How to survive and thrive when bad things happen
Lifestyle Personal Development

Learning how to survive and thrive when bad things happen

We live in a world that tells us that we’re special. We live in a world that makes us believe, in a way, that we’re divine beings separated from the bad things that are happening in the world all around us.

When we turn on the news and hear about a terrible accident or another school shooting, it makes us sad but not as sad as it probably should. We feel separated from those events and often this separation can lead us to the (erroneous) belief that something like that could never happen to us.

The fact of the matter is, though, that bad things happen to everyone. Today, that might be someone else’s car driving off the cliff, but tomorrow it might be yours.

If we live long enough in this life, we all come to encounter tragedies that change us and shape us in the fires of their adversity. One of the biggest lessons we have to come to learn in this life is that bad things happen to everyone, and it doesn’t matter who you are or how hard you try to avoid it.

Accepting our suffering.

When we are injured by life’s jostling, it’s easy to get mad at yourself or some aspect of the situation you find yourself in. You get angry and question yourself and the people around you, and in the end you wind up in more distress as you fight an uphill, losing battle.

It is this resistance to things that don’t go our way that causes suffering in our lives. Our inability to accept things as they are is the double-edged sword that wounds us time and time again — making life seem impossible to live.

The Buddhists have an equation that summarizes this idea nicely:

Pain x Resistance = Suffering.

Rather than resisting our pain, creating more suffering in our lives, we have to learn to accept ourselves and our circumstances for who and what they are. When we come to find this level of authentic acceptance, we can develop understanding and compassion for ourselves and the people around us.

Those who can accept their authenticity are those who are happier in their relationships and happier with themselves. The accept their current reality and embrace it with open arms, paying attention to their thoughts, feelings and desires without allowing them to control the situation.

Being accepting and compassionate with yourself is a choice and one that must be made consciously every day. Plan for a better future and develop supportive friendships and you’ll find acceptance blooming everywhere in the life around you.

Focusing on solutions.

When the bad gets worse, it becomes easy to dwell on all the ways life is disappointing us. We allow ourselves to get stuck in a negative feedback loop, and from this comes an array of negative behaviors and coping mechanisms. When we get caught up on the doom and the gloom, we bring more doom and gloom into our lives.

That’s why it’s so critical to stay focused only on the things you can control when things get rough.

Rather than getting hung up on the things that you can’t change, you have to learn to focus instead on the changes you can bring about. Letting go of our attachment to the things we cannot control allows us to relieve some of the stress that is suffocating us.

To move yourself into a more resourceful state of thinking, consider your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Dwell on the things that you can do, rather than the things you can’t do or the problems that you have. Focusing on solutions, rather than just the disappointments around us allows us to overcome our suffering and survive and thrive in ways we never imagined before.

Continue reading on Medium. 

It pays to place nice. Here’s why.

Being nice is hard, but it’s a lot better than being a pr*ck. by: E.B. Johnson Try to remember the last kind deed that you performed for someone else. If you can actually pinpoint one specific act - congratulations, you’re a nice person! To everyone else, we have some cleaning up to do.

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