“How will I get through this challenge? I don’t think I can do this! How do other people do it?” Are these familiar questions you ask yourself when you’re feeling depleted, discouraged or unmotivated because you’re facing a challenge? I certainly have.
While moving through a maze of obstacles in my life, I’ve learned 3 great ways to accept and overcome challenges.
Taking these measures can make navigating through hardships and overcoming them easier, so I’m sharing them with you.
Challenges are Part of Living
Years ago, I learned a lesson about accepting challenges after talking with my 75-year-old grandmother. She was sharing her disappointments about the sad news she had recently received from her doctor.
The bills were piling up, my kids’ scheduled surgeries were looming, and the house was a terrible mess, so I was feeling completely discouraged.
I was feeling lonely and afraid, so I phoned my grandmother. Talking with someone often lifted my spirits. She had never complained about her challenges. However, she was close to tears that day.
She said, “I found out that my heart isn’t working properly anymore, so my oxygen level is low. I won’t be able to travel unless I use oxygen on the airplane, so I guess I won’t be flying anymore.”
My perception of my challenges immediately changed when she told me about her new disappointment and the challenges she was facing.
Suddenly, I realized one reason why my current problems were feeling so hard. They seemed especially difficult because I had been saying to myself, “After I handle this issue, I’ll be done having problems.”
Logically, I knew my problems wouldn’t end, but my perception was that they would. Because of my unrealistic expectations, I wasn’t at all prepared when future challenges came.
Unexpected challenges felt especially hard when they came because I reacted with more surprise, shock, disappointment, and anger than if I had accepted reality.
This realization reshaped my thoughts. From then on, I accepted that challenges would keep coming because facing challenges is part of living.
Acceptance Makes Overcoming Challenges Easier
It would have been easy to think that because I had overcome divorce, raising two disabled kids by myself, poverty, and bulimia, that I shouldn’t have any more significant challenges, right?
Well, it didn’t turn out like that. In 2009, a new doctor diagnosed me with having multiple sclerosis, MS. I had noticed unexplained symptoms for 20 years, and two previous doctors had misdiagnosed me throughout those years.
Believing that challenges are a part of life and that I need to accept them, helped make this new challenge easier to handle. I’m not saying it was easy, but it didn’t feel impossible.
A week after being diagnosed, I was driving to work. At a red light and alone in my car, I yelled out loud, “I don’t want to have MS! I know I would learn wonderful lessons and gain personal growth, but I’m very clear that I don’t want MS!”
After making this known to the Divine Energy Source, Universe, God, or whatever word you want to use, I continued my conversation in a lower voice. I said, “If I have to live the rest of my life with MS for reasons I don’t know about or remember, I accept this. I will overcome this new challenge like I’ve overcome my previous hardships.”
This story might sound a little far-fetched, but I did this, and I meant what I said.
Also, that taking good care of yourself and your needs both between and while you’re handling challenges makes you stronger than when you don’t.
Take a rest after you tackle a challenge, then do something that helps you feel good, have some fun, and build strength and endurance, so you can better handle the next challenge.
Accepting challenges can help you successfully overcome problems more easily.
Acceptance brings strength and helps you feel more optimistic about your hardships.
In planning for future challenges, I found a pattern in the actions I took that contributed to successfully accepting and overcoming them. Now, I use these steps all the time.
3 Great Ways to Accept and Overcome Challenges
Three of the steps I take begins with the letter “A,” so I like to call these actions, “The Triple A’s for Overcoming Challenges.”
The first step toward making any significant progress in accepting and overcoming a challenge is becoming aware you have a problem.
Being aware that a problem exists seems obvious, but if you’re in denial, problems are harder to see. Asking for help can help you look at your challenges so you can solve them.
Ask for Help
Sometimes you need to ask for help.
Some people think asking for help is a weakness but it’s not. It’s actually a strength!
There are many different forms of support:
- Support Groups
Finding and getting help can give you the courage to look at your problem. It helps you think out of the box, giving you a new perspective on your challenge. Gaining help often comes in stages.
After my young children’s father had deserted me, leaving me a single mom with two disabled kids, I was an emotional mess. I didn’t ask for help because I was in denial about everything.
