3 Ways to Turn Adversity Into a Positive Experience
“Human life runs a course in the metamorphosis between receiving and giving.” - Goethe
My wife and I recently received some not very good news. It was not something that either of us wanted to hear, but something that we must both deal with in our own ways.
With the wave of emotions that she feels, I was trying to think of some of the things that I always write about to help. Today I could not do that. Today I was at a loss to an extent. As the evening has gone on I have had time to think and we both have had time to cry and to get mad, and to go through some of the hurt and then to start thinking of the future.
Sometimes it seems that there is no end to the problems that we face in life. Sometimes it feels that for each step we take forward, adverse circumstances pull us two steps back. A wise person once said that 'pain is inevitable but the suffering is optional.' You have to decide how much suffering and emotional stress your pain is going to inflict upon yourself and those around you. As this is easy to write for me, it is equally as hard to put into practice. I do know from experience that the following ways of thinking can help turn any adversity into a positive experience -- and it’s even more possible when you’re surrounded by love and support from friends and family.
1. Adversity is not a cause but a symptom
More often than not our adversity is a symptom of some other, deeper issue or problem. You lose a job and you think that this is a devastating turn of events, but do you try to figure out why you lost your job? What is it that made you so forgettable or dispensable? Was it even the right fit for you? Similarly, if you or a loved one is sick, try to figure out why the sickness has happened. Is it lifestyle? Is it the environment around you? Is it a combination of them? Sometimes there is no reason but what I ask is that you look at it differently and try things that have not been done before. Whatever the situation is, you should take note of the source of a problem if possible. Unless you solve it, you will keep getting into similar situations.
2. Adversity can be a lesson
The day to day business of our lives does not allow us the time to pause and to appreciate the people we have around us most of the time. More often than not, adversity often awakens us to the opportunities and treasures that are before our eyes and that are far more important than money or material possessions; our health, our family, and our friends. Sudden loss of money teaches us that we should not base our happiness on money. An illness teaches us to be humble and to lead a healthy life as much as possible. It also teaches us who is really important. A sudden loss in the family makes us appreciate the cycle of birth, life, and then death -- and hopefully makes you realize that there is so much more after we are gone.
3. Adversity can be guidance
Sometimes if you’re paying close attention, adversity can come to your life to suggest that it’s time to change course in the river of life and to swim like hell. For example, when someone leaves you there is no use in sulking and blaming yourself or others. Instead you need to take it as a sign that a newer and more enlightened relationship should be sought -- one that is more meaningful and one that is meant for you. This is how Gwen and I came to be. Or maybe you need to or should invest your time in other pursuits for the time being or on your own relationship with yourself? Rather than getting bogged down with our own problems we should pay attention to people who happily survive and even prosper despite all of the odds. When you open your eyes and heart and have a look at the whole of the world, you'll appreciate how well life has treated you no matter the situation.
Be thankful for each moment of each day. Open up to those around you and be human. None of us are superhuman. We all need help and should ask for it when we do. We all should pay it forward as well to those who need the help for one day it may be you doing the asking.
So each day try to see the world in a different light. If it does not go your way one day we have tomorrow and the next.
Our life and our connections to each other are all dependent on how we respond. Respond to all with a positive mind, open heart and wide open eyes and lean from it all. It is always UP TO YOU!
To learn more about meditation, check out The Essential Guide To Meditation With Charlie Knoles.
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