We’ve all experienced a challenge before. Some adversity comes before us and seemingly blocks our way. Some enemy or difficulty is fighting with us and we run to protect ourselves.
Each enemy comes with their baggage and tries to make us carry it for them, which in the moment seemingly sucks… but I think there’s something else truly going on.
I believe that in this bag of sh*t are also lessons for us to keep and grow from.
Maybe you don’t believe me yet. But think about it…
What if we learned to make our adversities our strengths? What if we trained ourselves to welcome struggle as an opportunity? What if we taught ourselves to find love for the things that come to seemingly destroy us?
I believe that if we learned to do this we would come out of any obstacle victorious. We would become warriors: Warriors to fight the dark and warriors to spread the light.
All it takes is a small shift in perspective. But this shift is actually so radical — so huge — so momentous – that it could actually change our whole world.
The idea to use our enemies to strengthen us and to see opportunity in times of struggle and hardship is simple but not necessarily easy to implement, unless you have a guide to do so… Here are the steps:
First we must learn compassion. Compassion is when love and understanding are both present. Compassion means seeing an object or being through loving lenses. It means not making an enemy out of someone. It means not seeking the destruction of the person, the mentality, or the object.
Once we get compassion down, we must seek full awareness. This awareness is not only about recognizing our own mental states and truths but about recognizing the mental state and truth of what has come before us.
Think about someone who has tried to do you harm. If you remain on your side of awareness you will only see the harm they attempted to cause, you will feel your pain, you may even be angry at them. But if you stepped into their awareness perhaps you would feel the same feelings, only this time, they would be directed towards you! People don’t do things for no reason. There is always a psychological backstory or set of beliefs that lead people to action. If we aimed to see their state of awareness we wouldn’t be upset or reactionary because we could (at least, theoretically) understand them.
Before I move on I want to make something clear… just because we understand something doesn’t mean we ought to outright accept it. If I understand that I have negative self talk patterns occurring daily it is an invitation to compassionately change for the better.
Let’s look at another example.
Take an eating disorder… this doesn’t come to say “I hate you and you’re not good enough the way you are” … That’s only the way we interpret it. Eating disorders actually come to say, “I love you and your body loves you but you haven’t been loving it back, let’s talk about this.” They come to alert us.
Mentally distressed states come to protect us. They come to serve us. They come thinking that they can help.
We just misinterpret them. We need to try to understand them.
This is the way to fight. Not to run. Not to play the victim. Not to ask them to go away. But to learn to use them.
Every single adversity that comes our way has a unique gift they offer to strengthen us. Every single one has their own lesson they aim to teach us.
All it takes is a simple reframe to see it this way.
Take any mental state you’ve ever had and find the lesson it tried to give you. Take any narrative, any film, or any children’s fable.
Take the Little Red Riding Hood, for example.
What if the wolf’s teeth were so sharp, not to eat her, but to sharpen her courage? Could this be?
Find out why I think so; watch this short video:
If you noticed in the video when I begin to talk about facing our enemies and using them to strengthen us, my energy peaks up. I sound stronger and more resilient than before. Here’s why: Self-esteem and confidence in ourselves during an obstacle is crucial to coming out victorious.
The way to ensure we act empowered in the face of danger is to work on these next two things.
We need to grow our self-esteem. We need to train ourselves to believe that we can handle the obstacles. This means celebrating the little wins as much as the big wins. This means being kind to ourselves. At the beginning, it means using the old “fake it ’till you make it” trick. You must be your own role model, cheerleader, and coach, and tell yourself that you will make it through the struggle.
It gets easier in time the more you do it, which brings us to the final step…
4. Condition It
This is what makes any shift stick. We need to condition the action so we create a new and strong neural pathway for us to use again and again. In the process of any change the first couple of tries will be difficult, because it’s new to our brain, but soon the connections will get stronger.
Once the neural circuitry is in place we can begin to act as fast as a train. The railway is already down. All we need to do is press go.
Whether it’s depression, an eating disorder, a frenemy, anxiety, or anything else, remember these 4 key steps: Compassion, Awareness, Esteem, and Conditioning.
So the next time you are staring your enemy in the face, think of me in the red hood on your side pumping you up and put the 4 powerful steps into action and watch how you get stronger from the experience.
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