Adversity is a Fact of Life
Life will always throw you curve balls. Though it might, at times, feel like you’re getting more than your share, those curve balls are lessons masked in adversity. You’re challenged to learn and grow in different ways each time you’re knocked out of kilter, and have to navigate an obstacle, or overcome a challenge.
Sometimes it’s a simple thing like a blocked road with clearly posted detour signs. You might reach your destination later than planned, but don’t have to figure out the route that’ll guide you safely, if not smoothly around the obstacle. Often, you’re challenged to either dig into your existing bag of tricks to navigate the obstacle, or you’ll need to create a new tool, or learn another skill.
Growth might at times be uncomfortable, or even painful, but each experience makes you stronger, wiser, and more creative. Adversity, and often the accompanying pain are the best teachers. While you’d likely never choose to learn as a result of adversity, there’s no doubt you either learn, or get knocked sideways by tougher challenges later on.
Learn the Lesson Sooner Rather Than Later
There’s always a tool or skill you need to acquire at this juncture of your life, and refusing to learn isn’t an option. The Universe can be insistent. The more you ignore its messages, the more intense, and painful they become. I learned the hard way to pay attention, and heed the message the first time.
It would be great if you could learn all your lessons in your own time, but let’s face it, there are times it’s all you can do to get out of bed, much less willingly traverse a rough, peril-filled road. You have to get knocked out of your warm, cushy chair, incur a few bruises, and find your way back blocked before you’ll pick up your virtual rucksack, engage your brain, and navigate unfamiliar territory.
You more adventurous types will likely get up and moving faster, and with more enthusiasm most of the time, but still have your share of hard knocks to show for the progress you’ve made so far. Those who fear, and resist change have a harder time of it, most likely because they fail to heed the messages, and later warnings as they’re repeatedly tossed around. They’ll crawl back to the beanbag chair they call life, even if it means more pain and discomfort than if they heeded the warning it was time to move on.
Stagnation is Not an Option
Despite yourself, the world keeps changing. Going back isn’t really an option because what was no longer exists in the form you remember. Going back instead of forward also means you’re going to enjoy being tossed on your butt again sooner rather than later. Every time you try to crawl back to what was, there’s less of it to support you, until it’s no longer recognizable as the comfortable haven you remember.
Life wasn’t meant to be lived in your comfort zone. As time goes by, you’ll receive clear messages to leave what is to discover what you can be with a little effort in a new direction. You’ll find staying still less and less comfortable until you either move on willingly, or no longer have a safe, comfy place to return to, and must move on, enduring unnecessary pain and misery until you find another temporarily safe haven.
There was a time I believed growth and expansion were optional. In truth, if you don’t learn, grow, and evolve, the only other option is to slowly wither and die. If you spend your life sitting on the couch eating junk food, and watching mind numbing TV, both mind and body will eventually give up on you, and cells in both body and mind will atrophy until they no longer respond to requests to move or think. If you ask me, that’s a pretty terrifying way to leave this life cycle. I’d rather know I learned, grew, moved, and evolved up until the very last moment; the very last breath I take.
Keep Showing Up
Much of the time, it might seem like you’re standing still, or fighting hard to keep ahead of the falling rocks. In truth, you’ve learned more than you know, and are stronger than you realize.
If you don’t believe me, take a quick look over your shoulder and see how far you’ve come, and how much smarter you are now than you were a few short years ago. You’ll be amazed at the enormous span of space and time between what was, and where you are now.
Not everyone is meant to change the world in a huge, significant way, but your contributions matter; maybe not to the entire world, or even a nation, but even your smallest ripples matter to someone, and make a difference in at least one life, and likely far more than you imagine.
Err On the Side of Authenticity
The best advice I ever received was to keep showing up. It doesn’t matter if you show up in gym shorts, bare feet, and bare faced, or dressed to the nines, every hair in place, with your face perfectly made up.
In the last few years, I’ve leaned heavily towards authenticity. Only you know which extreme, is closer to your true self, and can make the adjustments which put you in the exact place where the true you comes shining through.
Being authentic doesn’t come easily. The world wants to beat down anyone who doesn’t conform; doesn’t play by those ever-changing, inscrutable rules which ensure failure no matter how hard you try to figure them out, and comply.
Tear Down the Walls, Make Your Own Rules
The reality is, the biggest rewards never lie in conformity. Only the rule breakers, the bravely vulnerable, the imperfectly perfect reach the mountaintop of their goals and dreams, where they get the opportunity to dream even bigger, and climb even higher.
The question is, are you brave enough to set rules of your own you actually understand and can follow? Can you forgo fitting in long enough to discover by being your authentic self, you’ll attract those with whom you fit in naturally, organically, and comfortably?
The best kept secret is as long as you keep pursuing acceptance by following someone else’s rules, you’ll always be an outsider without true support and friendship. The more you hide behind walls and masks where no one can see you are as flawed as they, the more those walls become your prison.
Make Friends With Adversity
Escaping your self-made prison will be painful at first. You’ll find yourself alone, battered, and bleeding, thinking you’ve reached the end, and may as well give up. Yet once those walls come down, and you admit you need help; that you don’t have it all together, your tribe will emerge from the sidelines where they patiently awaited the moment when you could either come out of the shadows or perish.
Adversity is, in truth, your friend. Often, it forces your hand, making you let go of outdated beliefs and see the world for the perfectly imperfect place it is. Striving for perfection when you don’t even know all the rules governing the concept is, as far as I’m concerned, an enormous waste of effort, and worse, potential. Adversity is an opportunity to break the mold, and allow your unique self to come out and play, and decide you’re never going back to the way things were.
Try it. I suspect you’ll enjoy it far more than you believe while hiding behind those dubiously safe walls, doing your best to conform.
Grateful for Every Lesson, Every Challenge
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for the adversity life has shown me, challenging me to be better, stronger, smarter, and above all, true to myself.
- I’m grateful for painful lessons which have taught me more than the gentle ones.
- I’m grateful for opportunities to step out of my own cocoon, and live life to its fullest.
- I’m grateful for the people in my life who love my imperfect self, and who relate to many of the challenges traumas, and successes I do.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, life, adversity, lessons, strength, tenacity, resilience, wisdom, knowledge, vulnerability, peace, health, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income.