In this article we be discussing how to overcome life’s obstacles and hardships. Our topics will include:
- What does it mean to be resilient?
- How to overcome loss
- How to overcome disappointment
- How to overcome trauma
- How to overcome broken dreams and disappointments
- How to cope with the death of a loved one
- How to overcome addiction
- How to develop great parenting skills
- How to learn self acceptance
- How to overcome loneliness
Are you wondering how others can be resilient through hardships and seem to be able to bounce back? Feeling completely at a loss as how to get life going again? Are you exhausted, unable to make plans, listless, convinced you are a no-good person with no hope for living a productive and positive life? Who on earth would want to be with me? I’m a dud! Are you having a hard time overcoming the hard things in life?
Follow these 10 Resilience Steps to Overcoming Life’s Obstacles and Hardships.
1. What does it mean to be resilient?
Wait! I have good news! There is within you a spirit waiting to bounce back, waiting to be ignited. In Isaiah 40:31, the Hebrew prophet wrote ”But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Being resilient means that when we do fail, we bounce back. We have the strength to learn the lessons we need to learn, to change courses, to adapt to change and to move forward with perhaps adjusted goals.
Basic living skills are developed in childhood. When a child does not learn to be resilient, to adjust behavior to make disappointments be easily replaced with alternate plans, this habit may continue into adulthood.
Although a basically optimistic attitude and a seemingly healthy resilience appear to be innate characteristics of some children, the wise parent will guide a child of another disposition to develop these characteristics.
Learning how to develop resilient building skills is well worth the effort for new parents. Life will not always be perfect for the child, and the parents will not always be there for them.
Guiding a child to an understanding of faith in a loving God will set the foundation for becoming a well -adjusted human being.
2. How to overcome loss
Dealing with ordinary losses contributes to growing lifetime skills. In her book Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst talks about the losses we experience beginning with birth and the trauma of living outside the womb, the inevitable losses of growing up, and even the loss of youth, health, etc., coupled with the unexpected trauma of accident, disease and relationships.
She makes the case for learning from the ordinary how to cope, readjust, make a calm observation and optimistically retry or readjust in a manner producing even joy in one’s life. In other words, we are forced to learn how to develop resilient building skills.
Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, unforgiveness, or significant sources of stress. These may include family and relationships, health problems, finances, even irrational fears or unexpected setbacks.
3. How to overcome disappointment
Dealing with disappointments in a mature and productive way is a sign that we are learning how to develop resilient building skills. Resilience is the psychological quality that allows a person to fail, to be knocked down by the adversities of life, and yet make a come-back perhaps stronger and more determined than before.
Returning with resolve, determination, and once again goal-oriented, the healing has taken place and the skills made stronger. A can-do attitude exists. A person of faith in God is given a boost with the promise in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Claiming that promise and God’s help makes goals more attainable.
You are not alone. Also, make a conscious effort to be around positive people. Constant company with negative people is a downer. Joining a group of volunteers with a purpose of helping people is conducive to making each of us step out of the darkness of despair and hopelessness.
Having a concerted effort and goal of providing for the needy or hurting binds us together as friends and gets us “our of ourselves.”
4. How to overcome trauma
Some trauma is inevitable in each person’s life. From a personal tragedy to a global crisis, there are many causes for traumatic stress. Coming to grips with the fact that not everyone has the same opportunities, gifts, talents, health, income or even luck if you will, is a sign of the well-adjusted person. One who sees life in the big picture, accepts the things we cannot change, and adjusts to the traumas that come into everyone’s life.
Learning how to develop resilient building skills early in life determines the length of adjustment time and the rate of success in coping with trauma, be it physical, mental or relational. Those with skills can remain calm, assess the situation and make sound judgement calls.
Others, less prepared, may be tempted to cover the hurt with drugs leading to addiction or with behavior that ruins previously good relationships. It is imperative for each of us to work early on these skills – or at least play catch up in order to be ready for whatever comes our way. Professional counseling may well be in order to help the traumatized to move forward.
5. How to overcome broken dreams and disappointments
Learning how to develop resilient building skills prepares us for surviving the disappointment of broken dreams without cratering. The person who can only be happy when things transpire just as planned or dreamed, notwithstanding that the person may have contributed to the failure of the dream’s culminating as envisioned, is in for a life of disappointments.
These may present as exhibiting blame, anger and unforgiveness. Inability to see one’s own faults and the inability to see both sides of an issue, inhibits resolution of a problem. Maturity and development of resilience prepares a person for taking a step back with a calm resolve, correctly determining the cause of the broken dream, and readjusting the course rather than collapsing.
Introducing some levity into our lives also gives us balance. Laughter needs to be a part of our lives. We connect through laughter and bond with our friends. It raises our spirits. Laughter benefits our physical health as well by increasing oxygen levels and releasing endorphins that, in turn, relieve stress by releasing tension. Laughter is a good coping mechanism. It is essential that we hone these resilient building skills. The act of increasing and then decreasing our heart rate through laughter is calming and tension-relieving.
