Life is beautiful…yes…but in experiencing adversity it is easy for anyone to question the validity of that statement. As I grow older, I’m beginning to understand that you need to go through opposite experiences/situations in order to appreciate the value of good ones. The reality is that life swings like a pendulum ball…sometimes we live in great moments, then we transition to the ‘tolerable’ times and finally, we experience the tough periods. The element of change in life is what makes it a truly interesting journey. Being able to easily adapt to the volatile nature of life can help people make the best of any circumstances.
In my opinion, embracing the choice to have a fulfilled life primarily comes down to perception. I remember when I was 14, my mum bought me a tee-shirt that read ‘Attitude is Everything’. I was indifferent to the meaning of the message at 14, but I’ve started to see how it translates in my recent experiences. During my early twenties, I often found it hard to handle unfavorable situations because I couldn’t see any silver lining. My attitude towards adversity was negativity, which impeded my ability to grow as a person. But with the help of a strong support system and learnings, I’m working to change my orientation towards dealing with hardship.
The best tips that are helping me attain a healthier perspective towards life are:
- Don’t Sweat Disappointments
- Have a Positive Outlook
- Practice More Gratitude
Disclaimer!!! I’m not a therapist, self-help professional, shrink or motivational speaker. The tips below are based on lessons learned from my personal experiences and those of my beloved ones.
Don’t Sweat Disappointments
Imagine walking out of a graduate program interview feeling like a rock star. The interview went better than you could ever imagine. Your responses to the interviewers’ questions felt like a breeze. The preliminary reaction of the distinguished panel of interviewers to your performance further validated that feeling of success…you made a remarkable first impression on them. And you keep telling yourself ‘I got this’. A few days later, you receive an email stating that you didn’t get accepted to the graduate program. WHAT!!! You feel overwhelmed with grief. And it is normal to respond in this situation with sadness…it’s part of what makes us human. But it’s the orientation we choose to have after feeling disappointed that sets the precedence for how we succeed in life.
Disappointments can serve as an opportunity to develop or deprecate one’s self. I’ve experienced situations similar to the interview example (above) and it wasn’t till recently (3-4 years ago) that I stopped giving them more than their due. When things didn’t go as I expected, I’d get into some emotional rot and stayed there for weeks. I spent a lot of time and energy being so hard on myself because some people (experts) felt I wasn’t good enough for a position (or program). In retrospect, I let the opinion of a few people who I barely know sum up my self-worth and potential. And when I realized the detriment this reaction caused, I decided to start putting things in perspective. A disappointing outcome is just a minute challenge/setback in one aspect of life…it provides people with the chance to improve their strategy or reconsider dreams.
It took a lot of patience and perseverance to switch my mindset to better handle disappointments.
I will touch on the remaining tips next week.
What tips have helped improve your perspective towards life?