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Maintaining Your Strength during Adversity

Despite our best intentions, something goes dreadfully wrong. You suffer a loss, make a terrible mistake, or get blindsided by an injury. In disbelief your mind cries, “Wait. What?”

And then, “No, no, no, this can’t be happening.”

I recently had to purchase a new phone and two days later, the brakes went out on my car. After the initial shock, when the surge of stress hormones has subsided, I realized that yes, this is happening. I could not help thinking: “But how could this happen? It’s not fair. Why me? Why now? How will I ever get through this?”  In these moments, your mind is reeling. You feel anxious and dejected.

“I’m stronger because of the hard times, wiser because of my mistakes, and happier because I have known sadness.” ~Unknown

As much as we do not want them to, bad things happen in our lives. And amongst all the questions these bad things provoke, the most important is always: how do we move forward from these bad things in a way that is constructive, and promotes growth and healing?

Bad things do happen and we can choose how we will respond to them. We have to believe in ourselves and in our abilities because our inner faith will create our external results. People easily lose faith in themselves when encountering setbacks, failure and fear and they give up on their life goals as soon as they encounter the first setback. The world that we are living in is extremely competitive and challenging, and people start to doubt themselves and their abilities when they come across failure.  

 Here are seven ways to make it through adversity and believe in yourself again:

Accept Your Current Situation. The first thing you need to do if you want to get back up and start believing in yourself again is to accept your current life situation. You have to make peace with how your life looks at the moment and what led to this situation that you are in. Fighting with your situation will not do you any good. Being resistant is pointless, so we must accept first. Only then will we have enough energy to change our life.

Use your power of choice.  No matter what your circumstances, you have the power to choose your direction and how to use your energy. You can choose to use your energy in positive, productive ways or in negative, destructive ways. Either way, the choices you make now determine your future. Practice choosing to focus your energy in positive directions until it becomes a habit. You will feel like you are living on purpose, taking charge of your direction rather than viewing life as something that just happens to you.

Accept what is, no matter what.  Practice not mentally labeling what happens as good or bad; just let it be. Accepting what is, instead of judging it, puts you in a state of inner non-resistance. You can still want to change things, but you have a calmer attitude, and any action you take to improve your situation is more effective. Allow things to be as they are rather than resisting them. Once you have done this you will find yourself more calmly thinking of effective solutions for problems that were overwhelming.

Be grateful.  Besides enhancing your everyday life, finding things to be grateful for can help you cope during hard times by giving you a wider perspective that helps you feel less overwhelmed by difficult circumstances. Practice focusing on what is going right. Notice things to be grateful for every day. Soon, finding something to be grateful for will become your automatic response to anything that happens. Eventually, you will find that your gratitude habit brings more joy into your life.

Neutralize the negative.  Sometimes our thinking is directed by our inner critic, who can say some harsh things. However, when you pay attention, you can recognize unhealthy thoughts and change them to more positive statements. Always question your negative thoughts, and practice changing them to positive, helpful statements. Once this becomes a habit, you will find that negative thoughts lose their power to upset you. Over time, you will be able to more easily let them go, and your mind will become more peaceful.

Return to the present moment.  As human beings, one of our favorite mental activities is to get lost in thinking about the past or the future. Remembering to bring your attention back to “now” sweeps the debris from your mind and returns you to a state of simplicity. As you go about your daily activities, keep your full attention on whatever is happening in the here and now rather than getting lost in thought. Once this becomes a habit, you will be more connected to your inner wisdom. You will notice that decisions are easier to make, and life begins to flow more smoothly.

Trust yourself.  It is better to trust in your own feelings and intuition — even if you make mistakes along the way — than to look outside yourself for guidance. Remember to always tune in to your inner wisdom for help. Once you make this a habit, you will feel less stressed and more positive. You will have a sense of inner security and self-contained confidence that is not based on the approval of others.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

There are going to be countless times in your life when you will feel down and you will feel like giving up. The voice in your head will tell you to stop and you will start to doubt yourself, but never listen to that voice. Be strong and keep moving on. Never give up on yourself. You have to keep on going and eventually you will reach your destination. And when you do, you will realize how much more powerful you are.

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