Discovering Character Through Adversity

It’s interesting to me how we as human being’s will do whatever it takes to avoid pain, and even more, endeavour to protect our kids from painful experiences. Our minds do a really good job of protecting us from probable dangers. We will forecast potential problems that could arise and make decisions based on a fear of what could happen. All the while not realizing the actual event we fear will more than likely never occur.

The problems lay in…

When we make decisions based on fear rather than love our road may become peppered with greater difficulties for all involved. For example, if you’re in a lifeless marriage and you feel stuck because you don’t want your kids to experience the pain of a divorce, I would ask you to notice where your choice to stay is coming from. Is a lie more loving than the truth?

In a powerful 2 min Youtube video by Gary Zukav (author/spiritual teacher) counsels a young fellow on “How to Make Tough Decisions with Love, Not Fear.” He suggests we distinguish what comes from fear and what comes from love. “What comes from love will feed you, will nurture you, will excite you. You’ll want to get up in the morning for it. And what comes from fear will dampen it. It’s your life and you need to decide…”

The answer is in making a choice based in love even if it means having a difficult conversation about the truth of what you’re experiencing with your partner. If you don’t let the other party know, you will continue to suffer alone and that’s not good for your emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health. Your unhappiness will be felt by your children, no matter how well you think you’re hiding it and they will never get to experience the absolute best of you!

What I’ve learnt…

In my feeble attempts to play creator, I have no doubt caused more pain and drama that could have been avoided by surrendering, instead of trying to control everything. What I noticed in myself and in my son over the years, is that strong character had been developed through adversity. Experiencing pain at an early age has made my son able to adapt to life and all it’s ongoing day to day challenges. He’s much more equipped then the child who has been bubble wrapped before going out the door. Sure there are challenges, but for the most part I have no major concerns that my son can’t handle life’s constant ebbs and flows. For me, adversity and pain have birthed an unyielding spirit, adaptability, empathy, compassion and most importantly, the ability to be authentic with those I love. Our problem is that we get so focused only on the pain, and forget to look at what we could become after the dust settles.

Look for the gold…

Yes, life can bring to us such gut wrenching moments. I believe strongly that there is always gold to be mined if we just take the time to look at things from a different vantage point. I urge you to look at experiences in the past where your mind had created fearful stories. Look at the truth of the situation. Did you make it through? Did you come out better?

I know for me, walking through the fire continues to bring me to higher ground, to places I would have never imagined possible. Isn’t it time to throw out the bubble wrap? who needs that stuff anyway…well, maybe recycle it 😉

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