Adversity as Growth Opportunity

Here is a quote that speaks to me today that I would like to share with you:

“We began to see adversity as a God-given opportunity to develop the kind of courage which is born of humility, rather than bravado. Thus we were enabled to accept ourselves, our circumstances, and our fellows.”
(Bill W., founder of Alcoholics Anonymous)

I have had my share of adversity in my life. When I look out beyond my little world, I see that the troubles I have had are small compared to the problems of so many others. I no longer think, “Why is this happening to me?” I think, “Why am I so privileged to not have the troubles others have to face in their lives?”

At other times, in looking out, I see others who share the problems I or my family have faced. I wonder how they have dealt with these situations. Have they come up with solutions I should consider? Where do they find their source of strength? What are insights they have gained that have helped them?

The quote I shared above from Bill W. adds yet another dimension to dealing with life’s problems. That is the role of adversity as a growth enhancer. I already have learned that my own suffering has given me compassion for others. Adversity born out of my own failures is a powerful lesson in humility. I am letting go of perfectionism.  Since I never choose adversity, I am learning about my own powerlessness. I have had to turn to others for support. Community is an outcome of adversity that I never would have anticipated.

If I pay attention, I find myself getting better. I begin to feel the courage “born of humilty” as Bill says, “rather than bravado.” I reach out to others, now, not because I have the answers for them but because I know how it feels to be adrift in one’s troubles and not have answers. Giving a hand can help keep another afloat until they find out how to swim…this is all I have. It is what has been given to me when I thought I was drowning.