by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
It's easy for any of us to be defeated by our problems. Whether they are big or small doesn't matter. They're our problems and because of that, they can seem tailor-designed to knock us down.
Someone recently asked me how to overcome their problems. Regardless of specifics, when faced with difficulty, having the attitude to work toward a solution or win victory, is the first step to creating forward momentum.
I praised this person for having the desire to find a way through their challenges.
The Buddhist philosophy I practice has taught me that struggles are actually precious treasures to appreciate. We can actually use them as stepping stones to deeper happiness, solid inner strength and an awakening to our inherent wisdom. All this personal expansion leads to experiencing a rich, more fulfilled life.
The conversation with the person who asked for my help reminded me that I need to repeatedly polish my attitude and actions toward the challenges in my life.
I've learned that developing a determined spirit to win over difficulties is powerful. No matter what the problem is, having that spirit to keep fighting is itself the key to victory. It’s when we lose hope, or stop believing in our vast potential to achieve or transform anything, that problems get the better of us.
There are many things we can do to deal with our problems. But without the mindset toward winning ultimate victory, the results may prove less than satisfactory.
In other words, we can take plenty of action, but if we still hold doubt in our hearts about ourselves or our desired positive outcome, we diminish our results.
You Get Stronger Through Challenging A Problem
If we first work on strengthening the attitude behind our actions, we stand a greater chance of overcoming the problem or reaching a goal. Actions we take are only part of the solution or winning strategy.
Equally as valuable is the inner strength we forge by enduring the problem state.
As long as we resolve never to give up on ourselves, every problem actually can serve as a springboard toward improving ourselves and our quality of life. Building a strong inner intent ultimately manifests in taking wise action. This is the basis for creating a happier environment, and advancing our personal growth.
Plus, the added perk of solving our problem.
Be Like Einstein; Stay Longer
There’s an Einstein quote I love that goes, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."
Problems can function as beneficial to our lives because they push us into the proverbial corner until we learn to strengthen our belief in the unlimited potential within ourselves and humanity.
Problems can force us to work harder to mine that golden potential. Perhaps if we didn't experience our difficulties, we'd never make the kind of effort necessary to uncover our full abilities.
The fact is that we all have problems. Our capacity to overcome these is infinite. And by winning over them, we give others incredible hope to do the same.
Let's continue seeking ways to overcome our problems. In that sense, we are already winning.
By the way, my photo essay, How To Use Difficulties To Inspire Appreciation & Creativity, touches on this same point. I hope it encourages you and others reading this!
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by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I struggle with my anxieties and fears. Everyone does in some way, right? But I’m managing to breakthrough to new levels of courage through developing a better understanding of my fears.
It’s important to recognize that being afraid is a normal experience and a positive indication that we‘re challenging ourselves beyond the norm. Whenever we explore new territory or challenge ourselves to do something bigger or different, it can bring out our fear. When we feel fear, it’s important to acknowledge that we are pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone and appreciate our courage in doing so.
That’s something I tend to forget when I’m going through intense fear.
But I want to stop and acknowledge my bravery in continuing to deal with something that challenges my fears. Taking a moment to assess and acknowledge being courageous is in itself a way to relieve stress. Stress coping mechanisms can decrease fear and improve confidence. So take a moment to pat yourself on the back for continuing through a difficult moment!
I’m learning that fear is also an indicator of inner wisdom. I’ve learned to listen to my fear and try to address what wisdom it’s leading me to reveal. Fear is a normal function in human life that's intrinsically set up to protect our lives. It‘s up to us to do the inner work to figure out what fear wants to protect us against.
I find that once I work through the things I’m concerned about, I’m better able to pull up the wisdom to find solutions or ways to take action and move forward.
This is what fear wants me to do;
Take a look at the issues causing concern and use my problem-solving skills to open up a new vista.
When I do that, fear has no need to function in my life, and departs.
All of us have this inner wisdom. I think fear is a powerful catalyst for tapping into our inner strengths.
I often turn to historical figures for their wisdom and encourage-ment. I especially like Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote;
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
This means that we must use fear to develop TRUST in our own ability to handle anything in our lives. Experiencing fear shows GROWTH of our potential and expansion into new levels of our LIMITLESS capacity.
Sometimes this kind of growth comes through tragedy or misfortune. When I faced a personal loss in my family, I faced some of my darkest fears. But the inner growth I had to go through during that time was exponentially greater than other chapters in my life. Having gone through such a difficult internal challenge has made me stronger, more compassionate, and able to perceive life through a broader scope of rich meaning and gratitude.
I’m learning to look at fear as an incredibly positive barometer of my self-development! Each time in my life I‘ve felt most fearful was a period in which I was pushing myself to become a better human being, develop new skills, or challenge myself to more advanced levels of accomplishment.
Let’s aim to be grateful for our courage and for continually challenging our fears.
What lessons or inspiration do your fears teach you? Join the conversation with a comment below.
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