Hope in the Midst of Struggles: 3 Strategies to Rise from Adversity
"All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming." Helen Keller
Adversity. A state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune (Merriam-Webster). However we describe adversity, how do we convey the emotional reality of hardship? The dictionary does a great job of describing adversity, but only one going through difficulty can convey the pain, the sorrow, and the grief associated with this emotional roller-coaster.
During this season of COVID we've all faced different struggles. Some have had to watch their children while adjusting to working from home. Having to be both parent and teacher, in addition to finding new ways to entertain the kids so that they are not bored out of their minds. Being afraid to go to regular doctors visits for fear of getting the virus. Adapting to constant changes and a completely new way of life. Thinking this time was going to be a sprint and not a marathon and accepting that we are in this for the long haul. Still for others there has been the heaviness of losing one's financial livelihood or not being able to be with, comfort, or say good-bye to someone they love.
Adversity comes in many forms. It is cruel and it does not discriminate. It can leave us paralyzed at times and take us through a process of anger, denial and depression that turns our world upside down. Through adversity, we may encounter a new identity. Yet, we may also learn, and grow, and experience more compassion toward others.
We all experience adversity. It is a part of life. In the midst of suffering, how do we cope with and move on from pain, loss, or grief? How do we cling to hope as we journey through incredible anguish? Is it possible to live and grieve at the same time?
In times of adversity, we need to have hope despite the suffering. We need to be active participants through our journey and understand that we can rise from adversity. In a popular TEDx Talk, Dr. Lucy Hone, resilience expert, lost her daughter in a car accident. She addresses three strategies she used that helped her through this difficult time in her life.
1. Understand suffering is a part of life.
2. Choose to focus on what you can change.
3. Ask, "Is what I am thinking or doing helping or harming me?"
Dr. Hone says that we can choose to focus on what we can control and that we can shift our focus to include what is good. By asking ourselves, "Is what I am thinking or doing helping or harming me?" we can have control over the decisions we make and find that we can live and grieve at the same time.
What adversities have you experienced and how have you found courage to move through the difficult times you've had to face in your life? As you look to the future, where do you find hope? What are the things that are in your control?
Here are some ways you can be an active participant for overcoming suffering.
1. Find hope in God and have a community of support.
2. Acknowledge vulnerabilities and ask for help.
3. Creating a regular routine which includes self-care can be vital to your well-being.
4. Count your blessing and focus on the good.
5. Accepting change can be difficult, but we can learn to be flexible, adapt to change, and have a growth mindset.
6. Keep moving and get out into the sunshine.
7. Take time to reflect, to feel, and process your emotions.
8. Schedule intentional time with your spouse, family, and friends.
9. Have hobbies outside of your career and do things you enjoy regularly.
10. Prioritize your health.
11. Don't compare your experiences to others.
"Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient." Steve Maraboli