Dealing with adversity

When the chips are down, what do you?

Maintain and adapt.

I have a personal motto:

Something I read when I was a kid: “Now I lay me down to bleed, only to rise and fight again.”

Breathe, slowly and deeply.

Pray for clarity.

Look deep inside as ask myself, “What am I really made of?”

Then I remind myself that it’s not where you stand during times of ease that makes you, it’s where you stand in times of trial and difficulty.

(6 yrs caregiving, 24/7, paralyzed loved one + teenaged birthmother)

I usually just give up.

Relevant Onion article.

A wise man told me when I was young: “The measure of the man is not the trouble he manages to get into, but the way he conducts himself once he’s there.”

I’ve often made use of this.

Accept that things might not get better very quickly. Forgive yourself for whatever failings you think you have.

Then, get up. Put one foot forward. Take a step. Take a breath; see if you can take another. Regardless, take another step anyway.

Start looking for the cheese dip!

Ahem. Seriously, I have one motto: keep swimming. I just put my head down and keep on ticking.

Fix what you can. Accept what you can’t fix. Find a way to laugh about it. Move on. Life is movement. If you’re not moving, you are not, in any meaningful way, alive.

Try to see the adversity for what it really is

Call the issues by their right names

Don’t over-react and don’t take a “worst case scenario approach”

Share your struggles with a trust worthy friend, not looking for solutions per se, but more of a sanity/reality check

Know that this adversity will much, much more than likely not never end.

Do just the minimum to satisfy your requirements until the adversity passes.

Try to sqeeze in at least a little fun each day

Lean on friends if necessary. You can help them when their day arrives.

If they are trust worthy, ask friends and family to pray for you.

Talk about it with God using your normal conversational voice, not afraid of asking questions.

Know that having one day survived this adversity, that one day you may be able to help another in a similar situation.

At least once a day before it passes, scream “Life!” at the top of your lungs.

Know that others are facing the same situation and that you are not alone.

Try to get enough rest each day. In the case of insomnia, read a book, move to the living room and lie down there, listen to some peaceful music or try sleeping with your eyes open.

I really like this.

For me, it’s standing up. I’ve hit plenty of obstacles and had plenty of crisis moments. I’ve fallen flat on my face, I’ve been down for the count thinking, ‘‘I can’t win.’’ I think it’s okay to give yourself space for those inevitable moments of crushing defeat, that’s fine… as long as, once you’ve caught your breath and wiped the snot off your face, you get back up and keep going.

I keep that Japanese proverb in the back of my head: ‘‘Fall seven times, stand up eight.’’

Philosophy drives me. I think of Nietzsche, and what he said about being worthy of your enemies, what he said about being worthy of your suffering. I think of Viktor Frankl, who said, ‘‘What is to give light must endure burning’’ (along with a thousand other brilliant and inspiring things.) I think about my heroes, such as Nelson Mandela and The Dalai Lama, who are my definition of perseverance in the face of adversity.

And then I stand up.

Think of what’s truly important. If I’m worried about finances, I remind myself that I’ve got my health NOW and that makes me put things in perspective.

Similarly, there is this.

I had a bit of a depressed and hopeless moment earlier this week and found that this song certainly helped. The lyrics are hard to understand so you can read them here. Quote from the lyrics:

Another good song for a little inspirational lift is Hothouse Flowers’ “It’ll be Easier In the Morning” -

"It’ll be easier in the morning
It’ll be easier in the day
Sun will shine on though your window
We got light to lead the way "

That some basic good advice there - things always look better in the light of day than they do when you’re worrying over them at three in the morning, and it doesn’t hurt to remember that.

In addition to perseverance and getting back up again, another key idea for dealing with adversity is simple patience. Time moves on, and life moves with it - good things don’t last, but neither do bad ones. Sometimes all you can do is wait.

All day long the Superior Man is creatively active.
At night his mind is beset with cares.

To be honest, I am pretty bad at dealing with adversity. My usual response is to ignore it and hope it goes away.

This does not usually have the desired result.

Depends. If it’s something small, I usually get irritated and might have a minor tantrum. If it’s major, I’ll remain calm and decide what I can do about the problem, take action on those things and try to stay cool about the stuff I can’t.

Shoot the hostage. Take her out of the equation. Go for the good wound and he can’t get to the plane with her. Clear shot.


Adopted an H. L. Mencken quote as a personal mantra in times of trouble: “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” Have realized that it’s how you can operate in a panic that is the real sense of character.
Also a recent mantra in terms of work (humanities academia) chaos: “Whatever happens here, no small children will die because of it.”