Adversity is a facet of life.
It is universal and impartial.
Everyone has experienced a time of difficulty, a time of distress, a time of misery, a time of suffering, and a time of loss.
It is safe to say that life is suffering.
What would happen if you viewed any adversity, setback, heartache, or loss with the attitude that there is a equivalent seed of benefit from it?
With this understanding, I can see that life is not always about happiness. What brings me happiness today will turn into tomorrow’s sorrow. Today’s sorrow will turn into tomorrow’s joy.
It’s hard to describe and share struggling with others. Everyone is a prisoner of their own experiences. There is no escaping adversity, but there is a useful way to respond to it.
My life has continually been filled with adversity and along the way, I have come to a better understanding why it is there and how I can use it to benefit myself and others.
It requires introspection and time.
Being a slave to alcohol, was the primary method I used to handle adversity. I was always afraid to tackle my challenges squarely and soberly. I wanted to ignore the feelings of pain. I postponed them and procrastinated any effort to meet them immediately.
What happened by not taking action in spite of adversity caused me to live in fear. This emotion blocked my feelings. It stifled forward movement.
I found in recovery and sobriety, that I am more aware of the language I use internally and externally to describe adversity.
Words have power backed by tremendous energy. They can call us to action or into retreat. Feeling victimized is so defeating because it releases any personal responsibility about changing the situation.
Today I use words like challenges, or obstacles, or setbacks, or phase.
We often cannot control our circumstances yet we can control or influence our attitude towards them by our language. Language affects our behavior.
Being aware of this does not mean that adversity will not come your way; but as stated earlier, it is how you respond that matters. To be able to “Respond” with “Ability” is the heart of personal responsibility.
A new found freedom is experienced when I don’t react by reflex. When I can pause when agitated, and in that “gap” of thought, choose a better word, and come to a new understanding; my challenges seem manageable.
This requires time and patience with myself. Also, the stories we are told shape us; they shape our world. We do what stories tell us to do. We’re wired this way intentionally, because adversity is a reflection of what most needs to be changed in us for us to grow.
The most difficult times are to bless us. All adversity is not bad or good. It’s your perspective or attitude towards it.
Don’t get bitter; understand what adversity is all about. It is there to make us grow.
It sometimes feels prolonged with no end in sight. For example, sickness, loss of job, or divorce can be painful, hurtful, and be intense. Our decisions sometimes are the cause.
When I’m experiencing suffering the last thought on my mind is that I caused this circumstance.
When I can pause and separate from the situation, there is one new skill I have developed that is powerful to bring my difficulties and my mind back to order. This is prayer.
Prayer is asking or imagining a better way to interpret adversity. I surrender my ego from, “figuring it out,’ to quietly listen for guidance. It protects me into getting consciously and emotionally connected with the ultimate source.
Do not ask for things, ask for guidance.
Rigorous trial and error tests our faith and trust in ourselves. Ultimately, adversity is there to help us. We only grow through resistance. This is how we learn to respond.
You are never alone; because if you know there is a higher presence with you at all times, then you are never alone.
What if you viewed adversity as a precious gift that guides you into new thinking?
In college, my alcoholism was at a stage of binge drinking and blackouts. I had missed classes and my grades dropped off a cliff. My scholarship was in perilI and I received the letter from the university that I would have to go in front of a committee to discuss whether my suspension would turn to expulsion.
At 20 years old, that was a lot of adversity to handle alone. I remember vividly, I suddenly turned within and asked a power greater than me to help.
I was guided to a counselor who by chance served on the committee and said he could help. He did. Our meeting resulted in a pardon and propelled me to graduate college.
Belief, trust, faith, action, patience, surrender are all needed in adversity. Most often, you will survive to fight another day.
Experience and feel the pain. Then take action. This is the process of healing.
The best is always yet to come!