Adversity is Guaranteed but
Misery is Optional
May 10, 2021
by LaVerne H. Collins, PhD, LPC, LCMHC, NCC
You’ve seen those stories where an average person successfully bounces back from great adversity. Seemingly, against the odds, they know how to move forward and start all over again. While some people are practically destroyed by misfortune and are very good at remaining a victim, there are those who come back even stronger!
Why is it that some people seem to bounce back from any sort of adversity and others do not? The answer is resilience.
Resilience is the main character trait that seems to determine whether people are able to dust themselves off and get back into the game of life. Here's what research has shown. Resilient people are:
1. Optimistic about the future. Current challenges are viewed as temporary. There is a real expectation that things will improve in the future.
2. Accepting of bad times. They realize that bad things are bound to happen. They accept it with a minimal amount of emotional fuss. Consider that getting upset has never been a genuine solution for any problem.
3. Aware of their strengths. They have faith in God and faith in themselves. They believe they can be successful as they commit their knowledge and abilities to the Lord. Remember, it’s difficult to take action when you expect to fail.
4. Focused on what they can change. They don’t worry about the things that are out of their influence or control. They focus on changing the things that can be changed.
5. Active. Resilient people don’t wait for someone else to come and rescue them. They take action and do everything they can to help themselves.
6. Forward-looking and understand that you must sometimes take risks. Those with a high degree of resiliency look at the possibilities and are willing to take on a reasonable degree of risk to create an even better future. As my spiritual mentor taught me, "It's better to miss God by stepping out than to miss God by holding back." Why? Because holding back is not a demonstration of faith and without faith, it's impossible to please God.
Do you have these traits? Are you willing to do something to improve your resiliency?
Try these tips to strengthen your resilience:
1. Force yourself to focus on the positives. Think about all the things you have in your favor. Things are better than you think. Focusing on your shortcomings is a good way to stop yourself dead in your tracks. (See Philippians 4:18)
2. Think about the most resilient people you know. How would they handle your challenging situation? What can you learn from them? (See 2 Timothy 2:1-7)
3. Focus on solutions. Think about how you can solve your dilemma. Avoid wallowing over the dilemma itself. (See Proverbs 3:5-6)
4. Call on friends and family for support. Everything seems easier with a little help and support. Make new friends when you have the opportunity. The stronger your network, the easier your life will be. (See Proverbs 24:6)
Adversity is a fact of life, but misery is optional. You can choose how you’re going to handle that adversity. Just because you’ve struggled to overcome obstacles in the past doesn’t mean that pattern must continue. Develop your resilience to the highest possible level. Be too strong to worry and focus on solutions and the exciting future that awaits you!