overcome pain and adversity

7 Strategies To Help You Overcome Pain and Adversity in Your Life

This article was last updated on January 10, 2016

Life experience is what defines our character, even if it means getting your heart broken or being lied to. You know, you need the downs to appreciate the ups. Going on the adventure or taking that risk is important – Nev Schlman

I have felt discouraged and defeated many times in my life. I have had life deliver blows to me that have knocked me to the ground. The pain and the feelings of hopelessness and despair have consumed my life for many months.

I wondered if I would ever survive or if I would live have a life where I felt happy and safe.

When I look back at those catastrophic events in my life, though they were painful at the time, they were the catalysts for me to change my life.

For us to live our lives to the fullest the only way we can achieve this is by overcoming the challenges that life throws at us. We have to experience the pain, the betrayal, the adversity, and feelings of hopelessness, grief and despair – because how else do we learn about whom we are and who we want to become?

There is no other way for us to learn how to be resilient, courageous, hopeful and optimistic about our future.

My healing and recovery from these life events didn’t just happen over night. It took a long time for me to rebuild my life, my strength, my confidence and my hope.

At first I did not know where to begin to heal my life however I knew that I only had to take one step at a time and that is what I did. As result I ended up with 7 key strategies that eventually became the stepping-stones from which I rebuilt my life.

I would like to share with you these 7 key stepping stones as they may help you find your courage to step out and start rebuilding your life, to the point where you are resilient hopeful and optimistic about your future.

7 Strategies To Help You Overcome Pain and Adversity in Your Life

It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself. Dr Leon C. Meggison

In todays world of constant change it is hard to hold on to who you are and manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. The one thing that is constant in our lives is change.

Resisting change will fuel the negative energy that keeps you broken and discouraged about life.

Instead of fighting the inevitability of change, learn how to accept it. Embrace change and know by doing this your life can only get better.


2. Embrace and use your Power of Choice

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, or pain. To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but to embrace it. – Kevyn Aucion

Using your power of choice will enable you to change your approach to life from one where you languish in pain to one where you flourish with joy and hope.

Using your power of choice empowers and strengthens your ability to take action and to make decisions.

Your power of choice is a gift within you and if you choose to use it, it will transform your life.


3. If you don’t know what to do ask for help

Asking for help does not mean we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honestly and intelligence. -Anne Wilson Schaef

When we are feeling so broken inside, we want to hide away from the world. Sometimes it is because we feel embarrassed or we believe that people won’t understand what we are going through.

The support, advice and encouragement from others helps us to overcome adversity and solve our problems in life.

It is the energy and wisdom from friends, family and supporters that fuels our courage and our desire to take action to change our lives for the better.

woman, overcome pain and adversity

4. Focus on the thoughts that serve you well not the ones that don’t

 Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. – Pope John XXIII

Your thoughts fuel how you feel about your life. When you feel discouraged and defeated in life, it will be your negative thoughts that will dictate your feelings of sadness, disillusionment and unhappiness.

The key to managing your negative thoughts is to practise trying to distance yourself from these thoughts and observe them rather than automatically react to them.

Identify those thoughts that will draw you in and create confusion and inertia within you. Accept that these thoughts do not serve you well and work towards having more control over them.

Label the thought you are having rather than paying attention to its content. Observe your thoughts and if you notice a thought that is judging (how good or bad the situation is) label it judging.

If you are criticising yourself for doing something wrong then label that thought “criticising”. Then ask yourself how long you want to spend criticising and blaming yourself. My suggestion is that you spend zero time doing this activity.


5. Focus on what brings your joy

Find a place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. – Joseph Campbell

When you are feeling pain, despair, frustration and hopelessness it is easy to forget the good things that are happening in your life. In fact, if you are consumed by these feelings you will start to believe that there is nothing good in your life.

Focusing on what in your life is good and what brings your joy is an important step to you changing your life. The more you focus on the good in your life the more hopeful you become.

Positivity and hope are contagious and the more you celebrate this the better you will feel about your life.

6. Remember to be hopeful about your future

 The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.  – Abraham Lincoln

It is understand able that when you feel broken in life you can become consumed by the concern that this is what your life will be like forever.

It is hard to be hopeful about the future when you feel so much pain and heartache. The other thing about healing our heartache and pain is that often we just don’t know how to begin.

For me the one thing that helped me to heal was to try and keep hopeful about my future. It was important for me to keep perspective on that fact that what was happening in my life at the time was not a part of my future life. That tiny bit of hope I had about my future was enough for me to slowly start to heal – step by step.

7. Accept that life is a mystery

The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved; it is a reality to be experienced. – Jacobus Johannes Leeuw

Life is a funny thing and the more we fight and resist it, the harder it is to live our life that way we want to live it.

Accepting and embracing the mystery of life allows us to heal and look at our pain as only one chapter of many chapters in our life.

Life throws us curve balls. It tests us and challenges us. We survive and thrive in life by embracing the challenges so that we can grow and live courageous and resilient lives.

Instead of fighting and questioning life and blaming yourself for how you feel, take a deep breath and remember that life is a mystery. It is what it is.

Your role in life is to embrace it – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Use these 7 stepping stones to help you live your life to the fullest – resilient, courageous, and joyful.

“Ester asked why are people sad. “That’s simple”, says the old man. “They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if another person creates it. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas, and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And, that is why they forget their dreams” Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Photo sources: Alex Guerrero

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