Love can triumph over hardship of any intensity. It has the ability to overcome adversity of any kind. Love is something we can access no matter what life has handed us, and no matter how hard our circumstances are to survive. It is an innate emotion and one of incredible power.
The best way to overcome adversity is to create meaning from the situation. This helps us in many ways. Instead of denying the reality of what is happening, we acknowledge it. We balance out the negativity with a positive purpose we created and designed.
Essentially, it is not fate that hardship happens and it does not come into our lives to teach us a lesson. But even this does not prevent us from giving our struggles a purpose, learning from them, and creating something positive from the hardship we experience. A compassion-focused meaning is the best kind of purpose we can create.
We have the power to miraculously transform our experiences, and it is this power which gives us the ability to overcome adversity. When we choose to focus on creating meaning with love and compassion during these times, our resilience intensifies even more.
If you’re finding the idea of creating meaning from suffering tough to grasp, read this blog here. It explains it more in depth!
Love is Sustainable
There is nothing with more power than love itself. Love is the language of our spirits and it gives us the ability to transform our worldview like no other emotion. It is so miraculous because it can coexist with any other emotion. It never silences the other feelings we have. This means we can accept the reality of hardship without resisting it and we can also feel love at the same time. For this very reason, love is the most sustainable feeling. Resistance takes constant effort, love and acceptance do not.
When we face hardship of any kind, we naturally put up some defensive walls. We may shame ourselves, blame others, or hate the world as a way to cope with what we’ve been through. All of this is valid and all of this is natural. This doesn’t mean it feels good, though. Many of these emotions tire us out and are hard to sustain. It takes energy to protect ourselves from physical or emotional harm.
Love has the incredible power to break through these inner walls. It’s like little cracks of light that start to appear, shining brighter and brighter even when we try to piece our inner walls back together. We can never truly bury this light.
Love tears down old patterns that can be replaced with better coping mechanisms, showing us the way to inner peace, joy, and happiness. The emotion of love itself does all of this work. It doesn’t take energy away from us to love; it comes so naturally that the emotion fills us with more energy. This is why love is sustainable and how it can help us overcome adversity of any intensity.
You Can Apply Love in Any Situation
No matter how much our compassion is buried under the stress, anxiety, and pain of a situation, it is still accessible. There is love we can find no matter what is happening (or has happened) to us. It’s all about how we view the situation we are in. Although various factors make this easier or harder to do, we can ultimately choose for our thoughts to be pain-focused or love-focused.*
I’ve thought a lot about this concept. The times when pain is really high, when I remember the past, love does feel buried. I used to think this meant I wasn’t a loving person, when I couldn’t access love perfectly in every moment, but now I recognize that our sensitivity to love changes over time. Just because we are more or less aware of love does not mean the love within us is less. We just have to pay attention to it more.
As a survivor, there are times where remembering the trauma I faced is agonizing. For those of us who have experienced loss, mental illness, or serious tragedy, we all know the depth pain has. This is intense, but it still does not erase the love within us.
In these moments of pain, ask yourself where the love is. Maybe it is self-love, like honoring that you survived such past pain. Maybe it is love for the person you are grieving. It could even be a more widespread love, like for the people who are in pain similar to yours. Compassion tends to be the most powerful when we focus it on other people. No matter what, acknowledging the love in the midst of hardship will help you overcome adversity of any kind.
Overcome Adversity by Combining Purpose and Compassion
We will always feel more inspired to overcome adversity when we give ourselves a purpose and reason to. When this purpose is founded in compassion, it is even more powerful.
Imagine that you are an individual living with depression. You feel tired, drained, and purposeless as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. Living life like this is absolutely no fun. It feels unfulfilling and pointless. In this world, you work as a bank teller-a job you have to make money to keep a roof over your head and food on your table. Even this reason feels purposeless since you’re not enthused about life in general.
You are going to work and, as you are commuting, you think about how it will be another boring day. Then you’ll go home, eat, sleep, and repeat. It again feels dull and unfulfilling. At your lunch break, your mind is wandering and one striking thought enters your mind. You start to wonder about the purpose of your job, beyond just paying your bills.
You remember this elderly lady who comes in and no longer has the visual ability to count her money, so you do it for her. Without you, she may not know if she could buy groceries that week. You think about the children you helped deposit their first dollars into a savings account for college and you realize how you are a key part of their journey towards higher education. You even realize that your efficiency at your job helps busy professionals run their own businesses, since you have the ability to do these transactions for them.
All of these realizations help you understand that you are serving others. This single realization helps you switch from a pain-focused perspective to a perspective of compassion. Now, when you go to work the following day, you can choose to pay attention to how you are providing assistance, rather than just counting down the hours until you go home.
With this, you feel a sense of purpose hit you. It doesn’t erase the depression, but it does give you something to hold onto. Love, even in this subtle way, gives your life meaning.
How to Use This to Transform Your Own Life
You can give your life more meaning even through small actions. You don’t have to change the world in a monumental way to make a difference and live a compassion-focused life.
To begin, think of a situation where you feel bored, apathetic, or less than happy (like a job you work, a project you’re completing, etc.).
Next, write down a task you do in this job and brainstorm how you help someone else out by doing this task. Does it save someone else time? What does this saved time help that other person do? Ask yourself questions like this. If you need more inspiration, this blog may help you out.
Finally, write down this situation, and the meaning you have discovered your work has, in the comments below. This challenge will help you realize how powerful a single action is and how easy it is to access love for others.
If you’ve read this entire blog, take one minute to now apply this to your life. Or, better yet, consciously try to create more compassionate meaning from your life starting today. There is nothing I have discovered more powerful than this to overcome adversity, apathy, and struggle.
*When talking about choosing what we think about, intrusive thoughts and mentalities that are solely the product of mental illness are not considered conscious thoughts in this blog. Over time, we may be able to manage and change these, but what I am referring to here are the thoughts we can control and the decisions we can make on what we think about immediately. It is not a constant state of being, to always control our thoughts, but when possible we can choose to focus on hardship or focus on compassion.