Learning Life’s Lessons Through Adversity
Adversities are a part of living, and we choose the way we react to each adversity in our lives. I would be the last to deny that adversities can be exceedingly difficult. Many times they will be senseless, unfair, painful, and beyond our control to prevent. However, they come into our lives for a reason. We can choose to learn valuable lessons from each adversity we encounter.
Learning Valuable Life Lessons
Marvin J. Ashton (1915-1994) said, “Adversity will surface in every life. How we meet it makes the difference.”
Tough times, events, and circumstances can teach us much about ourselves and other people. They bring us face to face with our honesty, integrity, sense of personal responsibility, and ways of dealing with life’s blows.
Initially, we want to bury our hurt and grief deeply inside rather than experience painful emotions. However, before the pain and grief will subside, we must pick up the pieces. We must fully move through these feelings of discouragement, grief, and pain, allowing ourselves complete emotional expression before the pain will ease its hold.
In the process of allowing ourselves to feel our emotions completely, we learn valuable life lessons. We also discover how resilient and strong we are at any given point in our life. If we look closely at each adversity, we become wiser to life’s ways, our ways, and people’s ways. Each adversity we encounter can bring new insight into human nature.
As tough as life’s lessons sometimes are, each holds the seed of an equal or greater blessing, a pathway to new growth as a human being. It is our responsibility to learn each lesson. Otherwise, we will be handed a more difficult scenario of the same lesson again. The lessons we are meant to learn will reappear until we learn them completely.
Discovering Blessings and Wisdom
The more difficult the adversity, the more valuable will be the lessons it offers to teach. By exercising faith in a Power greater than ourselves, we discover we are not alone in any adversity. We learn to see blessings appear–sometimes years later–that we would not have received had we not been handed tough times.
To find these blessings, we must expect them and watch for them to appear. To reap their benefits, we must believe that we deserve them and accept them with absolute faith when they are offered to us. If we do not accept them, they will often times not wait around for us to change our minds.
Ask yourself the following seven questions, and write down your answers:
In what ways have I dealt with adversity that were effective and ineffective?
How have my ways of dealing with adversity affected other people and me?
Have I accepted responsibility for my life’s circumstances and the times that my actions have resulted in adversity?
What have my adversities taught me about my honesty, integrity, sense of personal responsibility, and my faith in other people and myself?
What have my adversities taught me about human nature and how the actions of other people tend to influence how I react to their behaviors?
How can I react to adversity in a way that will better allow me to grow wiser, more resilient, and more loving?
What is my personal faith that brings me the greatest strength in times of adversity?
The Choice is Yours
Even when life becomes painfully unfair, you have a choice. You can choose to learn the most valuable of life’s lessons now or later. You can reap the greatest of life’s rewards by choosing to see adversities as God-given universities. You can accept the blessings they offer to you.
Questioning yourself about each adversity will teach you more about yourself and about human nature. It will help you to learn the life lessons that will bring the only true measure of success: inner growth and a more principle-centered life. You will experience a stronger faith in the possibilities of the future.