My Number One Self-Coaching Question for Dealing With Adversity

Written by: Jorinde Berben
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We’re currently on the way back from our trip in France, which was, in many ways, absolutely wonderful. Yet, there were some set-backs as well, one of which I talked about in my last post, but we were also confronted with fair bit of rain, gas stations that wouldn’t give us the gas we needed (we drive on a specific type of fuel) and, the cherry on top: a flat tire.

We al run into hurdles along our paths, and how we deal with them is instrumental in forming who we become as people. Imagine someone who’s life has not been marked by a single challenge, what kind of personality would this person have formed? How would they react in the face of adversity? How far would their empathy reach?
So if adversity is the way we grow as people, be it in an often unpleasant way, how can we deal with in the best way possible? How can we ‘make the most’ of our problems, perhaps even making them somewhat less problematic?

Over the years I’ve come to believe that things don’t just happen randomly. There is always something to be learned, so when problems arrive, after I’ve taken time to deal with the emotional repercussions and after I’ve dealt with the practical side of things, I ask myself the following question:

What’s there for me to learn here?

Whether you direct this question to the universe, God, your intuition or just your brain, the answers can be incredibly illuminating. They can point an arrow in the direction of things we need to work on, or something we need to realize, or someone we should be talking to. The answer can be a single lesson or many different ones. It can be easy to take care of or a seemingly impossible life-task. It has never yet let me down in giving me some kind of answer.

Sometimes the lessons are easy to grasp. My daughter forgot her shawl in the restaurant we went to; through this she learns to take better care of her things. A flat tire taught us to ask for help from someone we would’ve been reluctant to ask otherwise. A day of rain taught me to look through the drops and see that life is still incredibly beautiful, even when it’s wet.

Looking for the lesson isn’t always easy. There are times when our pain is too deep, when the event is too overwhelming or when we’re just not ready to see beyond our anger. At those times, it’s important to leave room for what needs to be felt. It may take years for us to be able to look at what we’ve learned from the death of a loved one, a divorce or a tragic accident. Perhaps we never get there, and that’s perfectly fine, too.

And then there are other times, where seeing what can be learned from an event actually makes the problem seem less pointless. It can douse seemingly random struggles in meaning and give them value. It can help us overcome.

I like to have choices in life. They are the base for my feeling of freedom. When it comes to the problems that arise in life, we often don’t have the choice over what happens exactly, but we do have a choice in how we handle things. Asking this one question is a choice you can make. It may just work for you, too!

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