When facing a challenge have you ever felt so much emotional pain that you thought you would break? I’ve felt that way. Although going through these kinds of challenges is hard, steps you can take to help overcome them can be easy. I’ve learned how to accept and overcome challenges in 2 easy ways.
They both have Miller syndrome, a rare condition affecting only 30 known people worldwide. They also each have a genetic lung disease. In addition to having these two diseases, when they were in their mid-20’s their doctor diagnosed them with autism.
While raising Heather and Logan, I’ve often been overcome by sadness because they have so many disabilities. Everything is hard for them to do. Even breathing and hearing are difficult.
Before I learned acceptance, I suffered because I focused on how sad I felt for Heather and Logan because they looked different. Watching them receive constant stares and rejection from people when they’re in public was difficult to experience.
I felt utterly helpless and alone. I desperately wanted them to look like everybody else so their life would be easier. Sometimes I cried until there were no more tears. I felt as if my heart really would break.
What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know how to accept this painful reality. Feeling joy while facing all my challenges felt completely out of my reach. I needed to find help because I couldn’t overcome these hardships by myself. During my research, I found a couple easy steps I could take to learn acceptance.
How to Accept and Overcome Challenges in 2 Easy Ways
As you move through your challenges, you discover ideas that come to be foundational in your life. Through trial and error, you learn strategies, and gain tools to use that can help you overcome your challenges and create joy in your life. ~Debbie Jorde
I’ve learned how to accept and overcome challenges in 2 easy ways. I like to call these pearls of wisdom.
2 Pearls of Wisdom: What You Resist Will Persist and. The Serenity Prayer.
“What You Resist, Persists” ~Carl Jung
In my late 20’s, I heard Carl Jung’s saying, What You Resist, Persists, for the first time.
I understood this saying intellectually, but it wasn’t until I experienced myself resisting challenges that I came to understand its meaning more fully.
In my lowest moment, I had developed the eating disorder bulimia. This emotional illness had spiraled out of control.
To overcome this challenge, I talked to a counselor and attended Overeaters Anonymous, OA, every week.
While attending this support group, I learned that I suffered more when I resisted what I was feeling or what was happening. I wasn’t facing my emotions or my problems. Instead, I was resisting by avoiding them.
Hearing the quote, what you resist, persists, helped bring me to the full understanding that everything gets worse when I resist my challenges.
At night, after my kids were in bed, I often felt overwhelmed. I was tired from working all day, and the dirty dishes, laundry, and unpaid bills piled up from neglect.
Often, I often didn’t know how I would pay my next month’s rent.
Suffering increases when you resist your challenges. However, hardships immediately feel better when you stop resisting them.Click to tweet
On top of overwhelming responsibilities and money problems, I was afraid and lonely. I also worried about my children’s future and my own.
My inner critic was judging me harshly for not doing a better job of everything. Instead of facing these feelings or taking steps to do something about what I could change, I avoided them. I would eat delicious foods to feel better.
Not only did my problems get worse by avoiding them in this way, but also I created a new issue by overeating.
Avoidance is a form of resisting. There are many other types as well.
Forms of Resistance
When you’re resisting your emotions and problems, they persist, and they often get worse. Feeling resistance can cause you to behave entirely unconsciously.
Gaining an awareness of when you’re resisting, creates an opportunity to look at what you’re feeling and doing at the time. Seeing your reactions will bring to consciousness, choices you can make that will improve the situation. Making conscious decisions will bring desired results and create a better future. ~Debbie Jorde
I vividly remember the moment when I became aware of what I was about to do, in reaction to feeling my resistance. It happened during one of my nightly episodes like the one I described earlier. I was feeling overwhelmed by all my fears and hardships.
My mind had gone blank, and my body moved like a robot on autopilot. I walked into the kitchen, opened the pantry doors and took out a box of chocolate cookies. I wasn’t even hungry.
Reaching into the box, I pulled out a cookie and brought it to my lips. I was about to eat the cookie when suddenly I became completely conscious of what I was doing.
