Finding the Joy in Adversity
All great change is preceded by a crisis, trauma or tragedy. We have all at one time or another experienced an event in our lives that we believed at the time was the worst possible thing that could happen. We lost a job, got divorced, lost a pet, lost someone we loved, or fell ill… We tell ourselves that nothing has ever hurt this much; why is this happening? It is in the midst of these moments that we have a choice: we can choose to believe we are cursed with horrible luck, or we can ask ourselves, what is the lesson I need to learn from this situation?
I know this because my life has been full of adversarial times, the short version is as follows: My sixteen year old brother was killed in a car accident in 1978. Three months later my father, overcome with the grief of his loss, committed suicide. My mother was an alcoholic who was suddenly faced with the monumental task of earning a living and raising two small children by herself. My older brother and I learned to be self-sufficient at very young ages (12 and 5), taking care of ourselves and our mother (now known as “parentified” children).
I learned everything the hard way in my teen years, as I felt there was no one I could talk to. I was married and divorced by the age of 20, pregnant and married again to an emotionally and physically abusive man by the age of 23. When he tried to kill me in front of our son, I left that marriage and was a single mom at 25. I had a great deal of issues with low self-esteem and lack of self-worth. It wasn’t until I reached my mid-thirties that I saw very clearly how everything in my life happened exactly the way it was supposed to in order for me to become the person I am today.
I no longer worry about what others think of me; I am wise beyond my years, responsible, strong and dependable. I have developed an appreciation for life that I lacked in my youth. I see the joy in the crisis now. Everything happens to teach us something about ourselves or others. How many times have you looked back through your life and realized what you thought was the end of your world was only a new beginning? Always know that no matter what storms may come, there is the promise of sunshine tomorrow. What about you? I would love to hear your stories of how this concept has played out in your lives.