Dealing with adversity

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – No-one is immune to the trials and tribulations that life has in store for us. I’ve experienced an ample share of adversity, barriers and disappointment, but through these hardships, emotional fortitude was gained.

There’s a wide spectrum of adversity unique to our lives that one may experience. It can range anywhere from failing a test after putting our all into studying, working in an uncomfortable environment or losing a stripe because of a bad decision. What we don’t realize at the time is that this bad experience is developing our emotional intelligence. It’s teaching us to be stronger and how to appropriately handle future difficulties. At the time of hardship, people react to a bad experience unique to their personality – some are indifferent, others experience a form of anxiety, and then there are those who let the issue dictate their path to recovery.

So how do we deal with our dilemmas?  I don’t have the absolute answer to that question, but allow me to share how I’ve personally dealt with and how I’ve overcome my impasses. I’ve learned to understand that the issue is impermanent and to speak to God and leave it in his hands.  I’ve also realized that adversity is sometimes by life’s design; how we grow as a person and better our current situation. However, we don’t always realize this necessary life-changing experience when facing it. Only upon successfully overcoming our issues do we sometimes conclude that it may have been a blessing in disguise. 

Another way in which I’ve learned to deal with work-related matters is by not taking issues home unless my intent is to seek advice or clarity from my spouse. This rule keeps me sane and allows me to focus on my loved ones. It’s fundamentally important to have a good support system – whether it’s your spouse or a significant other, family member, friend, chaplain or counselor. Having an outlet to express your worries may aid in discovering the solution to your dilemma. Sometimes, the solution may very well mean taking action, or conversely, taking no action at all. 

How we use our bad experiences to our advantage is just as important as overcoming a discomforting situation. I believe experience is our best teacher. Therefore, the most rewarding way I use life’s lessons is through listening and providing advice to other Airmen experiencing similar problems that I’ve encountered in the past. Through empathy, I can engage with an Airman and provide him or her with practical solutions through mentorship and counseling.

Embrace your struggles and learn to seek help when needed. Learn from your mistakes and use them to become a better person. Use your bad experiences to enhance your understanding and ability to advise your Airmen as you help guide them through their storms. Only when we reflect on how far we’ve come do we realize how much we’ve learned to deal with adversity.