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Overcoming Adversity

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By Dr. Ca Trice Glenn | February 12, 2018

Everyone faces adversity. Adversity can come in the form of unwelcomed events or combative personal attacks, but everyone will encounter an adversarial situation at some point in their life. The impact of adversity escalates when viewed as an attack to our harmonious way of being or living in the world. Adversity often manifests as setbacks, failures, conflict or loss and typically arrives unexpected in our lives. However, adversity when galvanized has the potential to instigate growth and positive change.

Setbacks and failures do not have to be permanent realities. How we face challenges has a lot to do with how we perceive and interpret them. When we face difficulties our first thoughts might focus on the negative impact of the situation. Sometimes we get stuck in the feelings of sadness or hurt, questioning why this situation happened to us at all. This is usually a fruitless expedition. Trying to understand the “whys” of adversity rarely yield relief or change. Instead, getting caught up in the “why did this happened” thoughts can prolong the suffering in a situation.

How we interpret or reframe adversity offers the greatest potential for growth. To reframe a situation means to reimagine it with a different lens. Consider this scenario, the entire city is shutdown one day for inclement weather and no one can go into the office to work. One way to view this scenario is with frustration, because you have a big project at work and this day will set you behind with your plans. However, you could choose to reframe the situation by looking at the increased rest you will gain to help you think creatively once you’re back in the office or you could choose to dedicate that unexpected time to reconnecting with family and friends. Furthermore, you could choose to work from home that day and experience the benefit of working in your comfortable pajamas and favorite chair. To reframe adversity we make a choice to focus our attention on the usefulness of each situation and how we can grow from it.

In the end, we overcome adversity when we choose to acknowledge the struggle, choose healthy ways to cope, choose to grow from the experience and make an action plan. Adversity will happen. Unexpected and unfortunate situations will occur in life, but we have a choice about how we interpret and use them to help us grow.

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