“Nothing is permanent, except change” -Heraclitus
Life isn’t always rosy, hard times affect us all. Maybe you lost your job, got divorced, faced a major health issue, or lost a close friend or family member. Loss and adversity are a part of life, and we all experience them sometimes.
But even though this is a universal experience, these emotions of grief and trauma can be overwhelming. It can feel like you’re drowning in emotional turmoil with no way out. Adversity can be isolating, exhausting, and paralyzing. How are you supposed to react to something so unexpected and emotionally challenging?
Toni Morrison, the late American author, wrote “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” We can’t change or control what happens to us. Life is unpredictable and unwieldy. But we can control how we react to what happens to us. Overcoming adversity is possible. There are things you can do to conquer your life and deal with challenges. All you need is guidance, a positive outlook, and determination.
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts, British Philosopher.
How to Deal with Adversity, Accept What You Cannot Change
If you want to change your life circumstances, first you have to face them head on. You must plunge into your new circumstances and recognize them and accept them. You cannot change what happened to you. Whether it was a breakup, a job loss, a death in the family, or anything else in between—you don’t have control over a lot of what happens in your life.
And while you can’t change or control it, you can deal with it, grow from it, and move on.
If you want to overcome the adversity in your life, the first thing you have to do is accept what has happened to you. Stop thinking that life in unfair or that you are facing an insurmountable obstacle. You must recognize that bad things happen to everyone. You can’t stop challenges from occurring in your life. But you can stop the overwhelming negative feelings like despair, anger, depression and helplessness from taking over your life.
Let go of these powerful, negative emotions. They aren’t making anything better; they are just making you feel worse. If they don’t serve you, release them. Accept what has happened so that you can become free to grow from the experience and move on.
Perspective and Attitude are Everything
When you face adversity, it can be easy to think, “why me?” But when you are in a difficult situation, it is important to remember that what matters most is how you deal with the situation. If you have a positive attitude and enough perspective to recognize that this isn’t the end of the world, facing adversity will be much easier.
How we think about things shapes how we experience them. So instead of thinking of your adversity as an obstacle or wall, think of it as an opportunity to grow and become a happier, healthier person. You can become empowered or disempowered by adversity—it all depends on how you choose to react to it.
Believe in Yourself
When adversity strikes, it can often shake your self-confidence. If you are dealing with a breakup, it might be hard to imagine ever finding another person who will love you. If you recently became unemployed, you might second-guess how good you are at your job.
But the key to overcoming adversity is having enough self-confidence—and self-love—to recognize that you have the power to get through this and that you are capable of all the hard work it takes to make it to the other side.
You have to trust that you are capable of taking back control of your life. Often, adversity is random. It can make you feel like you don’t have a say in how your life goes. But this isn’t true. You control how you react.
When self-doubt eats away at your confidence in times of adversity, remember all the challenges that you have already faced and overcome in your life. Don’t focus on the negatives; focus on how many times you have risen to the challenge and come out on top. Know that this will be one of those times.
Ask for Help
When we face difficult times, it can be easy to feel like we are all alone. Like there’s no one who cares about us and no one who can help us.
However. believing that you are alone and further isolating yourself is one of the worst things you can do when adversity strikes. Though it can be hard, find the strength to ask for help. Ask your coworkers, your family, or your friends. Sometimes, we fear rejection so much that we can’t even ask for the assistance we need. But you’d be surprised to find out how willing people are to help. Think about it—if one of your close friends was struggling, wouldn’t you be more than happy to help them out? Of course you would. That’s probably how they feel about you, too!
And sometimes, you need help that only a professional can provide. Consider seeing a therapist or life coach to find strategies for overcoming the adversity you face.
Overcoming adversity isn’t always easy. But it absolutely can be done. Always remember that you are not defined by the challenges you face. Instead, you are defined by how you overcome them. Do you take the opportunity to become better, stronger, and happier? Or do you give in and let circumstances ruin your life?
If you want to use this as an opportunity to grow, download my free e-Book. It will help you understand how to take back control of your life and overcome obstacles you never thought you could!