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5 Types of Positive Growth You Can Experience From Adversity

adversity positive growth
5 Types of Positive Growth Experienced From Adversity

The Gift Of Adversity

Adversity can cause your life to be turned upside down and never be the same. How you respond to this adversity can destroy your life or turn you into an overcomer. It is completely your choice, no one else's.

In a previous blog, I talked about How to Develop a Survivor Personality and Thrive During Adversity. You don't have to be born with a survivor personality but you can develop one. Survivors are hopeful, look for the positive, and think outside the box to find the opportunity, or gift, that adversity brings.


Scott Hamilton's Story of Overcoming Adversity

In his book Finish First: Winning Changes Everything, Scott Hamilton talks about being a sickly child with an illness that could not be diagnosed. What he and his parents discovered was that he breathed better in the cold air during his few times ice skating. Scott's parents signed him up for ice skating lessons and soon after he started competing. He found his stunted height of 5 ft 3 inches actually leveled the playing field on the ice rink. Through practice and dedication Scott achieved his goal at the age of 26 of winning the Gold Medal in the 1984 Olympics. He is known for his famous back flip and for being one of the greatest ice skaters of all time.

Since 1997, Scott has had testicular cancer and three brain tumors. His brain tumors were pituitary tumors recurring from the one he had when he was a young child even though the symptoms went away. Looking back, Scott says without that undiagnosed brain tumor, he would have never gotten into ice skating.

In Scott's June 6, 2020 Cure Today blog Make It Count: Scott Hamilton Discusses His Cancer Journey, he writes "So, here’s what I want you to know about survivorship: It’s obviously a true blessing and gift. Without the cause and reason to survive, our lives would look and feel a lot different, and probably not for the better."

Scott continues, "Maladies and struggles are unavoidable and, in many cases, the most important episodes of our lives. They shape us, empower us and allow us to be the people we cannot be without them. But mostly, they give us a second chance at life. It’s what we do with that second chance that truly defines us. Make it count!"



5 Types of Positive Growth From Hardship

As I mentioned earlier, adversity can break you or make you stronger. It is possible to become an overcomer and grow from your journey.

After going through my unexpected divorce last year right after my heart transplant, I grieved for the loss of the institution of marriage, not for the loss of the man who deeply betrayed me over several years. 

But because of my past hardships, I am an overcomer and I can bend but I won't break. That's my choice. I have the gift of a new, strong heart and a new business that allows me to travel new places and meet new people. I'm experiencing growth and joy with my new life. Even my friends and family notice my positive outlook.

The Posttraumatic Growth Workbook by Richard G. Tedeschi, PhD and Brett A. Moore, PsyD, ABPP lists five general types of positive growth that people reported to them through their research.  Have you experienced any of these?

1. Personal Strength - The daily battle of dealing with adversity leads some people to develop internal strength and realize they can face extreme situations successfully. They were able to manage negative thoughts, solve problems, and make significant changes in their lives. Developing resilience skills increases confidence to face future adversity.

2. Improved Relationships - Accepting help during your hardship is important and brings you closer to others. By learning how kind and compassionate other people can be, your relationships become stronger and more intimate.  Growth happens because you become stronger by being able to accept help.

3. Appreciation of Life - One of the most common lessons learned from loss is that life has so much to offer. You find greater appreciation for what you have. Your priorities may have shifted because you have a greater understanding of what truly is important in life.

4. New Paths and Possibilities - A saying I heard a long time ago and applies to my every day life is "Obstacles are just stepping stones to new opportunities." Obstacles are not roadblocks. You just have to find a way to climb over it, go under it, or go around if you want to find the opportunity. New paths may cause a sense of loss of old goals but discovering a new goal can become more important and useful to you.

 5. A New Understanding of Life's Meaning and Purpose - As you struggle to understand why this adversity happened, you may sense an increase in spiritual matters or religious beliefs with an understanding of how to live life well. Overcoming your adversity may spark a desire to give hope to other people going through the same experience.  Things in your life that used to be upsetting may seem trivial now. Adversity can make philosophers out of people and reveal their new purpose in life.


Growth Is A Work In Progress

If you've experienced hardship, are you struggling to move forward? In order to move forward and experience growth, you must get out of your comfort zone. It can be scary but so rewarding. If you need help, you can read my blog The #1 Secret To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Growth.

 If you still struggle to move on after adversity, I highly recommend talking to a licensed therapist. Most insurance plans cover the cost or a co-pay is required. Talking to a counselor was so helpful for me when starting my divorce process after my heart transplant. The accountability and goals we set for me to move on with my new life were so helpful and helped me to see my progress.

I certainly don't wish anyone to go through hardship but change is inevitable, growth is optional. My life will never be the same but I can honestly say that the opportunities I've found in the past year have made me realize that I'm going to be okay and I will thrive in my new life. I am an overcomer. 

What about you? Have you decided to step out of your comfort zone to better your life? How is your growth journey going? Are you having more good days  than bad days? If so, you are moving in the right direction. If not, don't give up. As long as you have hope and take baby steps, your life can change for the better. You can become an overcomer!

Daily Mantra: Hunt the good stuff, find the humor, stay positive, and focus on your blessings. God can bring good out of every situation!

Life is Full of Unexpected Twists and Turns

Start managing obstacles and setbacks today with 20 proven resilience skills and strategies.

In the FREE Resource "20 Key Strategies to Strengthen Resilience & Embrace Change," you'll learn practical and achievable coping strategies and resilience skills to help you overcome difficulties with grace and strength.

These strategies are the ones I used, and now teach to my clients, to overcome bi-lateral breast cancer, losing my oldest son from suicide, a heart transplant, and a sudden divorce, all in a five-year period.

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