Adversity has led me to some of my greatest moments of realizations and emotional freedom. Yet, while in the thick of it I’ve cried, kicked and screamed my way through the pain (while chanting, “this too will pass, this too will pass…”)
So, like clockwork this equation enters our lives:
Adversity and suffering=growth and realization (then, repeat over and over and over)
I know that much is true. But that’s not enough and since I ask a lot of questions, I want to know why; the core reason of our psychological needs and desires for finding hope through adversity.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow explains in his Hierarchy of Needs that once the basics of life are established, people need a sense of meaning and a higher purpose than just survival. So we establish a foundation of confidence and self-esteem, but inherently we need a challenge to feel satisfied. This is often seen as a validation to express who we are to ourselves, friends and family.
So how does this begin? How do you go in the right direction? This practice of growth and optimism, even in adversity should begin from an early age. Ph.D., Anabel Jensen reflects that if she could teach her child one lesson, “I would teach how adversity can be gilded with hope.” She speaks about helping your child, at a young age, to build an immunity to his/her setbacks and put-downs. “Inocluate him/her with the skills of optimism.” If we are taught at a young age a realistic life view but to keep persisting then we begin on a path of self-actualization.
The Power of Adversity In Growing Up
As we’re growing up and sifting through what our life has become and is becoming it’s important to begin beliving and living with the attitude that adversity is power.
Philanthropist and business leader Al Weatherhead, who wrote The Power of Adversity draws on his own experiences (alcoholism, two failed marriages and a life threatening heart disease) to leverage his life in a positive upswing. He mentions in his book that tough times actually offer unique opportunities for personal growth such as becoming more creative problem-solvers, strengthening self-confidence and altering our perspective on life.
Weatherhead asserts, “Our lives are journeys of transformation, and each time the catalyst for change is painful circumstances…we can’t grow as human beings without seeing ourselves-and our relationships to others-through the unique and challenging lens of adversity.”
Okay, so I’m saying that adversity and stress will always exist. Shit just happens. But I can leave you with Weatherheads belief about attitude that I think might just lighten your step and help you realize you hold the power of change in your hands: “Your adversity is real. It cannot change. But it can be transformed.”