Why Should You Be Thankful For Negative Experiences?
What do you do in the face of adversity when life seems to have you in a vise and is squeezing everything good and pleasurable out of you? You have heard the adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? Well, life’s challenges can also make you happier and even more successful. I know that sounds counter-intuitive in a way but it isn’t.
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology carried out a study that showed that individuals that have gone through negative situations end up happier and even healthier than those with no history of extreme tragedy or adversity.
Again this doesn’t sound logical. Think about it for a second. What is a flu shot? You are injected with doses of the actual diseases to allow your immune system to learn how to handle them so you do not get sick. This is true for other vaccines or certain antidotes, like those for snake bites. if this holds true for our bodies why not for our emotional bodies?
As a human being, I am sure that you would rather not have to face trials and tribulations however it is inevitable. But isn’t it nice to know that when you do there is a light at the end of that dark lonely tunnel? A great example of this is the well known biblical ‘overcoming adversity stories’ of Job. He is tested with the loss of everything in his life; riches, family, health. Eventually, he is rewarded.
Staying positive in the wake of negative experiences can be difficult to do. We all have a tendency to go into victim mode when faced with adversity or life tragedies, or at least a “woe is me” attitude. Wallowing in negativity will send you into a tailspin of the same.
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Why Suppression Does Not Work
The Law of Attraction states that “What you focus on grows”. Basically, that means whatever you set your mind on, also called setting intentions, will manifest. The laws Physics also states that once something is in motion it stays in motion unless acted upon by some other outside force.
When it comes to energy, and everything is energy, I can assure is that like attracts like.
This holds true for emotions, especially negative emotions. Why suppress them? All you are doing is staying in that negativity which will bring you more of the same. As an example, if I tell you to not think about a giraffe the first thing you do is conjure up and image of a giraffe in your mind. By fighting against negative thoughts you just keep picturing negative thoughts. So why try to suppress it?
Thoughts are things. They come and they go. There is nothing that says that you need to retain ant specific idea that comes into your mind’s eye. Again if you try to force it out it will remain. Most of you also do have something in your emotional make up that says that when you experience loss you must feel bad about it. If you allow yourself to notice this, accept it it will then dissipate.
Learning To Take The Good With The Bad
In the study mentioned earlier, it speaks to accepting the bad as well as the good. This makes for a happier more productive “you”. With the attitude of “this too shall pass” as opposed to “why won’t this pass” or “when will this pass” your acceptance will allow you to move on.
I would like to recount a wonderful Buddhist story about a farmer who receives a horse.
“An old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.
“Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.
“Maybe,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.” (sourced from http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/zen.html)
There may be good or bad in everything so in actuality there is no differentiation between good or bad. It is your attitude towards it. Do you choose victim mode or not and just learn from it.
Cultivate Resilience In The Face Of Adversity
Adversity creates growth. Without it, you would never learn or experience the lesson of being human that you chose to experience as a spirit before you came into this body.
As human beings, you have the tendency to move away from pain as opposed to going towards positivity. In essence, pain is the stimulus for experiencing growth. You will not change a circumstance, a job, a relationship, where you live until the pain of remaining in the same state is too much to take any longer. Complacency is the enemy of growth.
Hindsight has 20/20 vision. When you examine your life you will see that every problem created some form of solution. The solution felt good; until it didn’t. The trick to it is to become resilient to pain. Allow it flow through you and do not hold on to it just like the Buddhist farmer.
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You can learn to deal with the challenges that come your way in the face of adversity and tragedy in your life that can be a great strength. There are ways to do this that may help you.
Here are a few ways to practice how to react in the face of adversity and live your life to the fullest:
- Stop Suppressing Your Negative Emotions… Suppressing negative thoughts or ideas, avoiding negative emotions will only bring on more. Feel it and let it go.
- Wallow In Negativity… The way to desensitize the pain threshold is to wallow in it. If you feel depressed FEEL and ACT depressed. Lay in bed for the day. Allow your emotional, physical and mental bodies to pass through the stage. This may seem to be counter-intuitive but it does create resiliency and this will aid you in life.
- Be Your Own Hero… Depending on outside forces or people to make your life complete or better will only lead you to eventual disappointment.
You may have a tendency to give all your power away when it comes to your self-worth. This puts the control of your happiness and ambition for success in another person’s control. Own your life.
- Cultivate Symbiotic Relationships… Surround yourself with like-minded people who will tell you the truth. These are the people who will help you grow. A “yes” persona will only placate you. Again they will lull you into a false sense of security. You should not “need” anyone to help you be happy. This should come from within. Be with people that feel the same. People who lean on you for their happiness are emotional drains and can never achieve true happiness so failure is imminent.
- Resist Comfort… If you are searching for comfort in your life stop. Comfort is the enemy of emotional growth. Comfort is like a drug. All you want is the next fix so you don’t lose that sensation. When you find total comfort in your life you will die. This happens to retirees. They work all their lives and then they stop because they feel they have arrived at their goal.
What happens is in a few short years that are gone. I met a mature lady years ago in her late nineties and was awake and alive. I asked her about her recipe for such a wonderful, long life. She stated, ” my intention has always been to wear out not rust out”.
What Is Adversity?
By now you will understand that adversity can be productive in a sense. Yet there are times in your life that you will need help. You will need some form of support. Nothing wrong with that! This when someone like our guest, Christy Monson, can help.
Christy Monson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who practiced in Nevada and Utah for many years prior to her retirement. But like I mentioned before happy successful people don’t stop. Neither has she. She is still helping people. Christy is an avid author of some amazing books that help people live their lives to the fullest. Her latest is ‘Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy: The Keys to Peace and Joy When Facing Crisis’. The title speaks for itself.
Even though this is true we still looked to Christy for some useful and sage advice about how to handle tragedy and crisis in their lives.
Here are some of the questions we ask Christy to field on what to do in the face of adversity :
- How do you define tragedy?
- What are some of the symptoms we experience after a disaster?
- Does trauma impact us physically and mentally?
- What is the healing process like?
- So if I practice mindfulness and breathing every day, I’ll heal myself?
- Is there more to creative visualization than just imagining yourself in beautiful places?
- You’ve talked about the mental processes. What about bodywork after experiencing trauma?
- What about the grief process after death? What is a healthy way to grieve?
- What other techniques to do you talk about in your book?
- I notice you have a quick pick up near the end of your book. What’s that about?
Remember always you are the light of the world and you deserve to be treated and treat yourself as such regardless of the circumstances. Learn how to stand strong in the face of adversity even when it seems like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
Join us on this episode of Unlocking Your Truth, What Do You Do In The Face Of Adversity. Regardless of your position in life at some point, you will be faced with issues that will be challenging to say the least. Wouldn’t you rather be prepared for these inevitabilities? Listen in as we have a real heart to heart with Christy Monson on this subject.
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