Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to overcome a fall or tragedy in life

By Christina Chartomatsidis

-  Are you going through one of the most darkest times of your life?

-  Have you lost everything because of the misfortune that has happened to you?

-  Were you recently cheated on or dumped by someone who meant the world to you?

-  Do you know how it feels to lose your sense of dignity and face the sniggers and laughs of those around you? 

-  Do you feel like your life is over and it's not worth living?                                                                                             

Resilience: the secret to overcoming a fall

Everyone can identify with loss of some kind. Either it be power, success, love or the respect of others, loss can be difficult to bounce back from.

Yet there are certain individuals who are able to gather the mental strength to come back from any setback they face in life. These are the type of individuals who find themselves at the bottom at some time in their lives, yet they are able to fight for what they want and rise to the top.

If you study peak performance athletes, you will see that they have mentally cultivated a type of resilience that refuses to give up after defeat or failure. Successful athletes such as Andre Agassi, Pele and Roger Federer reached the top of their game simply because they rose up and refused to give up in the face of defeat.

How do I get back up when I’m down?

Remember the story of the phoenix

The tale of the phoenix describes a magic bird that lives for several hundred years before burning itself. The wonder of the tale is the phoenix is later born again from its very ashes.

The logic of this tale is to never see a fall as permanent. Ironically, it was the total annihilation of the phoenix that led to its amazing resurrection.

Imitate the phoenix by deciding to resurrect from the setbacks, loss and defeat you are facing. According to most spiritual philosophies including Christianity, a great fall in life signifies an even greater rise.

Jesus stated in John 12:24 that "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." The message here is that death, tragedy and loss can lead to rebirth and renewal.

Begin to see whatever fall that has been sent to you as an opportunity to rise to the top tougher, smarter and more resilient than ever!

Victory comes to those who endure and persist to the end

You are not alone -know that all people will at some time fall in life. Give yourself generous time to cultivate yourself after you fall. Grow in self awareness and learn from what happened and how it can mentally strengthen you as a person.

Andre Agassi, one of the world’s most successful tennis players, fell miserably from the top ten to number 1000. Despite falling from the glamorous and prestigious top 10 group, he stood his ground and faced public embarrassment and scrutiny only to rise once again and claim the number one title in tennis.  Agassi was patient with himself and gathered the strength to endure that time of self cultivation.

Jesus knows how it feels when life falls apart. He was spat on, rejected, abandoned by His friends, lied about, beaten and unjustly hung on a cross a convicted felon - yet He didn't give up. If you refuse to give up and choose to persist to the end like Jesus, success will also be yours.

Keep on focusing on your dreams

Despite your fall, never lose sight of what you want in life. Use your dreams as a tugboat that pulls you along in life. Remember that no matter what has or is happening, God promises in the bible to turn everything around for good. He has a plan for your life and if you co-operate it will come to pass.

Focusing on the dreams God puts in your heart will fill you with the hope that your future will be brighter than today. Get up and get to work on your dreams! You must do what you must in spite of what you may be feeling.

Research has found that individuals who are living the life they want and are in control of what they are doing, are more likely to feel strong and resilient.

How much do you want it?

Ask yourself “Do I want to get back up again?” If the answer is yes, how much are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to sacrifice your ego or your pride? Or are you willing to sacrifice time and energy to start all over from the beginning?

For you to be victorious, you have to be willing to go the extra mile. Whilst others give up and indulge in self pity, make it your goal to give everything you have to bounce back again.

Never forget your achievements and successes

Give yourself encouragement by reminding yourself of the things that made you feel successful in life. Get a pen and paper and record the events or situations that you consider your greatest achievements and successes.

Try visualising them in your mind for a few moments and feel the positive shift in your mood. Don’t throw your life away! Believe in yourself and believe that you can succeed and achieve great things again.  Have faith in yourself and in God!  God is a god of restoration and victory - He knows no failure so trust Him with your life!

See failure differently

The truth is that the fear of failure ranks as one the top fears of mankind. The fear of failure begins in early childhood and is the result of criticism and punishment given to children when trying something new.

The shouts, physical punishment and the withholding of love that children receive after doing something their parents disapproved of makes them feel scared and insecure.

Children in these situations then grow into adults who hold themselves back from doing what they truly want and living the life of their dreams.  They sell themselves short, quit before even trying and use their reasoning ability to create reasons why they can’t and why the things they want are impossible to get.

The reality is that most people perceive a fall such as financial loss, getting dumped, humiliated or losing a job as failure. This type of attitude stems from what psychologists refer to as low frustration tolerance; it only leads to passivity and a victim mentality in life.

Before we can succeed, we must clearly understand that success means change and the risk of failure. See failure as a learning experience sent to make you greater. A famous Chinese saying describes that “One who is skilled in defeat shall never see destruction.” Truly, defeat is the mother of success if you learn from it.

Detach yourself from the sniggers and judgments of others

Unfortunately most of us have been taught from either our parents or society that the highest prize of the world is the approval of others. However when we attach ourselves to the approval and good opinion of others people, fear will overtake us. The Bible warns us clearly, “The fear of man is a snare.” Being nice for the sake of gaining the approval of others can be very costly.

Even if you feel embarrassed and ashamed for your fall, lift your head up high. You’re only human and so are they! So don’t be concerned about their opinions – simply let go and detach from their judgements, criticism and disapproval of you.

Become thick skinned

Accept that “ordinary” people around you may gloat when you fall. Josef von Sternberg once quoted “the only way to succeed is to make others hate you.” In other words, the unkind reception you may be getting from others is indicative that you are on the right path in life – if this were not true, why would they waste their time? 

Know that the fall and failure of those who don’t try anything great is commonplace and comfortably private. Ordinary people who are “one of the herd” don’t usually attract a lot of attention when they fall. Yet the fall of those who go after their dreams and attempt extraordinary accomplishments is usually accompanied by sniggers and sighs of satisfaction from ordinary failures that haven’t either the courage or strength to go after their dreams.

Turn gloating and mockery around to serve you

If others have seen your fall and have responded with sighs of satisfaction, mockery and acts of gloating; ponder on it for a moment... I am sure you feel hurt and angry at the level of cold-heartedness you have received.

The beauty is that you can use all the slaps in the face, the gloating, the betrayal and the mockery of others, plus the negative energy you feel regarding it, to create an emotion explosive enough to support and realise your dreams.

It is well know that God sometimes allows an enemy into your life in order for Him to promote you to a higher level in life.

Vent out your agony and grief

Express the painful emotions you are feeling – don’t try to suppress them as this will intensify your stress. Do not completely sink into passivity and hopelessness though. If you find it difficult to express your pain, use evocative or emotive music to release your repressed feelings. The music will also help promote a state of inner peace and serenity.

Get closer to God

Pray or meditate to obtain assistance to deal with your suffering. The purpose of this process is to develop greater trust and belief in God. The key to getting in touch with God, is to unburden yourself by relinquishing [giving up] some of your control of the situation and exercise a willingness to trust. As Ghandi said “divine guidance comes when the horizon is the blackest.”

Let the dark night pass

After you have done what is humanly possible to overcome your situation and it brings you to no avail – brace yourself with the spirit of endurance - let the dark night pass. Know that your life is in the hands of God. Give the situation over to Him. Give up struggling and to stop trying to correct the situation.

Endure by enduring.  Endurance is never an easy task, but it’s essential to overcoming dark times. Constantly affirm to yourself “this too shall pass,” and remember that dark moments don’t last forever.

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