Life can challenge us to the core. Unexpected crisis occur. Our fundamental expectations of life and how it should be are challenged. When we are young, we assume the natural fulfillment of our dreams. We think anything is possible. We look out onto the wide-open field and think, “the world is our oyster.” That isn’t to say we can’t follow our ambitions and actualize our goals. However at some point in our lives, we are going to be faced with circumstances that challenge our sense of who we are and what life is. Some people may recognize after a series of failed relationships that the “knight in shining armor” and the perfect relationship simply doesn’t exist. Some people have to walk alone. For others who always wanted children, but later find out they are unable to, face another kind of disillusionment. Others may feel challenged by a death in the family, depression or health impairments that render them immobile or less able to do the things they want to do. Many people, at midlife, question where they are and what they have accomplished. Often reality is mismatched by the picture of where they thought their life would be.

Catastrophic events happen. We lose a partner, become redundant, and can’t afford the mortgage or a child gets sick. We face circumstances that challenge the fabric of our beliefs around what we think we deserve and start to question our spiritual beliefs, the fairness or justice of “God”. We ask ourselves why would life turn out like this when I thought I would have it all? Why isn’t “the all” possible? Why are so many things outside my control? Why do others have what I want? Why can’t my relationships work, my body cooperate and my bank account be overflowing?

Life pushes us to our limits challenging us to look deeper inside ourselves for the answers. Often the mystery of “why” is elusive and we can’t figure it out. We get frustrated and angry. We become twisted by our expectations of what life should be. We assume that life owes us something. We form attachments outside ourselves to fill some internal need. The question then becomes why do I have this need for the perfect relationship or job, vibrant health or a life- problem free?

It’s the assumptions that get us into trouble. We make expectations of the universe to fulfill our picture of the perfect life. We assume this is our birthright and then stamp our feet when it doesn’t happen. But who said this is so? Why do we assume that life is going to fill our cup? And why do we have these attachments anyway? Why are we so conditional on our requirements for happiness? Why do we have to put the power and responsibility outside ourselves to feel ok?

It is important to examine our attitudes about life and what we assume we deserve. We can ask ourselves, “Who taught us to have these expectations for happiness? Was it my family, the education system, media or social conditioning? Where did I learn to put so much pressure on myself? Do I feel I need to follow in my family’s “footsteps” and do what they did to feel successful? Did I read too many magazines of the rich and famous and want to model my life around the Forbes top entrepreneurs? Do I feel I have to keep up with my peers in order to be of a certain status or to look good? Do I need to be“something” or have a certain life style in order to be ok inside myself? Is self-confidence something to be earned? Why am I not ok just being me?

If we look deeper inside ourselves, often there is a hidden place of hunger that desperately needs to be filled. When that sense of emptiness crops up, our instinctive response is to run and push the door closed. We don’t want to feel the pain. We may choose an addiction such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex, excessive work or materialism to cover that emptiness where we don’t feel enough. We don’t want to drop inside and feel that empty space that can’t be filled with external things. But in that quiet place sitting inside the self- reflective mirror, it provides the opportunity for greater self-awareness and growth. We can learn about ourselves and examine what is really important. We can access a deeper connection internally by making space to go within. It’s about being, rather than doing or trying to be something we are not. There is nothing out there that needs justification of self. The self simply is. Nothing in the external world makes that so. We don’t have to do anything to recognize the solidity of self. Our core self goes beyond ego attachment or the need for things to reflect our true self back to us.

Regardless of circumstance, the inner self just is. Nothing external can break that connection. That is our constant. The place we can come back too. Drawing our focus back to the breath, we are home.

There is also the opportunity to look at our reactions to things. When we have a huge response to an experience, often we can glimpse at where we are hurting. It lends the space to look at our wounds, issues and emotional patterns that have not been fully healed. We can choose to go deeper inside ourselves and be with the emotion and allow it to show us what still needs to be uncovered.

Often there are many layers to an issue, especially around a childhood trauma involving abuse. Rarely is it possible to heal a deep-seated painful issue, involving so many difficult emotions, in one go. Often we have to experience several triggers of that painful point in the body to uncover the hurt and work through it. We repeatedly cycle around an emotional issue and re-experience old hurts from our past. We experience these external triggers until the trauma is cleared from the body. These early traumas are often stored in the DNA, cells and organs. Emotional patterns will repeat until the issue is fully cleared on both the physical and psychological levels. By going inside and being with the emotions, it provides the opportunity to move through the discomfort with greater insight and clarity. Facing the more difficult emotions such as anger, sadness, and pain enables us to have greater compassion and understanding of ourselves.

When we learn to feel more comfortable sitting with ourselves, we become more at ease sitting with others. Being with our own pain, we become more understanding of other people’s pain and feel less alone. We can share on a deeper, more authentic level and be more fully who we are. Sitting with our emotions, rather than running from them, provides the opportunity to be more fully present in the moment with what is happening, rather than hiding behind images of pretense. After a period of time sitting with our emotions, we learn that they too cycle and pass. They do not break us, but rather build our inner sense of strength and courage. We don’t have to run and hide from ourselves. We can build that internal connection and know that our true self goes beyond the emotions. They too, are simply the landscape.

If we didn’t have these hard emotions in response to the challenges we face in life, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow and deepen. No matter how hard life gets, we always have ourselves to come back too. In every moment we have the choice to be with ourselves and face our emotions or to get bitter and jaded by the hardship of life. The truth is- life will always throw out obstacles, curve balls that will take us into some dark places. This we have no control over. The best we can do is to roll with the punches and try to make the best of it. We can either let the disappointments get to us and break our faith in the goodness in life. Or we can choose to go deeper and dig that much harder for the beauty in the journey recognizing that each challenge is an opportunity for soul growth and change. As the saying goes, “That which doesn’t break us can only make us stronger”. We are each on a journey. It is our choice how we respond to that journey. We can use our experiences to learn, grow and deepen our inner connection with ourselves or we can choose to become bitter and shut down. The second option feels like a painful choice. At different times, we will choose both. It is our choice. However there is always a new moment to choose again. That is our birthright. As human beings, that is what we deserve.



All articles are copyright to Shari Rhodes and are provided solely for personal use.. These articles may not be reproduced without the permission of the author. Please contact Shari Rhodes if you wish to make commercial use of her writing. Shari Rhodes has been an international Intuitive Reader for the past 30 years. She is currently a citizen of both the United States and New Zealand. Shari’s purpose is to support people to grow and move forward in a positive direction with greater clarity, self-empowerment and self-confidence. She offers readings, workshops and public talks. She is available for sessions in person or over the phone at (027) 6295469 You can email Shari at,, or visit her website at