Oftentimes we’ll just let life happen to us. Everything seems to keep hitting us with more problems. We get caught up in all the quarrels and frustrations and forget that the fact we’re even alive and breathing is in itself a miracle.
Just a few days ago, I was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life. Laying on the ground in a city park far from home, I was barely able to open my eyes, let alone sit up or walk.
This morning, I woke up with hives engulfing my body from head to toe and a sore throat. It’s safe to say that this past week I’ve been in more physical discomfort than I ever have in my 15 years of living.
But here’s the thing: I don’t feel unhappier than I did before all this because I know how much worse it could be. What if I had the hives AND the sickness? What if instead of being able to take Benadryl and lay on the couch I had to go work out in the cold with no medication?
This is hard to do when you yourself are facing adversity and sometimes it’s okay to just sit there feeling bad for yourself. But it’s in those moments when you’re really struggling yet still have the power to reframe your circumstances that you grow and become more resilient. When you overcome hardships, it’s something you can refer back to when you are faced with new problems in the future. You can remind yourself about that time when you were in pain and be grateful that you’re no longer in that situation. At least I’m not xyz too like that one time…
And it doesn’t need to be a personal experience you’re comparing your life to; intentionally being around those who are worse off than you can be extremely impactful as well. Embrace the discomfort of it and go see for yourself how others live and what they face day to day.
Throughout the year I found myself in many situations like this where I was in complete control over how I experienced it. By reframing and thinking about all the things that weren’t going on, I was able to find good in every objectively negative situation.
I’ve come to realize that this mentality is present in all aspects of my life. This past season, my volleyball coach would encourage us to “focus on our controllables.” What could we do on our own to better the ball and help our teammates?
The idea of letting go of all the things you have no power over and just making the most of what you can do in the situation you're in gives you the power to shape your own narrative.
I feel like this might be an abstract concept for some, so let me give an example:
School. It’s 7 hours a day plus homework that more often than not seems to be a waste of time. Alas, you legally need to attend making it an “uncontrollable.” What you can control in this situation is your attitude and what you choose to do during those 7+ hours.
Since you’re there anyways, why not soak up everything they’re teaching? Even if it’s something you’re not particularly interested in. In fact, that could even turn school into a superpower because you’re getting exposure to topics you otherwise wouldn’t be.
Actively participating, asking questions, and getting to know your teachers doesn’t require too much extra effort since you’re sitting there anyways and it makes a world of a difference when it comes to how you perceive school.
Now, instead of being stuck in a concrete jailhouse 5/7 days a week, you’re learning about topics for free in a room with your friends by a more experienced person whose sole job is to expand your knowledge. How about that for a shift?