Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards. ~Vernon Saunders Law
Everyone experiences hard times, and they run the gamut from a hang nail to a devastating situation, depending upon who’s doing the interpretation. Roget’s International Thesaurus notes descriptions such as dilemma, complication, misfortune, catastrophe, disaster, and many more.
What’s interpreted as a hard time is unique to each person. And this depends upon each one’s past experiences and their ability to deal with problems. A crisis to one person may be a snap to another. So to me, hard times are whatever feels like hard times to you.
Those challenges are part of the package, and we can’t live without them. But when one happens to you, do you ever ask yourself why? What brings them into our life? Some stem from outer situations, while others may be our own doing. Or their presence could be just the difference between opportunities or handicaps, help or going-it-alone, or the belief system we formed from childhood messages. But whatever the reason, they can be difficult to get through.
For some, hard times come through lack vs abundance in their environment. In many deprived countries, and some areas in our own country, there are those who spend their whole lives trying to survive. There are always a few who rise above it, but for most of them it doesn’t end. And believe it or not, the majority are not lazy, good-for-nothings. They’re born into adverse conditions and will never have a way out.
Others even attribute their hard times to superstitions or karma. And there’s nothing they can do short of finding a guru to release them from whatever’s got a hold on them. So everything becomes a crisis and hangs on for a long time.
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” ~C. S. Lewis
Most of us are just ordinary people tending to our work, relationships, finances, health, spirituality, various commitments, etc. And we move along through life. Then adversity enters and knocks us side ways. We see it, we know what’s going on. But sometimes we get so consumed with the problem we don’t question the reason it’s there. And that reason could be an important lesson.
“The hardest lessons to learn are the ones your soul needs the most.” ~Kelly Cutrone
We come into this life with missions to learn, grow, serve, identify and use our gifts, and express our God given potential. Fulfilling these missions means dealing with hard times. So how can you deal with them and shorten their time, so you can fulfill your potential in a happy life?
Non-Resistance: Usually when a challenge first appears, we just want it to go away, so we respond with resistance. But the more you resist, the stronger the challenge becomes, and it’s not going anywhere. So you need to set a healthier approach from the beginning.
Acceptance: Here acceptance means that you acknowledge the presence of a challenge–it is what it is–and you will do everything you can to resolve it. It may take a while, but you accept that you are patient, strong, and capable.
Clarify: Clarify the main problem, and be specific with a plan. You may need plan a, b, c, etc. Ask if there’s a lesson in it for you, and listen for answers and guidance. You may not hear anything at first, but stay alert.
Action: Begin your plan with confidence and reassurance. And get help if you need it. Give it your best, don’t drag your feet, and be patient.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation; we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~ A Teacher
If hard times hang on, in spite of your efforts, it could be for one of two reasons.
First: As Pema Chodron says, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” What? A useful message? A lesson? Listen for an answer.
Second: What is there within you that may need changing? See yourself with mind and heart, and make whatever changes. Know that you can live with that hard time in peace with yourself and the challenge. A happy life is worth it.
I wish you many sunshiny days!
Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer
(My books are on Amazon. Just click book!)