“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
– Viktor Frankle, a WWII Austrian concentration camp survivor and author
Life is full of surprises! By now, I have realized that during uncertainty, losses, and failures, I have
somehow been able to keep moving forward by living a life of meaning and purpose. For me, it was in
the recovery from adversity that I realized I had a choice to make. I could remain angry, bitter, and resentful or I could choose to live a life of joy and satisfaction. It was clearly up to me.
Each time we overcome some form of adversity; we are better prepared to deal with the next challenge.
The ability to regain balance after adversity is an extraordinary feat. It comes from intentional resilience
building, letting go of self-created expectations and surrendering to our desires.
One might wonder, how does a person begin this resilience building journey? Well for me, it was a
choice between remaining hopeless and downcast, or taking the opportunity to reimagine what my new
life could look like. For me, it was a combination of faith, beliefs, support, and encouragement from others and a sense that my life had meaning and purpose. The mix of motivation and inspiration might
be different for you. Life has many choices, and you get to choose if you live a life of purpose and
resiliency versus negativity and regret.
If you, have ever experienced emotional pain you know there are choices to be made? Do you choose to
live in the pain and disruption, or do you choose to respond to the pain and move through it? Viktor Frankle, a WWII Austrian concentration camp survivor and author wrote, “When we are no longer able
to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” I have been reminded of this inspiration
time after time when disappointment and difficulty arise. I realize I can only control how I change; I
cannot change my spouse, friends, children, clients, and the list goes on. I get to choose my response to adversity.
Honestly, most people choose to keep living in the pain and tension, hoping it will all get better on its
own. They go on with their life even when no clear path presents itself. Timing is everything in the
transformation journey. Be patient with yourself. When adversity is at its greatest, our emotional capacity is at its lowest. The amount of time it takes to respond with resilience depends on how much
emotional capacity you have developed and stored. Sometimes it may take a person a day, week, month
or longer to learn how to cope and move on from the surprise. In time, we can learn how to smile and
laugh again. Life returns to a new normal.
Eventually, we do look back at life’s negative disruptions and notice our responses. My challenge to you today, is to look back at your life and to purposefully look for emotional growth. It may be more than you imagined. Hopefully, you have experienced growth that has opened doors, opportunities and relational connections that bring joy and satisfaction.
(To be continued …)