December 10, 2017

The Bright Side of Adversity

The late Golda Meir, fourth Prime Minister of Israel said, “You will never find a better sparring partner than adversity.” Adversity is and always has been a part of life and living.

Looking on the ‘bright side of adversity’ suggests that when dealing with difficulty or hardship, we can choose to either become a victim or a victor of adverse conditions.

Adversity can be self-imposed based on individual choices, the result of the choices of others that impact us, or a result of natural causes. Whatever the source of adversity, it happens.

When discussing the subject of adversity with one of my daughters, she in effect wisely said, “Adversity is going to happen, so work on building faith, anticipate its occurrence, be ready, and be strong.” Thus the mantra—‘choose to be the victor of adversity, not the victim’.

Other words used to describe adverse conditions in our life include misfortune, bad luck, trouble, difficulty, hardship, distress, disaster, suffering, affliction, sorrow, misery, misadventure, accident, setbacks, crisis, catastrophe, tragedy, calamity, and trials.

Examples of life adversity include substance addiction, family abuse, divorce, the death of a family member or military companion, broken bones, the passing of a grandchild shortly after birth, a diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and an unexpected recent passing of a best friend to stage IV pancreatic cancer. I personally have experienced each of these. You no doubt have experienced or are experiencing your own set of adverse circumstances.

When faced with adversity, it seems wise to seek added strength to endure the difficult time. Perhaps it’s helpful to consider the question—‘what am I to learn from the adversity?’ You can view it as an opportunity to grow and further refine your character and emotional stability.

The following quotes speak positively to the topic of adversity:

“Adversity introduces a person to him or herself.” -Albert Einstein

“Adversity shows us where we stand in our faith.” -Anonymous

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” -Henry Ford

My message to the reader of this article is straight forward: Be strong, as perhaps you have always been, when faced with difficult moments in your life—health problems, difficulties in relationships, financial set-backs, loss of loved ones, overcoming an addiction or any other adverse condition impacting your life.

Become that victor and grow in character and wisdom when faced with adversity, thus becoming a valuable resource to others within your circle of influence who are in need of encouragement and added physical and emotional strength.

Regarding adversity and character development, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a prominent church leader said, “Adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps one to develop strength of character that comes in no other way.”

There are, or will be, times when we find ourselves on an unexpected path, dealing with a difficult moment or adverse condition. How we respond to such adversity can be the highlight of the legacy that we leave for others, including our posterity.

Continue strong in this aspect of life and living. As an aside, remember—the green light at the intersection means you have the right of way. It does not mean that it is necessarily all clear. Be patient and safe in your travels during the upcoming holidays.

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