How Do You Handle Adversity?

Published on: January 26, 2011

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Sometimes It can Be Too Much

“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.”– Lou Holtz

You’ve heard the saying: “It was meant to be.” But what does it really mean? Is it implying the role of destiny, fate or dharma? (our place within the universe). We all face our own issues such as self-image, self-respect, self-esteem, depression, the list goes on. How can you make sense of your struggles and still find meaning and purpose? Where do you fit into the whole system called the universe? It’s a question I often ask during moments of despair. We’ve all experienced the highs and lows of living, at some point. There may have been times when everything seems to move in the right direction. You feel as though nothing can go wrong. Yet there are times you wish lady luck would give you a break. It’s as though things can’t seem to get any worse. You’re stuck in an endless vortex unable to navigate your way out. You repeat the same mistakes. The same experiences continually show up and you’re loathed to draw the lesson from the experience as you surrender to the universe: “I give up, what do you want from me?”

Hang in there. We’ve all been through those moments. The bad news is: you will experience more of them. Don’t despair. Bad times contain the seed of your greatest personal growth. Let’s create a hypothetical scenario, humour me if you will. Let’s pretend you’re here on earth for a reason, which is unfamiliar to you. Sometimes, you feel life is average, boring, and uneventful. You can’t seem to put your finger on what needs to change, yet you know something is ushering a change, but don’t know what. We established you were born for a reason in our hypothetical scenario and it may not be obvious to you just yet. You may be in your teens, in your adulthood or in your mature years. Allow me to add a personal perspective. During my teens and adult life, I experienced an inner dialogue prompting me to explore my sense of self. It wasn’t until my late thirties, I began tapping into my inner wisdom. I made many mistakes along the way that involved: relationships, finances, career opportunities, health and family.

There were times I would walk home during the early hours of the morning after being out with friends, so I could be alone with my thoughts. I would yell out to the universe: “Why? Why? Why?” The answers never came. Yet the inner shift did. I remained calm and reflected on what I was lessons were being imparted. I sensed that I had attracted everything into my life to TEACH me something valuable, yet I didn’t know it the time. I trusted things had to get better and recall reading in a book which said: “There is always a corner in a road somewhere, a turning point.” That message left a lasting impression on me for years as a message of hope and optimism that our struggles are not permanent nor final. How about you? What are you facing right now that seems hopeless? How are you getting through it? Are you coping?

Overcoming the Experience Reveals the Lesson

“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.”– Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

As I sit writing this article, I reflect on everything I attracted contributed to the person I am today. The good and the bad experiences were key lessons, containing unique wisdom tailor-made for my journey. It doesn’t seem that way when you’re the one living the lesson. Those close to you will often tell you that things will get better; trust that they will. They must. In my experience, I realise life is cyclical. Cycles and spirals are evident in nature including our physiology. Known as the Golden Mean or Fibonacci numbers, nature knows exactly what it’s doing. Appreciating that nature works in cycles, takes the strain off whatever is happening right now, is for your greatest good. If you’re immersed in a drama or conflict, know that it shall pass. To trust and have faith is gained in wisdom. The wisdom to believe that events will unfold for your greatest good. Hang on and ask that life show you the lesson. It might come in the form of a realisation or inner knowing. You might already be living the lesson and don’t know it.

Allow your mind to settle, like a leaf floating on water. Refuse to entertain thoughts of struggle and resistance. Imagine the following scenario when you’re resisting your circumstances. Visualise lying on your back as though you’re floating on water, eyes closed as the golden sun warms your body and fills you with energising life. Feel the warmth of the rays on your face. Feel your body floating and just being. Remain here for as long as you want until you feel safe again. This is your resting place of solitude, one you can draw on anytime when the world feels too much. You have the power to transcend anything life presents you with. You can move through any tragedy or unfortunate event. These resources are there for you during your darkest hour. Hold on during the darkness because there are key lessons you are being called to learn. It was the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who once said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

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