“The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration.” – Confucius
Do you ever think of your problems as unending? Do you feel that at every step of life, your adversities are pulling you backwards? If so, you are not alone! A wise man once said that the pains and hurting we go through are inevitable but misery is optional. It is up to you to decide the amount of affliction your pain will impose on you and people around you. Here are some of my thoughts that I would like to share, which might help you turn hardship into an optimistic experience.
Adversity is an indication, Not a Cause
If you are encountering adversities constantly, it is a sign of some deeper problem. You recently lost your job and are finding it devastating. But have you sat back and reflected over what exactly made you lose it? How did you become dispensable? Did you choose the right career in the first place? Likewise, if your loved one or you are sick, try to find out why the illness happened. Are you leading an unhealthy lifestyle? Is your environment the cause? Or is it just your attitude? Just like physical pain is a sign of some trouble, your hardship is a sign of some other deeper problem. Even though your foremost priority is to take care of the problem at hand, you must make mental notes of root cause of the adversity you are facing. Until you deal with the root of your problem, you will continue facing similar situations.
Adversity Teaches You Valuable Lessons
We all are leading fast paced lives. We hardly pause and stop to appreciate the people around us. Adversity often comes as an awakening of the treasures that we overlook in our day-to-day life. These treasures, more important than money and other material possessions we own, include our family, friends and our health. Unexpected financial losses educate us that money should never be the base of life’s happiness. An illness makes us realize the importance of good health and disciplined living and makes us humble. An unexpected loss in family makes us value birth cycle, death and life. These things might seem superficial, but it is important to learn from challenges if you do not want to let your problems take over your life.
Adversity as your Guide
Many times, adversities knock at your door to give hints that it is time to change your path. For example, when someone you love leaves you, it is useless blaming yourself (or that person) and sulking. You should instead take it as an indication that you need to seek a fresh and more enlightened bond that is constructive and more meaningful. You can also devote your time in other pursuits of life for the time being.
Confucius said, “I was complaining that I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet”. This saying is so meaningful and true. Instead of getting bogged down because of your own problems, you should pay attention to the people who happily live on, and even do well, despite all odds. When you open eyes and glance at the bigger world, you will be glad to know how you have been treated so well in your life.
We all face adversities that knock us down at times. Here are some of the ways I have found to step back on my feet, whether it relates to life’s circumstances, or my own shortcomings.
1. Rising Again – One of my favourite proverbs is the one that says, “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” I would keep on reflecting on this verse several times when I was going through a tough time. I would tell myself to get back up and would constantly think about how my character is not determined by the fall, but by whether I rise again or not.
2. Remembering who you really are – It is crucial to never lose vision of who you really are.
3. Spending time with people who matter – You should spend time with your loved ones who care about you and encourage you. You should try not to let things bothering you get bottled up inside you, but rather face them and deal with them. Sharing problems with friends and family gives you motivation and strength. Your life’s journey is not supposed to be lived in loneliness.
4. Find out what makes you who you are – In your life time, you get to a point where you realize who you are, independent of your performance in work, and other responsibilities. In today’s culture, which is mainly performance-oriented, I would suggest that you see yourself autonomous from your performances. Most probably you will end up performing better from this perception, anyway. Try to see yourself in perfect light.
5. Don’t go overly pensive, but keep going on – It’s easy to become excessively introspective. Some people struggle with this very thing at many times, however one must focus on what they want to be, and not on the shortcomings, and learn to walk as if they are already there!