Don’t Be Afraid Of Your Struggle: Why Joy & Pain Are Needed To Grow

By Aiyana Ma’at

Struggle. Alot of people don’t like that word. Just look at it ——> STRUGGLE. Just to see it in hard print screams hard times, sadness, tears, uncertainty, sorrow, going without—you get the point. Nobody in their right mind wants to struggle. We’d much prefer the safety of dependable predictable circumstances. We’d much rather focus on the light and happy than the dark and dreary. I’m not totally sure why that is. On some level I think that we don’t want to talk about or focus on things that we’re going through or struggling with because we are afraid of looking too closely. We’re afraid of what we might find.

What if we need to change? What if we’re not as strong as we think we are?

We also wrongly believe that solely focusing on the positive in our lives and the things that we have going for ourselves is the best way to go. This simply is not true. Have you ever heard “The sunshine comes after the rain”? How can you truly appreciate real peace, joy, or victory if you’ve never looked anxiety, pain, or defeat squarely in the face—and then come out on the other side? Of course, we want to primarily look at all that we have to be grateful for in life. That’s a given. So, please understand I know that. BUT, that doesn’t mean we don’t look at and examine the places and things that we struggle in.

How can we grow if we’re not honest about where we need to stretch ourselves? How can we go to the next level if we don’t take an assessment of the level we’re on right now.  How can we truly Stop Playing & Start Pushing if we don’t allow ourselves to feel hurt, sadness, and pain AND THEN IN THE PROCESS BE TRANSFORMED BY THAT SAME PAIN??? The answer: We won’t grow if we’re not intentional about looking at and changing our lives where  we need to. Growth is not automatic. Wisdom does not come with age—it comes with intention & experience.

I, myself, am no stranger to struggle.

I’ve struggled with….

– deep feelings of abandonment created by my, now deceased, biological father’s “on again, off again” status in my life growing up

– forgiving that same father so I can be free to become all that God has created me to be

-accepting how powerful I really am

-trusting men including my hubby in the past (because of my own stuff)

-low self esteem and a need to be approved of and okay with people

-comparing myself to others

-controlling the impulse to judge others (which says more about me than it does other folks)

-being a late-a-holic C.P.T. (ya’ll know what I’m talking about)

– fear of pursuing my biggest and brightest dreams that reside deep within my soul

-being selfish in my marriage

And I’m sure I could think of some more stuff If I tried.  BUT GUESS WHAT????

I just painted a little picture for you of some of the places where I’ve struggled (and in some places still do)…..But, if you persist through your struggle and commit to staying the course you can have some sweet sweet joy.

I, myself, am no stranger to joy.

I’ve experienced perspective, life changing, and mind altering joy…..

-the day I realized that no matter how cracked and broken some parts of me are my husband really sees me. He sees all that I truly  am and have yet to be versus viewing me through the lens of my broken places.

-when I finally understood how to truly listen to people and figure out how I can serve them instead of serving my own agenda or needs.

-when I realized that deferring in my marriage and lifting my husband up in my marriage only adds to my growth and maturity and in no way takes away from me.

-when I’ve given to someone seeking nothing in return.

the moment I accepted that there is nothing I can do to make myself “good enough” and that I AM already enough just because I exist!

– when I push(ed) past fear and doubt and really looked at what God has uniquely placed in me to share with the world. When I did/do that there is no more room  for me to compare myself with other folks. Nothing can compare with what I’m called to do…just as nothing can compare with what God has called you (and only you) to do.

-when I learned that the biggest part of learning to trust someone else is learning to TRUST MYSELF FIRST.

-when I released myself from my own judgement of myself which automatically made me more compassionate and less judging of other folk

-when I allow myself to be completely vulnerable despite my fear

What I’m trying to get you to see, if nothing else, from this article is this: A whole lot of the deep satisfaction, mind blowing happiness, and sweet successes we get to experience in life come ONLY as a result of our allowing ourselves to talk about and learn from the hard times and the stuff that sucks. One of the things people say they really appreciate about is the fact that not only are we committed to transforming the image and understanding of marriage and commitment in our community but we’re also not afraid to talk about the painful things that we as a people need to look at—we will never shy away from looking at both sides of the coin when it comes to black men, black women, black children or our relationships. That is the only way to experience true growth, insight, joy, and peace.

So, don’t be afraid of your struggle. It is here to transform and liberate you.

Stop Playing. Start Pushing.

Aiyana Ma’at is the wife of Ayize Ma’at, mom of 4, and co-founder and owner of this website,, as well as Aiyana is a Seeker, Motivator, Risk Taker, Explorer, & Overcomer. She is a self-described PurposePusher and does her best to live her life with self-awareness and intention. Some of her official titles include licensed psycho-therapist, certified marriage educator & relationship coach and speaker. She is clear that a part of the call on her life is to help bring insight and awareness to others so that they can “get out of their own way” and create the lives they want to have.

12 replies
  1. K.O.
    K.O. says:


    Thank you for your honesty…really…thank you. The world doesn't feel so empty when you know that other people struggle with the same types of issues. Maybe one of these days, you can expand on how you got to the places of joy…how did you learn to accept that there is nothing you can do to make yourself “good enough”? How did you release yourself from your own judgement of yourselft? How do you allow yourself to be completely vulnerable despite your fear? How did you get there? What kind of self-improvement homework (lol) can I do to get there?

  2. lanamolinespeaks
    lanamolinespeaks says:

    Thank you. You've confirmed something huge for me. I have to tell you, transparent witness is the most beautiful thing in the world to me. I says that you did it and I can too. In this article, you literally illustrated how to embrace it all. This article came to life for me. Thank you so much sis!!!

  3. FWill80
    FWill80 says:


  4. Tammy Murphy
    Tammy Murphy says:

    i'm close friends with struggle as well, i was abandoned at birth, left at the hospital, she told people
    i died, i was adopted at two months old. i met her when i was 29….called her back in march, now she's saying she's not my mother…so now i have to deal with wondering who my mother is all over again

    • Aiyana
      Aiyana says:

      Wow…Tammy. That's heavy. I want you to think about your story like this…..If you hadn't been abandoned,left at the hospital and experienced all of the pain that you have you would not be able to fulfill your purpose…..your Divine destiny. A great writer by the name of Wayne Dyer once said that he knows that his purpose in life is to spread a message of acceptance, love, and forgiveness. He also had a rough start early on in life, became an alcoholic, etc. BUT he says in order for him to really be able to capture the true essence of what it really means to forgive and love even when others don't seem deserving of it he HAD to go through what he went through so that he could then be challenged to forgive and accept the ones who hurt him most and ultimately live out his purpose which again is to spread a message of acceptance, love, and forgiveness.
      So, when we look at our life as a series of events crafting us in to the vessel God wants us to be it changes your whole perspective on why you've been through what you've been through and why you're really here.
      My recent post Ever Thought About Renewing Your Vows? Here’s How!

  5. Venisha R.
    Venisha R. says:

    Very, very insightful. Thank you for sharing this. You really showed me how through embracing my struggle I can set myself free. Thank you, thank you, thank you Aiyana.

  6. Ilex
    Ilex says:

    Powerful article and wonderful self realization. We all have to take responsibility for our actions and in doing so become better for it. We all come with bag but that baggage should not disturb out future. If we allow that, the past will forever rule over us.

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