7 Lessons You Learn Through Life's Challenges

06/17/2015 05:25 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2016
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1. You need to change.

There are times when things go wrong in life. Most of us try to escape it, denying the truth life presents to us. When a problem occurs, most of the time it occurs because something is not right -- you got sick because you haven't been eating right; you are in hefty debt because you didn't live within your means; you got backstabbed because you're too trusting; your partner wanted to break up with you because you're too controlling -- the list goes on and on.

Instead of looking at external circumstances and blame them for unfortunate life events, look at yourself first and see if there's anything you can improve. Can you change the way you live so that your life situation can improve? Whether it be changing your habits, attitude, or outlook, you need to change in order to improve your life's situation. Failing to accept the truth life presents to you, you will forever fall into the traps you can never seem to escape.

If you're gonna make a change... operate from a new belief that says life happens not to me but for me.

-- Tony Robbins

Everything happens for a reason and that reason leads you to another destiny. Accept the fact that shit happened to teach you something, to push you to grow, and to encourage you to change. Use this as a drive to make successfully change yourself for the better.

Sometimes the uncomfortable things in life are there to teach us lessons because to go through a change of habit, we need to feel uncomfortable.

-- Mo Seetubtim


2. You can't control life but you can control yourself.

There are circumstances in life that you can't control, i.e., being born into a dysfunctional family, losing your family member at a young age, becoming a victim of an unforeseeable accident, or having a cancer.

When you go through life's challenges, you have the choice to either fall apart and become a victim of the circumstances, or you can rise up high and above others.

-- Mo Seetubtim

Surrendering to life, you become weak and vulnerable. You become easily influenced especially by bad influences such as drugs and alcohol which you're told could help you heal pain. You become friends with bad strangers. You become sad and emotionally unstable which leads to depression and beyond.

However, if you realize that you are in control of yourself no matter what happens, you will not ignore the unfortunate circumstances and use them as springboards for the better you. You bring yourself to a healthy environment. You build yourself a support system. You surround yourself with good influences. You build yourself skills and never stop improving yourself.


3. You can't change the way things are but you can change the way you look at things.

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

-- Brian Tracy

Going through life's challenges require strength -- a lot of strength -- both mental and physical because they go hand in hand. You need to stay strong. You need support from family and friends. Most importantly, you need to change your outlook on life. You need to understand that you can't change the way things are but you can change the way you look at things.

The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.

-- Tony Robbins

Use pain to motivate yourself -- to become more determined, work harder, and succeed.


4. You are actually a very strong person.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

As a result of 2 and 3, you become a stronger person who is not afraid of anything in life. You know that no matter what happens you will be just fine. The strength you have built up over the years has become one of the most valuable assets you have. You know you have the willpower to combat anything in life.

Knowing that you are a strong person is a blessing. Because the power of the mind is very powerful.


5. You are your own worst enemy and your own best friend.

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts

-- Buddha

Sometimes when life hits you with a brick, you just really hate yourself. You hate yourself for letting people who've done you wrong into your life. You hate yourself for not being more disciplined and doing the right thing. You hate yourself for what you did in the past which caused your life to go sideways. You just can't forgive yourself. You feel sad, upset, and angry. You just keep thinking about this over and over.

However, having gone through a struggle, you realize that sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. You can choose to blame yourself for what's gone wrong, or you can forgive yourself and move on. Dwelling on such thoughts can only create self-harm and delay healing. To be able to heal, you need to accept the circumstances, forgive yourself and your mistakes, and move on.

Time does not heal everything but acceptance will heal everything.

-- Buddha

Ask yourself "What would you say to your best friend if your best friend was in the situation?" Will you put her/him down? Will you blame him or her even more for what went wrong? No, you would cheer your best friend up and try every way you can to make him/her feel better. So why aren't you doing this to yourself? You can choose to be your own worst enemy or your own best friend. Choose wisely.


6. You realize who your true friends are

When you are up in life your friends get to know who you are. When you are down in life you get to know who your friends are. There will be many people who will be great to be around when times are easy. Instead take note of the people who remain in your life when times are hard. The friends that are willing to sacrifice their time and the resources they have in their life to help improve yours. Those are your real friends. A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.

These moments are crucial in life because it's when you realize who matters and who doesn't. Only true friends will stick by you through tough times, help you in every way they can, and are always there to listen to you.

Once you realize who your true friends are, cherish them. They are very hard to find.


7. You realize what matters and what doesn't.

When you are in a good financial situation, you probably find joy through activities such as dining out, going to the pub, going to events, shopping, and traveling. However, when life gets tough, you cannot afford to do those things. If you spend time feeling sad about the situation and missing the things you used to get to do, then you'd be unhappy. But if you learn to enjoy the simple things in life, little by little, and appreciate what you have, then you would realize that life is not too bad after all.

Instead of dining out, you start cooking. Instead of going out clubbing, you invite your friends over or go to their house and enjoy the company that way. Instead of going shopping, you learn to be happy with what you already have. Over and over this becomes a habit -- you start to adopt a minimal way of life and find joy and happiness from the simplest things.

Recommended read : Comfort Is An Illusion.


Mo is the founder of The Happiness Planner, a stationery line that focuses on happiness, positive thinking, mindfulness, and personal development. She also has a blog called BrandMentalist where she writes about modern life wisdoms, happiness, self-improvement, and entrepreneurship.

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