Sometimes life hits and hits hard. Perhaps it’s one of your worst autoimmune flare-ups ever, the loss of a loved one, a new diagnosis, more loss of function, or financial hardships. Maybe it’s all the above.

Perhaps you don’t typically view difficulties as hardships and have used other words for hardships, such as challenges, life situations, suffering, or hard times. Or you might focus on overcoming obstacles, adversity, trials, or simply life’s difficulties. No matter how we label these difficulties, these sufferings, they are hardships. And how we approach these hardships often has a huge impact on how we respond, and ultimately on the level of peace or suffering we carry foward in our own hearts.

How you handle your personal circumstances is up to you. You have a choice. A choice to run and hide, a choice to be angry and filled with self-pity, a choice to try to ignore life around you as you trudge forward, or a choice to embrace, learn and grow.

None of the above responses are easy. The difference is that the latter will help you make the most of the situation, grow from it, and ultimately bring yourself and others peace.

Embracing your hardships

Choosing to embrace your hardships does not mean you will not experience any of the other emotions. You will. Nor does it mean your challenges will merely slip away. They won’t.

Embracing your hardships means being open to recognize your suffering. It means not being afraid of it. Of not being overwhelmed by it. Of accepting it.

It also does not mean that you will necessarily be able to immediately progress to embracing the hardship. We need time to digest new information, new losses and grieving, even if it is for a loss that others don’t understand or see as a loss. Only you can determine when you are ready to embrace your challenges or if you need the help of a professional to do so.

Choosing to embrace your hardships does not mean your path will be easy, with no sorrow. It simply means you are making space to be present in the situation and to be open to any gifts that may come your way.

1. Awareness of the gifts around you

Above, I suggest that embracing your hardships means being open to gifts that may come your way. Can that really be? Yes.

Have you noticed that time can slow down during hardships? I know it sounds cliché, but if you’re open to it, you will notice small gifts you otherwise might not be aware of.

You will notice more beauty in nature. The movement of an animal. The way the sun strikes a tree. A fresh breeze.

Your awareness of kind words and gestures from others will be heightened. You’ll be able to better acknowledge and appreciate small nuances such as a caring look or an understanding embrace.

Noticing the continued beauty of life around us and the kindness of others, brings us back to our fundamental selves, opens us for peace. For simplicity.

2. Acknowledgement of new priorities

This refreshed sense of fundamental truths brings a new sense of priorities. Notice how ‘important’ deadlines no longer have a hold on you. Dramas are not welcome. Priorities shift to what truly is most important to you, not those imposed by society or others. Chances are money, power, influence are not at the top of your list. Perhaps showing up, making a difference, and accepting and sharing love shifts to the top of your list.

It’s your list, it’s your priorities. By taking the time to be present, by giving yourself the space to heal, your priorities will naturally sort themselves out.

3. The selfless act of healing

This new sense of priorities is key. Your new priorities allow you to set boundaries to protect yourself, your time, and your energy. Your new priorities allow you to focus on your own healing.

This is not selfish. In fact, I believe it is our responsibility to take the time to be there for ourselves. To be our best version of ourselves. Then, and only then, can we give our very best to those we love and to the world at large.

I believe that no matter your situation, you have value to give. In our weakest moments, that might mean allowing others to be there for us. That in itself can be a gift. Maybe you need help getting out of bed, help with house chores, help figuring things out. Allow others in, allow others to give to you, embrace the gifts they share with you. Know that by doing so, you are giving them the gift to give to you.

4. Experiencing love, growth and self-compassion

As you overcome and adapt to your situation, you will learn to manage your new and changed life. By embracing all that the situation teaches you, you will grow. You will expand your capacity to give and receive love. You will grow immensely.

Rather than suffering unnecessarily from overwhelm and self-pity, you will learn to practice self-compassion.

By practicing self-compassion, you will build your skills to be more understanding and compassionate towards others. You can learn more about the benefits of self-compassion in my blog Why Compassion Starts with Us.

5. Transformation

Embracing your hardships paves the way for transformation. We transform on many levels.

  • Opening our hearts allows us to move out of old patterns.
  • We begin to look for the opportunities to learn and grow in every situation.
  • Practicing self-compassion helps us better understand and feel compassion towards others.
  • Focusing on self-healing and being present allows us to give our best selves to others.
  • We begin to understand that these challenging times will pass. That they are not permanent.
  • With more open eyes, ears and hearts, and by embracing the gifts of the unknown, we allow ourselves to live more authentically.
  • We learn to lean into and embrace these challenging situations. We find the opportunities within them.
  • And we begin to experience more peace, even during these hard times and times of uncertainty.

The culmination of these transformative process opens new doors. Doors that allow us to dig deep and find our purpose.

6. Building Trust

The transformative power of embracing our challenges gives way to the next phase of our journey. First, we begin to trust in our intuitive selves. Then we learn to trust that we can handle our situation and to trust that we can be there for others. We trust that we are on the right path.

Our intuitive trust helps us believe in

  • ourselves
  • our abilities to handle what comes our way
  • our ability to work around and adapt to our challenges
  • our ability to give to others
  • our ability to make a difference
  • our sense of purpose

Innately trusting yourself opens a whole new level of freedom to share your journey, to live your purpose and to embrace all that comes your way.

7. Sharing peace and compassion

Your growth is a gift to others. Your ability to live in the present, to embrace your hardships, and to adapt to what life brings your way deepens your ability to experience peace.

Learning to experience deeper peace and expanding your skills of compassion and self-compassion will leave a positive impact on others. Your mere presence of peace may be all that another needs in their time of need.

Summary – embracing our losses, hardships and challenges

We will experience losses and hardships along the way. Everyone will. By learning to embrace these challenges, we learn to grow and transform. In addition to decreasing our suffering, we also allow others to share their gifts with us in our times of need. We learn how to reciprocate this compassion towards others and towards ourselves. We learn to work together and support one another.

By allowing ourselves to be present, accept, embrace and learn from our experiences, we are taking one step at a time towards being our very best. And when we are our best, our gifts result in an outward ripple effect beyond measure.

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Simone Giangiordano, better known as Simone G, is the creator of BalanceUP® Community. She is a business and lifestyle coach who has helped hundreds of clients create a business that works for their unique lifestyles. This despite being told by multiple doctors and professionals that she should not work and to just get on disability because of her chronic health issues. She has used her nearly 2 decades experience in the corporate world and more than 15 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, trainer, and business coach to create the Building Balance to Empower® programs, including her signature program The Power of I Can't® to help individuals with heath challenges create and live a life of peace, joy and yes… success.Learn more about Simone G's story.

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