terminal illness most especially. If we endure, the universe will eventually put us in a change or die scenario so we will get back on board with expansion. This is what terminal illness is all about… make changes for the better in your life or die. This is what life crisis is really about too. If you endure something despite desiring something else, there will eventually be destruction to the thing you are enduring. As in everything will literally fall apart so you no longer have anything to lose by following your joy.

    Here’s an analogy. You are on a boat in the ocean. You don’t like that boat. So you desire a different boat. So it comes. And you still wont get off your old boat. You have lots of reasons for not getting off your old boat. So the universe says… “hm… I’m gonna have to make it easier for them to get off their old boat and onto the new one, so I’m gonna poking holes in the old boat”. But when the boat starts to spring leaks, instead of jumping on the new boat, you run around trying to patch up the holes on your old boat. Eventually, the only way to get you onto the new boat is for the universe to quite literally sink your boat so you end up in the water with the choice to drown or get on the new boat. This is why despite the fact that “Follow Your Joy” sounds like a precious and trite spiritual nugget, it is actually a super serious commandment not to be messed with. Anyone who has denied their own expansion will tell you that.

    So how do you end endurism? Become acutely aware of the situations in your life you think you have to endure. Get really aware about the excuses you make so as to justify enduring those situations. Look for ways you actually DO have a choice in the situations you’re stuck in. Look at things you could actually do to make a change. Take your power back. Involve other people in the process too. Sometimes the elephant needs to be told by someone, “Hey… you’re three thousand pounds… you can move the damn tree trunk now”. Other people, who are on the outside of our jail cell, tend to be way better at seeing the way we can get out of the jail cell than we are from the inside.

    Stop using spiritual ideologies and spiritual truths that are designed to help people release resistance to pain as an excuse to stay in the pain you’re in. Stop telling yourself or the people in your life that there’s nothing to be done and so how it is, is just how it’s going to be. Alternatively, you could keep doing that and watch your boat sink and their boat sink too ;)

    Did it ever occur to you that you did not come to this life to cope with life. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps you came here to positively change life? And if it’s not you, then who is it going to be? Stop keeping your power locked away. Every great invention or revolution or personal change is the result of someone refusing to keep coping with life the way it is and deciding to get outside the box to go in the direction of what they would prefer. Every one of us in the world benefits from this kind of person.

    The way out of endurism is very simple. It is to follow your joy. Prioritize things in your life and live your life completely according to your values. And anytime you run into a perceived limitation, start looking for the loopholes and levers that will get you to freedom instead. And when you are dealing with other people, perpetuate their freedom instead of imprisonment. Help them find the loopholes and levers that will get them to freedom. See that love is not about enduring pain. Encourage them to live their life according to their values. Enable them to follow their joy.