I used to avoid adversity like the plague. It was not my friend.

I would go to great lengths to keep the peace, avoid conflict, and maintain the status quo, often to my own detriment. I did not want to face the chaos and admit to myself that something needed to change.

But, eventually I became really, really tired. I couldn’t hold on anymore.

The damn broke and a flood of life lessons swept over me, releasing me from the self-imposed prison of denial.

Photo by paul morris on Unsplash

The shadows define the light

After recovering from the initial tsunami of chaos, I decided that I needed to take a closer look at the dynamics of adversity.

Why does struggle exist?
Struggle exists for growth and expansion.  If we aren’t facing our shadows then we are denying ourselves the gifts of adversity.

How does adversity relate to pursuing our goals and what is the meaning of it?

The process we go through in realizing our goals is the whole point. The challenges we face and transcend provide invaluable learning.  Those are the true jewels of pursuing anything.  Arriving at our destination is just the icing on the cake but not truly the most valuable part of the journey.

So, After much study, research, trial and error, I came up with a guide to navigate the rough patches. It works unfailingly for me. 

A Guide for Navigating Adversity

1) Remember that the adversity has definitive purpose.

It’s not a mistake. It’s part of the process.

Can you see the stars in the light of day?  No, you cannot.

This analogy really solidifies for me the purpose of dark times and learning experiences. The darkness defines you.

It creates a better version of you and brings you closer to your desires. We must work through obstacles to become the best version of who we are.

2) Practice embracing the challenge.

Don’t avoid adversity.  When it arrives on your doorstep, you might as well dive right in and embrace it. Get excited about evolving and the benefits this brings to you. I found out the hard way that even if you find a way to circumvent it this time around, challenge needs to be there to help you move forward and grow. So, surprise! It’s going to going to come back. Life works in cycles like tides of the ocean and seasons of the year, the lesson will always return until you decide to face and move through it.

3) Know that it’s always an inside job, so choose to be happy and at peace regardless of what you are facing.

The most expedient method of moving through challenge is to choose to be happy and at peace regardless of what you are facing.

I know, I know. I can hear your groans from here. Easier said than done. But bear with me here. I know that this is the most difficult ask when you are in the middle of chaos. Believe me, I know.

But, your emotions are the fuel for navigating your life. Misery keeps you stuck in the far right-hand lane behind the tractor going 35 mph, and joy allows you to move to the far left-hand lane where there is no speed limit and all options are possible.

I think of it this way. You don’t look in a mirror with a frown on your face, and say, “I will not smile until I see a smile in the reflection!” Reality is a mirror reflection of your state of being. You must smile amidst the challenge, and then you will see the adversity dissipate.

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

4) Stay empowered.

It’s always tempting to look outside of yourself and point the finger at someone who must be to blame for what you are experiencing. The truth is, though, that it’s no one’s fault. Adversity just is. It’s there to serve you in your evolution.

5) Don’t invite your inner critic to the party.

Just as no one else is to blame for your experience, you also aren’t at fault for the adversity you face. You haven’t failed. Self-loathing is not only detrimental to your state of mind, but also just not true. The truth is that difficult times are a part of life and will happen no matter how “perfect” you try to be. It’s happening, either way. Let that big, meanie in your head go.

6) Laugh early and often.

Laughter is medicine for the soul. I break out a ridiculous clip on YouTube of a movie, usually starring someone like Will Ferrell, that makes me laugh so hard I have tears in my eyes. It creates a world of difference.

7) Focus on the simple pleasures

This is a practice that I work on every day, but it’s especially helpful when I am embroiled in turmoil. For example, I find moments to observe the parts of my life that truly matter; the love and laughter I experience with my family, friends and relationships. I watch in deference as my eight-year old daughter reminds me of the simple pleasure in playing make-believe with her. These are the moments that matter the most.

Life is crazy, insane, hilarious and sometimes downright ridiculous. It’s a ride. It’s a vast range of emotions, oftentimes all converging at once. But, this is the ride we signed up for to know ourselves on a richer and deeper level.

Love all of it, because it is all happening just for you.

Originally published at angelsevolution.com