Here are a few home truths about challenges. Once you resonate with these both intellectually and emotionally, they will radically shift your perspective of any difficulty you face in life…
1. Challenges are normal
There is almost no time in your life when you won’t be able to point to some form of challenge you are experiencing, even if small and insignificant. Challenges are a natural part of your life experience. There is nothing wrong with having challenges.
2. If you expect that your life should have no challenges, you will be in pain
When you expect life shouldn't involve challenges, then you will resist any challenges that do arise, and you will make it mean something negative, such as there is something wrong you, with what you are doing and with your life. This will lead you to beat up on yourself and to feel hard done by, which is a waste of your precious energy. Challenges are not there for you to fight against, they are there for you to learn from as you flow with them.
3. Every person on this planet will experience challenges of some form
It’s easy to get caught in thinking you are the only one facing adversity, or the only one with unanswered questions, or the only one who hasn’t figured out how to create the balance, relationships, health, finances or career success you want. That is not the case. Everyone is evolving in their own unique way, at their own pace, and how it is unfolding for you is always just right.
4. Life is an evolutionary school and challenges are the classes you take
Over your life you evolve. You physically grow up. You emotionally develop. You psychologically change. This all occurs through your experiences in life and through interaction with other people. You cannot fully evolve without facing challenges. In this way, challenges are gifts for your growth. The more you face, the more capable you become, the more expertise you have, the stronger you are, the more tools you have in your inner toolkit, the deeper the wisdom you have to draw upon. Challenges add to the depth of your character and allow you to draw upon this in future situations.
5. The more challenges you face, the more you have within you to contribute to others
One of the greatest gifts out of challenges is how we learn from them and use that learning to support others who are facing the same type of adversity. People all over the planet are experiencing their own versions of challenge – in health, in fitness, in well-being, in career, in business, in finances, in sense of purpose, in self-belief, in self-love, in achieving goals, in relationships, in education, in everything you could possibly imagine. For them, there is no greater light when they are in the darkness than hearing from someone else who has gone through it and come out the other side, which reminds them of their inherent capacity to do the same. This is likely to be the reason you enjoy reading blogs here and at other personal growth sites, because you are accessing other people's first hand learning – there is a sharing of wisdom in this way. But never forget, you have something to share as well!
You can turn your own challenges into a contribution to help other people. There may be many other people in our world sharing their similar experiences, but no one will share it like you do. You are unique and there are people in this world who will only hear it from you. It may be your children you help with your stories of triumph, it may be your friend you support with your wisdom, it may be a family member or a colleague, or it may be a stranger on the street whom you encounter by chance.
6. Your ability to cope with challenges at any given time can vary depending on what else you are facing
If most areas of your life are going well, and you experience one challenge, you may respond quite peacefully and effectively to it. If at some other point in time, you face the same challenge but you are also facing many other challenges, you may not feel as equipped to deal with it. You have only a certain amount of physical, mental and emotional energy to give into the world every day and the more spread out it is, the less in control and capable you feel. You could beat up on yourself for not being able to cope with small things that ordinarily wouldn’t faze you, but always remember that your ability to cope with those things can be relative to what else you are facing at that time. It doesn’t mean you are not capable or strong or wise, nor does it mean you are regressing and not growing as a person. It simply means you are human and you have a lot on your plate to deal with.
When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure – Peter Marshall
7. Being successful doesn’t mean having no challenges
Being successful means being able to navigate your challenges with conscious awareness, growing from them, and being empowered to overcome them. If you become lost in the notion that you must get to some point in the future when you are “successful” (having everything you want and need) and that then you will have no challenges, then you are never going to feel at peace. This is because even when you attain all you desire inside and outside of yourself, and yet you still face challenges, you will feel that somehow you have failed or you still have further to go or somewhere to get to. That quite simply isn’t true. Success is not having no challenges, it is being conscious in the face of the challenges you do have.
8. Challenges don’t limit your possibilities
Your circumstances never dictate what is possible. Your circumstances never dictate your future. Everything you can conceive with your imagination can be created from where you currently stand. Not only is this despite your challenges right now, but quite possibly because of your challenges right now. Challenges have a strange way of proving to be major pivot points in life, which propel us into new understanding and new directions, unlocking something within us that helps us achieve our aspirations. This is only evident in hindsight, so requires your trust.
9. No matter what challenge you face, you have everything within you to face it and to move through it
You are not missing anything. Human beings have an incredibly powerful ability to face immense adversity and to walk through it with their heads held high, and to shine brightly on the other side. There is evidence everywhere to support this perspective, you only need look with eyes willing to see it. We are all born with that capacity inside of us. You have that. You don’t need to believe it, or even feel it right now, for this to be true. It is there whether you realise it or not.
10. Challenges often unlock the real meaning in your life
Time and time again, challenges prove to be triggers that help us to see what is most meaningful and valuable in our life. Health issues often help us to see the precious nature of life itself and the importance of our well-being, and may forge us closer in relationship to those we love. Career adversity might force us out of jobs or companies we never really liked and leave us in a situation where we suddenly re-evaluate what we are truly most passionate about. Relationship break downs help us to see what we really value the most in other people and make us consciously aware of what we want from relationships. From confusion comes clarity. From clarity comes renewed sense of purpose. Challenges show us the value of who we are and what is most meaningful in our life.
With love, Bernadette