11/07/2013 11:45 am ET

The New Face of Adversity

There are times in our lives when we might become faced with adversity. It usually comes unexpectedly and with so much force that we are knocked off our feet. Our worlds become shattered and our life, as we knew it, starts to crumble. We are left broken.

We are now faced with a choice. We can become bitter and live a life that is full of fear, regret, guilt and shame, or we can choose to become better and create a new normal, by finding the resiliency inside to bounce back. The sooner you can decide, the easier it will be.

We will begin to learn to put one foot in front of the other. You will discover a path to a journey of rebuilding and moving forward. There are four components to achieving this goal. In order to take the focus off of your pain, you will need to find a passion in your life, a purpose. Many times we take the actual adversity that we've gone through and find ways to empower others with the knowledge of our experiences. You are giving back by finding compassion. It's another way of helping others while healing yourself. The experience of giving, opens up your heart and brings you into a spiritual space.

Of all the healing tools that there are, I believe gratitude is the strongest and most pure. If you are grateful, it's impossible for you to feel anger, resentment and jealousy, those feelings cannot co-exist with gratitude. Lastly, it's crucial to have a strong sense of self-worth. When you have gone through any adversity, for example; cancer, abuse, addiction, loss of a loved one, financial ruins etc., many times, your self-worth is destroyed. It takes hard work and determination to build it back up. Letting go of shame is the key.

Adversity does not discriminate. It does not care about your race, religion, sexual orientation or net worth. It can happen to anyone at any time. No one is protected and no one is exempt.

When we recover from adversity, we are left with a rare gift. We have now developed a strength that not many have. We have become fighters, warriors and we need to wear our badges of honor proudly. We cannot feel sorry for ourselves and bathe in self-pity, for we are no longer victims. We have a knowledge that we've earned about life and survival that not many share.

I have survived abuse, divorce, cancer, a child with addiction, a special needs grandchild and financial ruins. I didn't allow it to destroy me. Instead, I made the right decision. I built a life of happiness and success. I found my passion and gave back to society. My gratitude overflows and my thirst for knowledge is unstoppable. I am the new face of adversity. I became the role model I want for my children and grandchildren to see. My intentions are pure and my heart is full. If I can survive, so can you.