I’ve been thinking a lot about adversity for a while now. Maybe adversity is a strong word but it truly seems appropriate as it defines negative situations in varying degrees. It’s everywhere around me, in my friends’ lives, in my brother’s marriage, at work, in church, in the lives of strangers who I get to…
I’ve been thinking a lot about adversity for a while now. Maybe adversity is a strong word but it truly seems appropriate as it defines negative situations in varying degrees. It’s everywhere around me, in my friends’ lives, in my brother’s marriage, at work, in church, in the lives of strangers who I get to read their stories and through it all I’ve come to understand that we respond to adversity in ways that hurt and has us going around in circles. I was listening to a CD one day, where the pastor was talking about yet another agenda of the devil to destroy the children of God and how we need to pray fervently and fast frequently or risk being the devil’s play thing and I wondered, is every negative situation really the plot of the devil to steal, kill and destroy?
I have come to understand that character is built in adversity, that we grow and evolve not when everything is smooth and great but at difficult and hard times, when we feel lost, when we have more questions than there are answers, when we’re heartbroken, when we wish we could take a break and maybe escape to Eldorado for a while (if they would just find the darn city) and come back with a gold wand to make the seeming impossible possible. We get stronger with every negative situation we overcome and we get to understand the quality of what we have with the people in our lives at the time of adversity. This is not only in romantic situations but in business, in platonic friendships, in relationship with our siblings, and if we have the right frame of mind we’ll see that what we have and are involved in is not as strong as we think it is should things waver or it’s even stronger than we thought should it flourish in the midst of that negative situation. We also get to see where the people we know and love are at in their understanding about life and issues that pertains to life but most of all we see where we’re at and the areas we need to make amends and grow.
I know that it’s easy to have a victim mentality about difficulties than a creative one, trust me I’ve been there, I know what it’s like to wallow in self-pity and believe that I’m the only one who bad things happen to but allowing ourselves to stay with a defeatist mentality only makes the journey to something different or better much longer than it should be, turning adversity around and making it work in our favour can only happen when we have the right attitude and learn to live creatively. Living a creative life isn’t only about being skilled in art or being able to create culturally. We can live creatively by not always allowing life happen to us. It means looking around any setting where we find ourselves and trying to find out how we can make that into a terrific experience by asking, “what can I say, think, feel or do that will bring about learning and fulfilment for me in this situation?”
Any situation can be a learning or growing experience once we choose the right attitude, that way it’s easy to get something out of the experience and either like where we are or work at moving to another more fulfilling place.
What further cripples us at times of adversity is comparison and high expectations. We tend to compare our lives to the lives of the people around us forgetting that things are hardly what they seem and even when they are exactly what they seem, they’re not that way at every single moment. It may seem like everyone is way ahead or someone has something that we desire at different times of our lives but we have to remember that every success story has a story of countless failures. The trick is to focus on the path before us, prepare ourselves for when our time comes, fully apply ourselves in everything we involve ourselves and we’ll do just fine. One thing I’ve learnt is that besides God I’m really all I have, my family, friends, or lover will not be there for me as much as I can be there for myself and that is ok. Should something happen- maybe I fall sick or have an accident, I will be there by myself first before any loved one can get to where I am. Yes there would be doctors and strangers who would thankfully get me to the hospital but they’re strangers so technically I would still be alone. What that means is that I have to learn to be my own comforter, my own lover, my own friend, my own champion, my own hero, etc. before anyone can do that for me and learning that will help revise the expectations I have from people and from life.
We’re all on a separate journey but the different paths we have are made of unique stories that are more similar than they are different. Thank God that we get to tell it once in a while because through that we know we’re not alone when we struggle.
But when we share our stories and it binds us together in this sense of community and we get to commiserate with one another, then what? It is up to you to decide to take the suggestions and turn them into constructive self-fulfilling behavior. The most crucial test of your attitude development will be in the face of adversity, rather than while things are running smoothly. By being alert for turning adversity around, by improving our attitudes and expectations for ourself, and by bravely implementing available alternatives, we’ll experience not only a lifting in our spirit but we’ll be empowered to turn things for the better.
Have there been situations you found yourself in that made you a better person?