Thursday, July 18, 2013

Adversity is Life's Greatest Gift

Why me?
How did this happen?
What now?
What am I going to do?
Where do I go from here?

These are all natural reactions to any negative event that happens. The truth is bad things happen to everyone. After all, have you ever met an interesting old person that didn't have some tale of adversity to tell? Interesting people are born from finding unique ways to overcome difficult events. Positive people aren't born that way; they choose to be that way. Happy people do not come from lucky circumstances; they find reasons to be happy in spite of their challenges. 

 I began asking myself what qualities positive people possess that help them cope in the face of great adversity. Some people seem to battle the odds and come out smiling. Some seem to be fighting a losing battle yet they go down with a smile on their face. What is it that they possess that give them the ability to stand strong no matter how many challenges life throws at them? Since my diagnosis, I have been carefully examining which traits are most prevalent amongst happy, well adjusted people. Below is a list of the traits that are best suited to overcoming adversity.  

Fiercely Independent - This gives a person the fortitude to believe that they alone can make things happen. They don't wait for others to make things better for them. They just begin examining their own circumstances and begin changing what they can. Some would say they are selfish but the truth is that they tend to be more successful. 

Exceptionally Resilient - The human body can withstand so much more than we believe is possible. We need to remember that pain alone will not kill a person.  As a matter of fact, the body will automatically overcome the body's sensors to block out pain once it becomes too extreme.  Although uncomfortable, pain truly is an issue of mind over matter. 

Brutally Stubborn - This gives one the wherewithal to continue to fight for their dreams even when it seems that the fight is over. Stubborn people will not accept defeat without putting up a fight. They refuse to believe that anything is impossible. When they come across one roadblock, they consult the map and find a new path. The refuse to accept anything less than success.

Perpetually Hopeful - Hope is the key to finding strength when facing any challenge. If you don't believe you can overcome then you will never put up your best fight. When faced with a difficulty, one must believe that there will be a better tomorrow. If one loses hope, life and everything in it become worthless. When we believe that the future is bright we will continue the struggle. 

Wildly Adventurous - Some enjoy the excitement of blazing new trails both literally and figuratively. You have to be willing to brave the unknown in order to create something new and fulfilling. Whether its new to you or new to the world, you have be willing to face your fears of failure in order to reach something you thought was unattainable. Remember if you reach for the moon and fail; you'll still land among the stars.

Exceptionally Resilient - One needs to see that failure is not the end of a dream but the end of a lesson. A person learns a lot about what not to do when they fail. Failure makes the path to success clearer by illuminating things you didn't know before. Failure is painful. So we need to remember that pain is just another sensation and it should serve as a reminder of just how strong we are.

Overly Opinionated - This trait allows a person to speak up for what they need and what they want. Some would see this as a negative characteristic but when harnessed it can serve you well when others are trying to force something upon you. You are always your own best advocate and should never settle for something that's not right for you. Don't ever let anyone, including doctors, talk you into doing something you don't believe in. Stand up for yourself and don't feel guilty for doing so.

Willingly Generous - Many people are great at helping others. However, asking for help is always difficult. But how would you feel if someone you loved needed help but wouldn't ask you. You would probably be hurt and offended that they wouldn't even consider asking when you would be more than glad to help.  Asking for help does not make one weak, it makes one human. Being able to receive graciously is the only way to learn to give freely without expecting some form of repayment. 

One will never be able to know their own heart without possessing these eight character traits. You have to know each and every one of your traits in order to effectively use them to build a happy, fulfilled life. Unfortunately, all too often we see adversity as something negative rather than something positive. Eventually, every difficulty will become a really great story to inspire others.  You may not see it that way to begin with; but, you will understand that in time. Remember that every challenge is lesson which will make you a better, stronger person. Don't let the lesson escape you by allowing anger to become your primary focus. Feel the pain that the challenge brings forth. Let the burn push you harder toward your goals. Everyone experiences difficulties, it's how we handle them that sets us apart.