After a while, my emotions of fear, sadness, anger, and loneliness overwhelmed me. Eating delicious foods seemed to give me relief. I was unaware that overeating could be a sign of internal struggle and I was in denial of the consequences, so I didn’t ask for help, again.
When I gained weight, I had created a new problem that increased feeling painful emotions. I was falling into a deep, dark hole and wasn’t facing my feelings or problems.
After hearing about Overeater Anonymous, OA, on the radio, I attended a meeting.
People were sharing stories about binging and purging. These stories seemed unbelievable to me. I went home thinking, “I’ll never be like them and do that.”
Even though I was still in denial, taking that first step planted seeds. I was slowly becoming aware that I had a problem.
One night I was feeling out of control because I had eaten more than I had planned. I walked into the bathroom, then stuck my finger down my throat and purged.
Making myself throw up was hard! Afterward, my face was red, and my eyes were bloodshot. Strangely though, I felt relief.
The purging continued for nearly two years, getting worse over time before I hit my bottom. I went to the eating disorder clinic at the hospital and asked for help. They taught me to see the seriousness of my problem.
In getting help, I could see that I couldn’t change many of the challenges I was facing in at that time. My children would always have disabilities, and their father was gone.
Continuously worrying about those kinds of problems and wishing things were different was causing depression. The doctors helped me face my feelings and my challenges.
When you let go of worrying about situations you can’t change and look at the ones you can change, you feel less overwhelmed.
I learned that I could do something to change and overcome the eating disorder once I accepted this challenge.
Overcoming a challenge requires accepting the problem after becoming aware of it. You could say that awareness without action is like living a fantasy.
Acceptance comes after you decide to compare your challenges and determine which problems you can change and which you can’t, let go of the ones you can’t change, and focus only on the solutions for the things you can change. ~Debbie Jorde
Accepting your challenges transforms your perceptions, which allows you to let go of worrying about the problems you can’t change. As a result, acceptance brings peace.
Acceptance gives you a fresh perspective and frees your mind from worry.
Freedom from fear gives you more energy, and your mind is more available to create solutions.
Important steps in gaining acceptance are to make peace with what you cannot change and forgive yourself.
Once you find your solutions, you will feel empowered to take the next step.
Part of accepting challenges is making peace with what you cannot change and forgiving yourself.Click to tweet
3. Take Action to Accept and Overcome Challenges
When you focus on the solutions, you are compelled to take action to bring about the changes you desire.
You must have a solid plan of action to overcome challenges.
To overcome bulimia, I took actions. I talked with a counselor and attended OA meetings for bulimics weekly, I also read self-help books, exercised regularly, and ate healthier. Most importantly, I learned to pay attention to how I was feeling and take better care of myself.
Focusing on applying solutions to the changeable situations helps you to stop thinking about the unchangeable challenges in your life. This gives you the ability to feel and stay connected to your passion. ~Debbie Jorde
Two weeks after being diagnosed with MS, I met with the doctor in person to find out more. He informed me about a daily injection that could probably slow down the MS attacks.
Since I was determined to do everything possible to stay well, I wanted to start the injections right away.
The doctor said, “Don’t you want to wait for six months to be sure since the medication is expensive?”
I responded, “Why wait? It seems like I would probably have more MS attacks if I wait. Because it’s an option, I want to start right now.”
Starting the medication right away was an action I could take that could change my situation rather than waiting. Once I began the injections, I felt relief. I had confidence and optimism that the MS wouldn’t get worse.
Feeling relief, I was inspired to heal myself by taking whatever actions I could, instead of feeling and focusing on a tremendous fear of the future.
Without fear, you can feel optimistic that the solutions you are focusing on and the actions you are taking will lead to success in overcoming your challenges. ~Debbie Jorde
The 3 Great Ways to Accept and Overcome Challenges
Look at each problem individually, decide which problems you can’t change, and identify the ones you can change.
Gain perspective by comparing the challenges and focus on those that are
Do something to alter the situations you can change.
Share Your Successes
We all have challenges and most importantly, we take steps to overcome them.
We help both others and ourselves to overcome challenges by sharing the actions we take that help us get past the challenges and the tools we use to create the results we want.