It is my observation that often the determining factor of what path people choose in this life is the direction one goes in the face of adversity. To me adversity is a subjective word. My personal definition of adversity is “that which is is difficult or painful for each individual.” Therefore, it is not so much what happens to you that is the issue, it is how you deal with it.
For example, there are people that choose the path of making “lemonade from lemons.” Just think of the wonderful organizations founded by folks who have lost loved ones to horrific diseases. Then there are those born into poor or disadvantaged communities who decide to give back in gratitude for support received that enabled them to rise above their circumstances. More often than not, the situations or scenarios are much more complicated than those above, but I think the choice is pretty simple: you either believe that life gave you a raw deal or you’re grateful for whatever it is you’ve got.
I sometimes watch the wonderful woman who comes to clean my house. Among many other things, she scrubs my toilet, often whistling as she works. And this same women, who has worked for me for 20 years, still thanks me from time to time for giving her work. She is also the same person who hugs me when I am sad, and provides intelligent commentary on current events, and slips a $20 bill to my son on his birthday.
But then, there is someone else I know that was born into a loving and functional family, is financially well off, with several adorable grandchildren but who has experienced some setbacks. Granted there is probably a lot I don’t know about what may or may not have happened to this person, but she lives a life full or regret, anger and bitterness. For her, life sucks. While it is tempting for me pass judgment, I won’t.
The truth is, there isn’t a single person I know who has not faced something painful, horrifying or unpleasantly surprising. It is, however, important how you react to those situations. In another words, shit happens to everyone; it is up to you what you do about it. It is also important to keep in mind that your reaction(s) affect those around you. That’s because I believe we are all, whether we like it or not, connected. The mere fact that one lives, gives you automatic inclusion to the tribe of humanity. Therefore, the path you choose affects others.
I hope you had Happy Thanksgiving. I did.