I have been struggling throughout this summer with comparisons of my life to other's and have been sending out the plea, "How can I deal with all this adversity?" Today, maybe I received a reply.
Reading through the daily newsletter I receive daily, "Lifescript," I saw a link to the very topic of adversity and immediately clicked. It was a question posed in the May 5, 2009 newsletter by a woman who wrote, "I have experienced extreme hardship and advrsity. How do I deal with it?" Now I could have been the same one asking this so I eagerly read the reply from the resident life coach.
The reply began with the reality that periods of hardship come into everyone's life, that adversity is part of the life experience, but that yes, there are some people out there seeming to get more of their share - some people's experiences are more severe. I'm grateful for this acknowledgment because so often I think that people try to ignore this fact or try to diminish it by saying everyone deals with hardship, grief and pain. Just having someone nod their head in agreement that some of us get dealt a way heavier hand gives me some peace. It helps me not think I'm crazy or bitter for believing that my life hasn't been a bed of roses. But I'm getting off track with this. That isn't the point of this post. I just get frustrated when people try to diminish my hardships as I suppose anyone would by simply saying all humans end up suffering. Especially when the hardships I am trying to cope with don't seem to be abating.
But the real point here is for anyone suffering through hard times or adversity right now regardless of the severity is that all of us can benefit from adopting a different mindset. The key is not to ask "How can I get through this?" but instead, "How can I use this?" When I thought about this immediate relief flowed through me. I've been grasping at straws for the keys to help me endure this rough period of my life. And that might not be the way to help me through this. Prayer, positive thinking, emotional support from family and friends and counseling are all lifelines in times of trouble but they may not give us the motivation to strive forward that a new perspective does.
As an option to the self-help measures I've been seeking, asking myself "What can I learn from this pain?"
"How can I grow from this experience?" and
"How can I be a better person because of this hardship?
release me from trying to find a cure from my misery and heartache. I'm removed from having to fix myself and the situation immediately or to even feel better about it. I don't have to pretend I'm strong or to admit that this is a life lesson I'm happy to be learning. I can simply let the reality of my life be and exist around me while propelling forward with the hope that in the end, I'll become a better person. Such a relief. Because I'm not sure there are any answers out there to surviving adversity. You suck up and get through it as best you can and it is crummy and hard and painful.
I'm not going so far as to say that there is a silver lining behind all hardship - I'm not there yet. But I am willing to believe (with a glimmer) that from negative experiences, we can strive for better futures and that in the end, they can be built.
"How can I use this, what can I learn, how can I grow, how can I become a better person?" I don't have immediate answers to any of these questions right now but they seem to provide me with a relief "How can I get through this?" never did. It gives me more strength and power to hang in rather than try to totally delete this part of my life, which most of the time seems to be the best but not easiest option. Because in the end, you just can't cut out certain parts of your life - they're there and you're stuck with them as much as I wish the past seven years would just go away. But we are a sum total of all our parts and experiences from all our years here. So rather than fight and run away from the adversity beast, I have to finally face it.