How can we turn our challenges into our driving forces? We all have challenges. Life is filled with them, and every one of us can attest to that. They come in different forms, at different times, for different causes. Some people thrive and rise above them. Others are destroyed by them. While some press forward despite the trials they face, others curse God and wish to die when difficult times come knocking on their door. Since this earthly existence will present challenges, and since each one of us will face them at one time or another in our lives, and furthermore, since we all want to be happy, how then can we turn our trials into driving forces?
First, we must recognize that we were set on this earth to succeed and not to fail. Second, we must believe we have what it takes to conquer our particular hardship. The people I have met among the survivors have had this in common. They all believed in a God who created them and equipped them, and they believed in themselves. Third, we must look around us and recognize that in spite of how hard our challenge, we still can find things to be grateful for. Again, the people I have known to thrive in challenging times were those who in spite of their pain, or maybe because of it, looked for ways to sublimate it by helping others. Their positive attitude and love for others propelled them to rise from their sorrow and served others.
After enduring months of torture at the hands of her captors, and evil treatment no child should endure, Elizabeth Smart established a foundation to help other children victims of sex abuse and neglect. Susana Trimarco was a typical housewife when her daughter left for a doctor's appointment, never to return. Since then, Trimarco has rescued hundreds of sex slaves in one decade of searching unsuccessfully for her daughter. Somaly Mam, a former teenage sex slave in a Cambodian brothel served up to 30 clients per night before she was set free. Now, she has rescued more than 4000 child sex slaves and formed Acting for Women in Distressing Situations which counsels and rehabilitates them in shelters located in Viet Nam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.
Like them, there are many who instead of turning inward and becoming embittered by their circumstances, lashing out at others, and claiming to have been unjustly treated, turned outward and helped make the world a little safer, a little better, and a little happier for those around them.
Seeing their examples and that of many others, has always put back perspective into my own life when facing my own challenges. Reading of their accomplishments and horrible suffering has made me grateful for what I have, and my trials have lost significance when compared to theirs.
Attitude, humility, gratitude, love, faith and hope for a better morning seem to be the key. So, let us all develop these traits and rise above our challenges to make the corner of our world a better place for us and those around us. Let us live our lives with purpose. The purpose of surviving gracefully and honorably.