Hardship as a Path to Happiness

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It seems counterintuitive to think that surviving something that is difficult to endure or that which causes suffering could be used as a path to happiness. In its basest sense hardship equates to change and a matter of perspective on how you approach said change.

Let's look at purposeful change. When an individual has reached a cross roads in their life that requires a divergence from a current course of action they are doing so from the perspective that change is necessary with the desired result of that change being good.

Whereas if change is unwanted and due to a particular hardship or some kind of suffering, the perspective is different and usually accompanied with negative feelings of anger and hatefulness or at the bare minimum, resistance. The perception, whether purposeful or unwanted feeds into how resilient you are.

With purposeful change you have already gone within to the source of your feelings, identified them and set yourself on a course for change. The same has to be done with unwanted change. The person must dig deep to find the things of value in their own life that will serve as inspiration and motivation. Sometimes, however, the inspiration for change comes from outside our own psyches.

I remember one time when our daughter was hospitalized with Influenza A and the Swine Flu. She was so sick and the treatment used to treat her was terrible and made her even more ill. If watching her go through an aerosol treatment where I was required to be gowned, gloved, masked and goggled while she sat just in her pajamas wasn't enough, she cried through every treatment and they went on for hours at a time. This from a girl who rarely cried. But after all was said and done and I commended her on a job well done, she would say "it wasn't that bad mamma. A lot of other people have it way worse than me." That's when my perspective changed. That's when I cried. Moments like that, moments when she said she felt more for other people suffering than her own, are moments that give me inspiration. For the truth be told, at times what she went through was worse than what anyone else was going through.

Hardship is something I think everyone has encountered in their lifetime. What form that hardship manifested itself as is as different from person to person as are the ways in which those people found value in that hardship and used it to push forward. That is the moment when they developed their resilience. The same is true of grief. Grief is not unique. It has plagued mankind since the beginning of time, yet how each of us grieves is individual and personally heartfelt. But if hardship is never encountered then how, pray tell, can a person know of true happiness? As with all things in life, hardship and happiness work as counter balances to each other.

I think it is important to note that we attract what we put out there. Negativity attracts negative feelings and energy and that negative energy gives power to negativity. It is an endless cycle that continually feeds itself. But the same holds true for positive feelings and energy. One positive exercise, one positive story, one positive event or even one happy moment creates the platform for additional positive events to occur and to be built upon. So put out there what you want to become.

I think it is important to remember that you are allowed to be and feel every negative and positive emotion out there. Feeling it is not necessarily making it your life. But feeling it is part of hardship and grieving. But you also have to be willing to allow yourself to forgive yourself and allow yourself to feel happiness when it happens. You CAN create the life you want regardless of the imperfect environment you reside in.

Ursula Neal

Ursula is a grief coach for mothers who have lost children helping them to move from crappy to happy again. She is also a personal growth strategist helping individuals reach their goals. She may be reached at 602-400-4423 or ursula@CompassReset.com. Facebook Google+

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