Every single one of us will face adversity at some point or other in our lives, probably many times. How we respond to these adverse times makes all the difference to how long it takes us to get through them.
First of all, what is adversity? The Oxford Dictionary defines adversity as a difficult or unpleasant situation. I think we can all acknowledge that adversity comes in all sizes and not all adversity is equal; we can probably all agree that facing adversity is challenging.
The thing is, adversity doesn’t tend to provide a warning that it’s coming, it doesn’t book a date in your calendar giving you time to prepare yourself for it. It just comes screaming into your life at 100 mph and boom, you have to decide how to deal with it.
So how can we help ourselves to get over adversity?
The first step to overcoming adversity is acceptance. Acceptance of ‘what is’. When you meet adversity in your life, the tendency is to resist it, to push back against it; to try and pretend it’s not happening, but what does that actually do? It just creates suffering for you. I love this quote from Peter Crone: “Life is the way it is, but only always”. So, by resisting ‘what is’, life still is the way it is, but now you’re suffering as well. By accepting ‘what is’, the energy you were using to resist instantly becomes available to you to start moving through the situation and helping yourself to come out the other side.
A great sentence to tell yourself to begin accepting the situation is “I am where I am, and that’s ok”. Give it a go! Close your eyes, take a deep breath and tell yourself “I am where I am and that’s ok”. Allow those words to sink into you and notice the change in energy. Feel slightly better? Great!
Allow yourself to feel all the feelings
When adversity strikes it generally brings up a lot of challenging emotions within us which can feel uncomfortable. When something feels uncomfortable a standard reaction is to try to shove it down or ignore it (a bit like with acceptance - there’s a pattern here!). Here's the thing though, our emotions were only ever meant to be our guide! Imagine our emotions are like a postman who has a parcel to deliver to you. He knocks on your door but you are super comfortable on the sofa, under a cosy blanket and just do not want to move. So, you stay there. The postman keeps knocking and then ringing the doorbell, getting louder and louder,.You are still very comfortable and he’s annoying you by getting louder, so you’re definitely not answering the door now! The postman eventually leaves but he’s going to come back tomorrow because he’s got a job to do! He needs to deliver your parcel. Our emotions are the same - they have a message to deliver. You can keep ignoring them but they are going to keep coming back, getting louder until they’re able to do their job and deliver the message.
Acknowledge the feeling. Take the message and when you are ready, release it.
Bring awareness to the times you have got through before
You have already faced adversity in your life and yet you are still here today reading this. You got through it! You were strong enough then and you can be strong enough again. Just bringing awareness to the challenging times you have faced and got through can give you more strength to face the current situation you’re in.
Change the way you view adversity
I’m sure when you hear the word ‘adversity’ it’s not something that makes you excited and want to welcome with open arms. When faced with it though, ask yourself “how will this experience make me stronger?”
“What will I learn from this experience and how is that going to help move me forward in life?”
If you take the time to reflect on a previous adverse time in your life, you can notice what you gained from that experience and you will gain from every experience of adversity. We don’t succeed in life in spite of the challenges we face, we succeed because of them!
We were never meant to go through life isolated, trying to cope with and solve everything ourselves. Asking for help is always a sign of strength and self-love. Why would you want to stay in a challenging place for any longer than you needed to?
Positive mindset Cultivating a positive mindset in life generally will help immensely when faced with times of adversity. Learning some tools and techniques to help support us in those times is something we can all do.