How to Turn Adversities into Transformational Experiences

After an adversity or challenging situation, we’re often advised to “give it some time, and you’ll bounce back.” But I’d like to challenge you. Rather than being satisfied with “bouncing back,” learn to use your setbacks as opportunities to grow and make a difference in the lives of those around you It’s inevitable. At some point, you will face challenging circumstances. In that moment, it will feel like life is crumbling around you…that you’ll never be happy again. Reassuringly, that’s part of a normal process. The big decision in that moment is how are you going to handle it? Will you retreat, hang on, or blaze ahead?We’re often advised to “give it some time, and you’ll bounce back.” But I’d like to challenge you. Rather than being satisfied with “bouncing back,” learn to use your setbacks as opportunities to grow and make a difference in the world around you.

How can you turn adversity into a transformational experience? It calls for developing resiliency and fully participating in the following six stages. (Remember, there are no shortcuts.)

1. Build a comfort zone. We all establish systems for life…what we eat, how we dress, when we exercise, how we pay our bills and so much more. During the calm, we need to mindfully build a safe space that gives us the courage to face the world.

2. Experience disruption. It is gut wrenching to face adversities. That’s normal and natural. The key is to fully engage with your emotions, without trying to block them out. Everyone feels discomfort and pain at this stage. It doesn’t help to pretend everything is all right.

3. Feel out of control. For a time, you’ll struggle to make sense of your new situation. If you’re not careful, you might start retreating from life, drowning your feelings in non-productive ways, like mindless TV watching or substance abuse. You may go through denial and grief, as you come to grips with your new reality. It’s important to be kind to yourself, allowing yourself to adjust. Reach out to others for a dispassionate point of view, which will help you guard against overdramatizing or imagining what’s not real.

4. Shaken loose. Eventually something happens, or someone says or does something, that shakes you out of your despair. You see that life isn’t over. New ideas flood your mind. You let go of the life you had before and begin embracing the life you have now.

5. Embrace your new reality. At this stage you’ll experiment with your new sense of identity and place in the world. Try to learn new skills and activities that push your boundaries.

6. Establish a new comfort zone. You’ll reach a point where everything is okay again. But instead of settling in, this is where the challenge enters: use your new found knowledge and understanding to help others.

Personally, the adversities I’ve faced have brought me to serving the NT/AS community. They are also moving me to reach out to those who are suffering at the hands of unscrupulous individuals. That’s why I wrote my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS.” By reading it, you’ll learn my story and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I encourage you to download the first chapter for free.

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