Guest Post: Finding Strength in the Struggle

I'm so lucky to be sharing a guest post from the amazing, badass, and beautiful Divya Venkatachari, my South Asian fitness soul sister. We saw each other a few weeks ago when I was down in SoCal before OB/Gyn, and we were able to talk life, love, goals, and fitness (as well as try an awesome boxing class together). Below, she shares her inspiring perspective on how fitness helps her work through all the challenges of life. 

Hi everyone! You might be wondering who this new chick is with a last name as long as Arhana’s (13 letters in both, just for the record). My name is Divya, and I met Arhana a little over a year ago at a friend's bachelerotte weekend. We very quickly bonded over our shared passion for fitness, and our first date consisted of a SoulCycle ride and juice afterward (I’m not sure it gets more stereotypical LA than that!). But what I think really brought us together was the recognition that throughout the challenges that we’ve each faced in our lives, working out was an undeniably large component of what helped us get through. Fitness enabled both of us to find inner and outer strength in our lives.

“Be grateful for the struggle, because it makes way for your strength”
– Angela Davis, Senior Instructor at SoulCycle and former member of the USA Track and Field Team

Society teaches us that we should just push through pain. Pain is the enemy, but if we put in enough effort and fight through, we’ll emerge victorious on the other side. Have you ever been in a situation, however, when you’re working so hard, yet the struggle doesn’t appear to subside? You pick yourself up after setbacks, convincing yourself that you’re just fighting through and that success is near. Yet, your best efforts are only met with wave after wave of defeat, knocking you down before you can even stand up again.

That’s how I’ve been feeling. I’m a recent MBA grad, and for the past several months I’ve been working to take the next step in my career. Countless applications and interviews resulting in subtle and not-so-subtle rejection have led me nowhere. Months after graduation, I’m at square 0, and now my bucket of energy is empty. This job search struggle really sucks (insert a few expletives here).

It wasn’t until I heard Angela speak those words in class a few weeks ago that it occurred to me that I could shift my perspective. Perhaps I could be grateful for my current struggle. What if this process is teaching me resilience? What if I use this opportunity to build my confidence despite the rejection or to bring a good attitude to my day even when I wake up filled with anxiety? Maybe I simply accept that where I am now is preparing me for something to come, and I don’t try to force or push or rush anything.

So tomorrow morning when I step out for my 5 AM run, I’ll be grateful instead of fighting against the cold. When my hip flexors begin to tense and my feet feel like they’re blistering, I’ll be grateful. This is making way for my strength. And if I’m strong enough to have gotten this far, I’m strong enough to keep going. 


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