“People are like stained-glass windows, they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Adversity is one of the least favored words in our vocabulary, but the truth is… it is one the most important words. Throughout our life, much of our strength, courage and stamina has come from an adverse time in our life. And, for some of us, the hardships we’ve had, have made us who we are today.
We’ve all been to “the dark side” (as some people call it), that place where no one wants to be, whether it is due to a death, career, health, divorce, etc. We’ve all been through adversity or know someone who has… we’re human. We’ve all dealt with difficulties throughout our lifetime, none of us are exempt. And, I know, that if it weren’t for the hardships in my life, I would not be writing this article. We’ve all heard the saying, “Adversity will make you or break you.” Adversity can make us or break us, but in order for it not to break you, you have to face life’s difficulties with a different attitude… one of opportunity.
Instead, I choose to remember the quote, “Adversity willingly undergone is the greatest virtue.” You see, difficulties are all about how we choose to see them. When we change our view on life’s adversity… strength, courage, and stamina will be given back in exchange for what has been weakened by hardships. Many times what is given back to you returns unknowingly and you’re even stronger than you were before. Look back in your life to previous adversities you’ve had, did they make you a stronger person? Did it take a couple days, month, or year to recognize changes in yourself? Eventually, you did realize you were more confident and courageous!
None of us knows what lies ahead or what our next challenge in life will be. But, one thing is for sure (that we all have in common)… there will be more hardships for all of us. No one on this earth is immune to adversity. There may be times when you find yourself mumbling under your breath, “Why do they have it so good and I don’t.” Trust me… “they” have had their trials, too. And, the reason they may be perceived as having it “so good” is because they swam through their adversity. Whether they were swimming with the tide or against it, they chose to keep on going. The harder and longer you swim, the stronger you will become and getting through adversity takes practice and dedication like anything else you’re committed to achieving. You don’t become an Olympic swimmer over night!
Adversity is only just that… adversity. And what YOU choose to do with yours is YOUR choice. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich once said, “Each adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.” So, which seed will you plant? And, there is also an old saying that goes like this, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” In other words, many people choose to never come out on top of their trials, instead, they choose to remain stuck and wallow in their tribulations for years. One thing is for certain, we will never be free from adversity… never… but we can certainly change our outlook when we are faced with hardships. Even the most dire of circumstances can be turned around and used for the good, we just need to open our eyes to see that spark of hope before us.
Remember, the cloud of adversity you are going through will lift when you change your outlook on the situation. But, only if you take the first steps to walk again and hold your head up high! No one has an explanation or a reason why things are occurring in your life, except your higher power. All we know is that He does not want you to give up because there is more for you to accomplish in your lifetime. But, YOU have to change your outlook. We can all be there to guide you and support you in taking your first steps, but ultimately, you have to take those first steps. Deep down, you have to muster up that energy to say, “No more, I will get through this, and I too, deserve to have a life of fulfillment.”
When you find yourself going through adversity, ask yourself, “Am I focusing solely on the negative aspects or am I able to recognize a positive reason for what is occurring?” We receive what we perceive. Adversity is what builds strength within the weakened individual. Although one trial or many trials may change us forever… it is your faith and outlook that will determine the outcome. Even the best get down… but through the power of adversity they also choose to overcome. Many of the most famous role models have stories of extreme destitute and dire situations to tell- and that’s what makes them role models. People look up to and admire those who can overcome. We all know the challenge of strength it takes to continue moving forward and that is why we look to role models and mentors. If you are having difficulty in a situation, don’t be afraid to reach out to the role models in your life.
It’s going to be alright… keep swimming… eventually the tide of faith and your outlook will carry you through every storm. And like the tides, we are always changing. Some days may be lower than others, but without water there is no tide… and without adversity, there is no growth.
“Often God has to shut a door in our face, so that He can subsequently open the door through which He wants us to go.” ~ Catharine Marshall