I can guarantee that everyone of you and everyone you know has, is, or will face adversity at some point in their lives. When this happens to us, we have an opportunity to choose how we approach this. Do we view this as a challenge to help us learn and grow, or do we allow this to harm, immobilize, or otherwise derail us?
Part of the determination may depend on what else is present in our lives…for example:
1. the extent of the adversity
Death, ill health, termination of relationship(s), job loss, financial challenges.
2. the circumstances around you
Is this the final straw in a veritable haystack of recent challenges or a more manageable challenge because of other areas of relative stability and the support you have in your life?
3. the support network available
How differently do we experience challenges when we feel alone or isolated versus when we know we can reach out to family, friends, colleagues and/or other supports?
4. insight and opportunities to see ones circumstances with some degree of clarity
Here, we focus on self awareness, awareness of available options, and our ability to make rational decisions/choices in times of adversity, crisis and challenge.
I have found that the ability to deal with crises can depend on the circumstances and supports we experience and how we are showing up at the time in our lives.
Reflect, for instance on the differences when…
- Dealing with a financial challenge when we are employed and have a stable income allows us a different choice versus if we are unemployed or are only have sporadic income.
- Dealing with the death of a loved one who has been unwell and suffering versus someone who passes away in a manner that is both untimely and unexpectedly.
- Dealing with emotional issues when supported by a loving family, partner or friend(s) versus when one is isolated, alone and lonely.
In dealing with adversity in my life, what I have learned is that no matter how horrible, painful and heartwrenching the circumstances are, they will not last forever.
I have learned that the faster I accept the reality of what is occurring and fully allow myself to feel the emotions and “be” with what is happening, without denying, ignoring or bypassing the situation, the less power and fear it holds.
Even when everything feels hopeless, I have learned to trust and respect the process of allowing myself to be in whatever emotional, mental and physical state I need to be in at the time. I trust that even if I can’t see it yet, there will be a point where I will move through the stages and see available options and choices.
Sometimes I can do this on my own. Other times, I need to enlist the support of friends, trusted colleagues or professional supports such as a counsellor, coach or therapist.
I look forward to exploring more of these ideas and continuing this discussion with you…
ALISON SPOKE AT THE 2017 i4 tales conference
The Advantages of Adversity
Everyone has or will experience adversity at some point in their lives. Adversity is part of life and accepting it will help us better prepare for it and overcome it. How we deal with it depends on a myriad of aspects.
Our sense of self and the strength of our internal resources - determination, resilience and persistence as well as the external resources in terms of our support system of family and friends all play a part. There are learning opportunities in every adverse situation. Depending on how we choose to perceive adversity, can significantly alter the outcome.