The immature person does not possess these skills and therefore is unable to adjust to life’s twists and turns. We need to prepare ourselves for the painful days that will be a part of life. Having faith in God gives us this ability to cope.
A proverb reads: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Choosing to access such available sources affirms one’s ability to face the tomorrows with strength and resolve, confident of divine help that is always available.
6. How to cope with the death of a loved one
Perhaps the most devastating loss that we will all experience in our lifetime is the death of someone we love. A spouse, a child, a sweetheart, a parent or whoever – all cause an emptiness that is devoid of a filling with any comparable satisfaction. However, if learning how to develop resilient building skills has been a shaper of our reaction to other losses, disappointments, failures, etc., the survivor can soon begin to recognize, acknowledge and even to accept the reality of the situation.
This writer has experienced the loss of her beloved husband at far too young an age: I know the difficulties for the surviving spouse, especially after a sudden death. And even the thought of the death of a child or grandchild cannot be entertained in my mind. Therefore, I pass no judgement.
However, as a survivor, I knew unexplained strength and a strong promise that God would see me through and that although my plans for the rest of my life would be completely changed, yet there was still a purpose, a promise and a passion for living my life to completion. Working through grief is just that – work.
The grieving person who has learned how to develop resilient building skills will react with a calmness and a faith that God will bring joyous and blessed days again. “God heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
7. How to overcome addiction
Those in recovery from addiction to drugs, alcohol, pornography or other ruinous behavior have first to deal with the fact that they denied any acquired habits or teachings to develop resilient building skills that they had ever developed or even been exposed to.
If this is your plight, please run for help with qualified counselors or groups. You can defeat these heinous control factors in your life. You need excellent professional guidance.
I beg you to reach out and let Jesus Christ enter your life and help you step out of this bondage. Then once again, be resilient, bounce back, leave the past behind and reach for new or restored goals. Life is beautiful – step out of the darkness of addiction bondage and into the light of freedom.
8. How to develop great parenting skills
You may be a parent who is concerned about your child who does not handle change, failure or relationships well. It behooves you to purposely seek help in learning how to develop resilient building skills. You will want to help your child develop a positive attitude, one of optimism, and to be capable of controlling or regulating emotions. Your child needs to learn how to see failure as a bump in the road and a step to improvement and success. Children often pattern their behavior and development after the parent.
Dealing with and correcting any defective patterns in our own lives helps us to parent more effectively and produces children ready to meet the demands of life. Life is not easy. We do not accidentally live it well. We learn self-control, motivation, and richness of life from commitment to following the teachings of Jesus. Strength to live meaningful lives then is a gift we receive.
9. How to learn self acceptance
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Self-esteem stems from self-acceptance. Being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses in a realistic but not condemning manner is the beginning of self-improvement. Everyone stumbles at some time. We need to forgive others and give them a second chance. Give yourself that same grace.
Take stock. Try making a list of your assets – physical, mental, relational – then make a list of what you consider your faults. Are you being realistic? Is there a reason that you continue to feed and approve that negative trait and allow it to remain in your life? If there are things that need changing, you have your work cut out.
Now all you need is a plan and the motivation. The acknowledgement of the list of positives will more than likely give you the energy to alter the negatives. If you need help, share with a trusted friend or counselor.
You can do it. Self -improvement is a lifelong goal: we need to be sure all of our efforts are not spent on our outward looks but also to the inner man. May we allow God to reflect His love through us.
10. How to overcome loneliness
Perhaps you find yourself alone at this point in your life. You have remained single, marriage has not worked out, or you have lost your spouse by death. Learning how to develop resilient building skills early in your life has no doubt helped you to live alone well.
I find that no matter how fulfilled one’s life is at work, community involvement, church affiliations, there is a loneliness when at the end of the day you close the door to an otherwise empty home. You may have adjusted well, have a fulfilling life, have found satisfaction in this choice; however, there may still be a loneliness.
Be very good to yourself. Treat yourself. Love yourself. Congratulate yourself. Hug yourself. Tell yourself that you are good looking, smart, funny or whatever a wonderful mate would tell you. You are worthy as an individual equally as much as if you were a couple. Do not let this hold you back from becoming all that God has intended for you.
If you have not accepted aloneness, I challenge you to accept it and be resilient to accomplish all unfulfilled plans and aspirations – live your life to it fullest. God has equipped you for this time and you are never alone. Being alone does not necessarily mean loneliness. It is how we handle the aloneness. Concentrate on having a few good friends and some family members who are always available and who love you just as you are.
We only have one life to live on this earth. Learning how to develop resilient building skills early in life will serve us well, sustain us through the dark times and serve us well in the good times. When we learn to react to adversity of any kind by automatically casting a picture with a good outcome including the changed planned, rather than jumping to the conclusion that would be the worst outcome imaginable, we can know we are brilliant products of the goal of learning how to develop resilient building skills.