Adversities are inevitable.
But why do some people live as if untouched by adversities? No. These people, too, had misfortunes. But what sets them apart is how they treat adversities:
They treat adversities as an opportunity to grow.
I know it’s hard. Because when adversities strike, our default reaction is to shrink. We don’t know what to do. We don’t know where to go.
But think about it. If some people can overcome adversities, why not you? Why not me?
Instead of seeing adversities as punishments, consider them as a test.
A requirement that leads to new discoveries.
A set of lessons to better ourselves.
A turning point, a new door for growth.
What we need are reminders — something to remind us the beauty of life and its endless possibilities. So when adversities strike and we get lost, we can easily find our way back. Reminders are powerful.
I may not be in the position to give advice, but still, I want to share these five reminders. I wish I’ve known these things when I was younger. (Then again, I can’t change the past.)
1. We are humans. Ask help.
Going through a divorce? Jobless? In debt? I don’t know what happened, but I won’t judge. That’s your story. But whatever your problem, don’t think you’re alone and have no place to go.
As Marc Chernoff said,
“In the midst of hard times, it’s easy to look around and see a bunch of people who seem to be doing just fine. But they’re not. We’re all struggling in our own way. And if we could just be brave enough to open up about it, and talk to each other, we’d realize that we are not alone in feeling lost and alone.”
No matter how hard or painful you feel about your situation, remember you’re not the only one struggling. There are billions of people experiencing adversities. Ask for help if you feel lost. Call a friend. Find like-minded individuals. Don’t be shy. We’re all humans.
2. Only deal with the present. Stay focused.
If you think you’re being punished and your sufferings are the result of your actions — karma — then it’s like saying you deserve the punishment.
Whatever you did in the past, whether good or bad, don’t dwell on them anymore. Forget it. Move on. What’s important is you’ve realized your mistakes, asked forgiveness, and learned lessons.
Be present — the Now. Remind yourself that the past cannot be changed, and what lies in the future is something you shouldn’t worry about. Worrying will just destroy the present.
Eckhart Tolle once said,
“Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”
Instead of worrying, find solutions. Focus on the present. Once you overcome the adversities, you’ll realize that they are temporary.
3. Most of our greatest fears are illusions. They don’t exist.
These fears I’m referring are the result of being negative. If you fear something, your thoughts create false assumptions, which are in most cases, contrary to your reality. They may seem forceful, but remember, they are just your thoughts — not the reality.
Thich Nhat Hanh said,
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.”
Say for example you’re afraid to ask help from friends as they might ignore you — fear. Let’s say that’s a possibility.
But is it real? It’s just your thought or something you predict out from fear. If you’re really sure your friend will ignore you, find another way. The point is to recognize if what’s stopping you is a fact or fear. Because most of the time, fear blocks the solution.
4. There is always learning and positivity in every situation.
This is one of the most forgotten truths. Easier said than done. I know. But it’s the truth, whether you believe in it or not. It’s just that, most of us failed to realize.
Remember what Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) said? “The problem is not the problem. It’s our attitude about the problem.”
Most people lose the grip of life’s beauty when facing adversities. We forget how lucky we are that we’re still alive. We forget that there’s still hope. Endless of hopes.
Rather than thinking how bad your life situation is, look at the positive side. See a different perspective. Extract the lessons — of course, there are. You just need to pause and reflect. Only then will you realize that every struggle has a purpose.
5. Our present condition doesn’t define our future.
“You may have made some mistakes, and you may not be where you want to be, but that’s got nothing to do with your future.” — Zig Ziglar
Maybe you’re envious of someone who is joyful, successful, and living a meaningful life. But what you probably don’t realize is that most of them suffered in their younger years.
In fact, a lot of great people we admire experienced adversities. To name a few: J.K. Rowling, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, and Oprah Winfrey. There’s a lot. All these people had their adversities. But they didn’t give up.
I’m not a life coach. Not a spiritual teacher. But if you’re struggling today, I’m sure there’s a reason for that.
I suggest, find that negative source, and if possible remove it from your life.
Our adversities are not eternal. They are not our future — unless we let them ruin our lives.
Here’s a quote from one of my most admired heroes:
“Sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” — Steve Jobs