When everything is happening for you

5 Steps for overcoming adversity

Adversity confronts all of us at some time. It may come in the form of divorce, a broken limb or a lost job. Each adversity brings with it a sense of loss and pain. Moving onward can happen with the passage of time, or not. It is up to you. Here are a few suggested things you can do to move from pain and loss to possibility.

  1. Remember: nothing is happening TO you, it is happening FOR you. Now these words come from Tony Robbins, but I have also heard them from my own mother in the form, “God only gives you what you can handle.” This more Catholic inspired meme really means, find hope and faith. When we step into the world in the shoes of the victim, we very quickly find ourselves in the victim realm and looking to be saved. In other words… powerless. When we feel powerless, the world around us begins to sense our vulnerability and if there is one thing we know about survival, predators always take down the weakest of their prey.
  2. You can find a reason behind everything that happens, but it might not be immediately. I am not a fan of the ‘everything happens for a reason’ slogan. I prefer to think that we find the reason if we want to learn from a situation. When people die in floods or earthquakes, I am not certain we can find a reason, but we can always find the way in which the event changes us… assuming we allow ourselves to change. It could be we recognize the fragility of life and make changes to our relationships that reflect the love we feel for others. It could be we recognize the courage of some people and we find a way to act more courageously. In every moment, you get to choose if you are learning or just maintaining.
  3. The real power is in intention. I am taking a little from the teachings of Wayne Dyer here. In his book, The Power of Intention, the idea that we have an intention behind every action and when we are blind to that intention, it can be a disservice. When I want to be alone with my sadness, am I trying to heal and let go of the pain? When things get painful for me, I start doing. My son left home to go to boarding school and I took on a huge project to avoid feeling the pain. Being busy and having purpose allowed me to stifle the feeling of loss. But it also meant I created a lot of stress and work at a time when I needed rest and restoration. Understanding what is driving our choices is critical to using our power in a way the actually moves us forward.
  4. Not my monkeys. I was listening to an interesting Bréne Brown talk with Chase Jarvis and the conversation was around how much easier it is when the wind is at your back to swallow the haters. When we are afraid of a risky step, it is really easier to defend our fear with a comment like, “well of course so-and-so can start her own business, she is married and her husband has a salary if it goes bust.” This little comparison act is just your ego’s way of saying, “see I am as good, but I don’t have the same support.” The real statement to live by is “Not my monkeys.” This goes for the haters and the fear that you haven’t realized, but have been holding onto. Fear is a fabrication of a story not yet realized.
  5. Karma is seeds we sew in every moment. But it isn’t a punishment and reward system. On a walk with my dogs one spring afternoon, my black lab returned to me after rolling around in some human poop. My immediate reaction was to look to the sky and yell, “Really, what have I done to deserve this!?!” The seed I planted was walking my lab off leash. The universe did not plant the poop so my dog would roll in it and I would receive a punishment. It was merely a person relieved themselves in nature and my dog was leaving her scent.

So whatever poop you find yourself with, just recognize you have choices. The most important one is to recognize your part in the story and then what part you want to play in the future and plant those seeds.