Life is not smooth sailing. Right?
It's a combination of good and bad times - highs and lows - peace and trouble but you get through it. You always do. Things work out. You survive!
How can you use adversity to be strong and to move forward?
Fight for your happiness
We all experience hardships. Some people get through them with greater ease than others because of their attitude and choices. Their mindset propels them forward. They don't let suffering run their lives and they work through the hard times, even when everything is falling down around them and they can't seem to get a break.
When you're in a dark, troubled place acknowledge it. Face your fears, worries and enemies and see what happens. When you look right into the face of despair and start to deal with it you're on your way to freedom.
Remember -- you're up to it. Your values, world knowledge and character will lead and empower you. Fight for your life and your happiness.
A poem helps out
Here's a poem by the 13th century poet and scholar Rumi that I go right to whenever I need help to stabilize myself and feel good. It always makes me smile. Rumi describes life as like a 'guest house' where all kinds of things come and go and how we always have the choice to welcome it all, no matter what happens, and not to be a helpless victim. What does it say to you?
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some monetary awareness comes, as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
One big challenge for me
I've had unbearable physical and emotional pain in my life. I lived through a life threatening illness, was bullied as a child, survived divorce and great financial problems. I worked hard to change things and find a solution. I knew things would work out because whenever I took action to get relief something good always came out of it.
Once I worked for a large staffing firm in NYC. I liked my job a lot and the people I worked with. It was good! Then they hired a new sales manager.
Each week we would meet and go over my numbers and even though I was a top producer she insulted me. "What am I going to do with you Michael?" - was her favorite question as she shook her head from side to side like I was a bad boy.
One month I brought in 7 new accounts and she still continued to put me down.
The work I loved so much became a 24 hour living hell and when I couldn't stand it anymore I decided to find another job. As soon as I made that choice I was free and exhilarated! It was time to get out and move on.
Each day I practiced what Rumi suggested. I learned how to 'welcome and entertain' my managers' rudeness. I treated her 'honorably' with respect in our meetings; all the 'sorrows'... the insults, rules and meanness she aimed at me I was able to endure because I knew in my heart I was a success and not a failure. The picture of some 'new delight' waiting for me in my next job kept me focused and strong.
Surprisingly she became 'a guide' for me because she showed me how I didn't want to be - a cold and unkind human being. I was grateful to her for this and even found some compassion and understanding for her.
The day I quit I went through the company shaking hands and saying good-bye to all 30 of my colleagues letting them know why I resigned. Then I walked four blocks up Fifth Avenue and started my new, even more inspiring job.
4 crucial and sweet lessons I learned
1. NEVER let anyone belittle or treat you with disrespect.
2. You are responsible for your own life and always have the choice and the power to change things.
3. You are stronger and more resourceful than you know.
4. The pain you're living through is only temporary and leading you towards new and better things. Old energy and purpose will be replaced with new positive feelings and experiences.
Here's what I'm recommending
- Take charge of your life. Be in control as much as you can be. Even if you're slogging through hell keep going because you'll come out of it.
- Get yourself unstuck from paralyzing fear and pain. It means working hard to change so you can feel good and be healthy and positive, even under excruciating circumstances. You'll find and create some kind of relief to get to a better place. Believe in yourself. You absolutely can do it.
- Life has many lessons to be learned from. We all run into pain, misfortunes, challenges, obstacles, stress, insults, unhappiness but dig into yourself and climb out of the dark hole any way you can. Things do change. The hard times do make you stronger and wiser and hopefully kinder too. You'll heal and grow and very often, out of the pain, comes something so much better... more wonderful and... surprising.