Getting through hard times is easier said than done – we all know that. Regardless of the countless motivational articles and inspirational quotes, it can be extremely difficult to pull yourself together and go on when you are feeling like everything is falling apart.
No one likes failing and facing difficulties. But the problem is that adversities are inevitable and can strike even in the midst of the most tranquil period in your life when you expect them the least.
So when life gets tough, you can either give in to self-pity and anger with the whole world or you can learn important lessons.
Now, how to turn adversity into a lesson that will help you become wiser and more equipped for navigating life? All it takes is to change your focus and ask yourself a few questions.
4 Questions for Getting through Hard Times That Will Make You a Wiser Person
1. What can I learn from this situation?
Each situation we find ourselves in can teach us something important about life. This is particularly true about difficult situations when it feels like our whole world is falling apart.
From the most banal occurrence, such as an uncomfortable conversation with your boss that ruined your day, to a serious challenge like the loss of a loved one, there is a piece of wisdom to gain from it. Even when the adversity you are experiencing is not your fault, you can always think about your response to it.
Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know in order to move forward.
Taking the example of the difficult conversation with your boss who was clearly overreacting, the lesson could be that you need to take things less personally. Your boss was wrong and probably has anger issues, but why let him ruin your mood for the whole day?
After all, it’s just a trivial workplace situation that has no actual influence on the overall quality of your life. And you will probably forget about it in a couple of days.
2. What could I have done differently to prevent this situation?
As we’ve mentioned above, the hard times in your life are not always your fault. Sometimes bad things just happen even to the best of people. No one has immunity to life’s challenges.
However, it may be that you feel like a failure and blame yourself for the adversities you are facing for a good reason. This happens when you realize that you could have prevented all this if you had made different decisions in the past.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not suggesting that you should sit and beat yourself up for your faults. Regrets and self-blame are not quite helpful, but an objective analysis of your mistakes is. To analyze the situation in-depth, try to ask yourself the following questions:
- If you had been aware of the consequences, what would you have done differently?
- What choices led you here where you are today?
- Which of your behaviors, habits, and personality traits are to blame for those choices?
3. Which aspects of the situation can I influence and which are out of my control?
The ability to distinguish between the things you can control and those you should just accept the way they are is a trait of true wisdom. Yet, very few people are able to master it. You see, our thinking is highly biased and our thoughts constantly pass through the prism of numerous cognitive distortions.
As such, we often fall into the trap of so-called control fallacy and personalization. Both of these cognitive biases make us overestimate our role in whatever is happening in our lives. But the truth is that sometimes, misfortune just happens, and we have nothing to do with it.
And this is where the biggest difficulty of getting through hard times lies. When we face things we can’t control, we start to feel completely helpless and worthless. We feel small and exposed to the unpredictable dangers of the hostile world.
This is why accepting the things we can’t change is one of the hardest things to do. It feels defeating and unfair and yet, we need to find the strength to accept the current state of things and adjust to the new circumstances.
The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.
Take the pandemic situation as an example.
If you are having a hard time right now (as most of us do), it’s not your fault. It’s the global challenge that hit us all out of the blue. It brought numerous inconveniences, restrictions, and problems.
But the only thing we can do right now is to adjust to it and hope that it will end soon. What you can control is your everyday decisions and your emotional response to this global situation.
For example, say that your parents live abroad and you can’t visit them because of the coronavirus restrictions. While it’s highly disappointing, you can still call them or even have a video chat with them. I guess you get the point.
One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.
4. How can I use this experience in the future?
Who would think about possible failures and adversities when everything is going like clockwork? That’s right, very few would do it. And this is the mistake most of us make. When things go our way, at some point, we just get too comfortable and stop growing.
Then, suddenly, everything changes and we feel like everything is going wrong and the whole world is against us. Sounds familiar? For this reason, when this happens, think about the ways you could prevent similar situations in the future.
Hardships and failures give us the opportunity to see our own actions and behaviors in a new light. This, in turn, helps us grow and become better and wiser people.
What is it that the current situation is trying to teach you? Should you give more importance to planning? Maybe you have an issue with procrastination? Do you have a tendency to overreact to meaningless things?
The questions can be endless and depend on the nature of the adversity you are facing. The question that sums it up is: Which of my thought patterns, habits, or traits should I change to prevent this situation from happening again?
I Hope We All Make It through Hard Times
If you find yourself in the midst of a challenging time, I want you to remember one thing. Life is fluid, and no situation lasts forever, whether a good or a bad one. The difficulty you are in right now will pass, and you will feel happy, successful, and accomplished again.
Take a moment to do some analysis and focus on learning from this adversity instead of giving in to it. I wish you all resilience and patience in getting through hard times.
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