We typically try to veer away from struggle of any kind. Any sane individual values the comfortable moments of life. The evening at the office during which you cross the last item off your daily list of to-dos, is joyous. As you get into your car to drive on home, something catches your attention: the gas gauge is creeping down to “E.” Ignoring “E,” can open doors to struggle. Those doors could lead to you sitting on the shoulder of the freeway, after running out of gas. You’ll thereby likely choose to stop by the gas station to prevent the chance of running out on the way home. It’ll be another, unneeded struggle potentially avoided.
Struggle however, has its benefits. Apart from those who deliberately seek struggle out to improve themselves, another side of struggle exists too. The aspects of struggle that many overlook are the benefits that mutual struggle brings. Being thrown into a difficult situation with others by our side seems to facilitate the bonding process between us and them.
This article aims to highlight the potential benefits of going through a bout of mutual struggle with someone else. It will use the example of helping your friend move to illustrate the concepts at play.
The subject matter presented below is focused on the capacity for struggle to ramp up our tendency to bond with others, and why that possibly is the case.
In knowing this, you can perhaps discover benefit in helping someone through a bout of struggle, and how that would directly impact your relationship with them. It may also motivate you to not shy away from struggle as a whole, not only in an effort to improve yourself, but to reap the benefits of an improved ability to bond with others.
Formation of a Team – Us Against Them
Perhaps you’ve considered helping someone do something difficult in the past, only to shy away from placing yourself in a position to expend that much effort. Our friends and acquaintances are no strangers to experiencing hardship. Some move places; having to schedule, pack, and ensure that everything goes smoothly. Others only have enough to buy the kitchen counters but not pay for installation.
A series of struggles riddle the life we know; as things seldom turn out the way we expect them to. Seeing how much time and energy hardships demand, it’s easy to view struggle as a hindrance rather than an opportunity of sorts.
What struggle does well however, is possess a tendency to form teams out of those who mutually experience its difficult tribulations. If you help your best friend move for instance, both your efforts will be focused on solving just one puzzle. Your attention will be merged, and directed at the move from A to B. You’ll work together to form a plan, execute on it, and adjust when things don’t go according to it. You’ll find yourself making desperate call outs for them to raise their end of the couch a little bit, and will present ideas to maybe twist the couch the other way prior to squeezing it through a certain door.
For just a moment of your existence, both your minds will work together to form one. As uncomfortable of a state as struggle is, two minds going through it will have no shortage of an incentive to work together. You’ll notice how struggle breeds innovative ideas, even if it means just switching your grip on a box that you help carry. Struggle will entice you, and the friend you help, to team up against those who block you both from achieving the goals you’ve set. You’ll find yourself pleading with superintendents to sign out the building’s elevator together, and will fight for a closer parking space in relation to the building’s back door. Both those acts will be a mutual desire to do less work, and carry things for a shorter distance. Your mutual goal will breed similar thoughts and actions whilst you’ll realize just how much easier things are when tackled as a team.
Uniqueness of Experience – They Just Don’t Know
As you first move the couch, then the love-seat, and then the chair, you’ll begin looking forward to your mutual struggle ending. The boxes you’ve been tasked to move will be getting smaller, and the light at the end of the tunnel will start to brighten. The elevator was yours, and it did its job. You both were able to back the truck right up to the back door, one was driving, the other waving on whilst measuring the distance left to roll. Now what’s left are the accessories. You place the lamp between your arm and torso, and grab two bags of clothes. As you come back down to finish up, the box of gadgets is the only thing that’s left to bring upstairs.
You come up to find your buddy near asleep on the couch you both brought up. You drop the box of gadgets on the table, and crash onto the couch next to him. Nothing’s plugged in, and nothing yet works. You both sit in silence and breath out; with your palms up, arms spread to your sides. The confessions now come out.
“Damn, that was tough.”
“I never thought we’d finish everything today.”
“Finish? I never thought I’d have feeling in my left arm again. Why’d you get such a heavy couch?”
After a breather that’s far too short, you both make your way down to return the rental truck. At this point, nothing seems to matter. Though tired, you both walk with a confidence that only comes with overcoming hardship. You’ve both been through something back there, and each one respects the other. You’re both aware that this victory is mutual, fifty-fifty. Those around you just won’t know how difficult the task you just completed was. For a certain amount of time, you’d feel as if no one else’s hardship comes remotely close.
You both drive back to the truck rental store, hand over the keys, and say your goodbyes. From there on in, you have something to reference and measure your relationship with your friend by. They’ll view you as a person who was there during a difficult time in their existence, and you’ll view them as someone you volunteered to struggle for. Both of your interpretations of one another will have improved, as not many can vouch for struggling with either one of you like you both did. You’ll place yourselves in exclusive company in one another’s minds, and will ride the euphoria of overcoming struggle…until the next one rears its ugly head.