No matter who you are or what your lot in life, you can bet your boots that at some point, you’re going to be faced with adversity. This condition is part of the experience … part of the flow of life,
It might come in the form of an accident, health crisis or chronic illness. It might involve the loss of a friend or loved one. It might be career or sports related. It might involve a relationship or family matter. It might involve a major catastrophe or natural disaster. You might be the subject of abuse, bullying, abandonment, persecution or discrimination. You may live in a country beset by war. Think of Yugoslavia, host of the 1984 Winter Olympics, only to be torn apart eight years later by a vicious civil war that caused immeasurable suffering.
The question isn’t whether you will face adversity or even what kind of adversity you will face. The question is, how will you face it? Will you lose your confidence? Will you become angry, disillusioned or bitter? Will you fall into depression or despair? Will you turn to alcohol or drugs? Or will you rise to the occasion? Will you maintain a positive attitude? Will you accept the situation and resolve to do everything in your power to change it? Will you stand tall?
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison as a political prisoner of an apartheid government in South Africa. Rather the being filled with anger and hatred and seeking revenge upon his release, he instead sought reconciliation with the country’s former ruling white minority.
Many celebrities and sports heroes have had deal with it. Some overcame it, some didn’t and some are still in the process.
At one time in the early 2000s, Mike Weir was at the top of the Canadian golf world, and in 2003, arguably at the top of the golf world period. After all, he had just won the Master’s, professional golf’s most coveted tournament. Then in 2004, he had a chance to win the Canadian Open and become the first Canadian to do so in 50 years. With a three shot lead on the back nine on Sunday, he looked like a sure thing. But the pressure got to him, he blew the lead, lost in a playoff, and in part due to a series of nagging injuries, hasn’t been the same since. He continues to struggle to regain his game.
Many experience adversity early in life. Oprah Winfrey, for example, grew up in poverty, endured hardship and abuse and has become one of the wealthiest and most beloved people on the planet.
Adversity will help you discover the emotional skeletons in your closet. If you have unresolved anger or a bad attitude, they will surely come to the surface during difficult times. As will fear and self destructive thinking.
How you handle adversity, then, will in essence determine your mental, emotional and spiritual growth. If you handle it poorly, you will likely face more of it … until you ‘get it.’ If you handle with grace and optimism, you move forward.
Adversity may also come into your life simply to guide you in a different direction in order for you to fulfill your life’s purpose. This could include the loss of a job or the end of a relationship. For me, personally, marriage separation, being packaged out of a 23 year corporate job and a failed business venture all within a two year period, led me into teaching martial arts full-time and writing books and blogs, which I love and find incredibly meaningful and fulfilling.
Experiencing adversity is about finding light in the darkness. It is about finding our inner strength and connecting with the divine!
So, when faced with adversity, find meaning in the experience, for it is surely there, and from this meaning you will find courage and your true self.
Have an awesomely meaningful day!