Be alert during challenging times by noticing when you are resisting, and you will make more conscious choices.”Click to tweet
At that precise moment, I had the awareness that I had a choice. I felt like I had just awakened.
In the past, I was feeling too much resistance to have had a choice. Instead of eating the cookie, I chose not to put the cookie in my mouth.
From that moment on, I became more aware of my feelings and what I was doing during challenging times. I noticed when I was resisting something, paid attention to my emotions, and made conscious choices.
I reminded myself that I would feel better in the morning and I did.
Accepting Your Challenges Stops Resistance
It’s usually not your challenges that are causing your suffering and lack of joy, it’s the resistance you feel about your challenges. Resistance blocks your awareness of the beauty in your life. When you’re resisting your life’s circumstances and how you’re feeling, you lose your ability to choose your actions.
By accepting what is happening, you can overcome the resistance.
3 Steps to Stopping Resistance
- Be honest with yourself. Admit you have a problem. Take time to look inside and find out what is going on with you. Meditate.
- Ask for help. Attend a support group or talk to a counselor, a friend, or a family member. Read a self-help book.
- Accept your feelings and challenges.
The Serenity Prayer
The first and second steps I listed above are self-explanatory, however, the third step isn’t as easy to understand or to know how to accomplish.
When I was participating in the OA support group, I learned The Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
The words in this prayer can help you understand acceptance. Also, saying it during difficult times when you’re resisting what is happening can help calm your anxiety.
In a composed state of mind, you’ll be able to connect to your stronger, more conscious self. You’ll see the situation more clearly and make your choices from strength instead of fear.
At the time I learned the “Serenity Prayer,” I had lost my faith to believe in God in any traditional way. I learned to define God as “a power greater than myself.”
My new-found belief in a power greater than myself helped me through some serious situations.
Accept and Overcome Challenges with a Power Greater than Yourself
View the energy of one person, or a group of individuals, who are in your life to help you, as a power greater than yourself.
My son, Logan, has gone through some intense episodes of depression. During the most challenging times, I often felt crushed with sadness and fear because of his suffering.
On Christmas Eve morning in 2004, I was about to drive my husband to the airport. He was going to spend Christmas with his aging mother. My phone rang, so I answered. It was Logan.
His voice was a whisper, “Mom, I’m a danger to myself.” Saying this, was his way of telling me, he wanted to end his life. I was frantic.
“I’m leaving right now to come pick you up,” I said.
As soon as I hung up the phone, I started chanting “the serenity prayer.” Doing this kept my mind busy, so I wouldn’t keep thinking of horrible scenarios.
With my mind occupied, I felt calmer. In a strange way, I also felt like I was doing something to help the situation.
I picked Logan up, and he rode with Lynn and me to the airport. Then, I took him home with me. He slept through Christmas that year. I felt helpless.
When I was alone, in a moment of despair, I sobbed because my son was suffering. I cried because I understood why Logan didn’t want to live. His life was just too hard.
Every sad reality in my children’s lives and mine came crashing in. I cried until I was exhausted and there were no more tears.
Afterward, my mind felt blank, and my feelings were numb. At that moment, when I felt nothing, I suddenly realized I couldn’t change my children’s physical appearance, their disabilities, or how people reacted to them.
I realized there was no point in focusing on these things any longer. I had to accept them. That moment is when I felt peace.
Along with the peace, came relief. I didn’t have to think about these kinds of problems anymore. I started focusing on situations could change. As I started changing some of my circumstances, I gained an awareness of the thoughts, people, and activities I could focus on that bring me joy. Even though I still had challenges, I felt more happiness as I moved through them.
Accepting Challenges Makes Overcoming them Easier
When you accept the challenges you can’t change, you don’t have to worry about them anymore. You are free to focus on the ones you can change.
Consciously, I started living the serenity prayer, learning to accept the things I couldn’t change and using courage to change the things I could. Doing this resulted in my getting through challenges more easily.
As soon as the Christmas holiday passed, I took Logan to see his doctor. They took him off the medication that he had been taking for the previous two months and also prescribed a different drug.
Logan received regular medical care, weekly therapy, and the correct medications. Also, Logan is an artist. Painting a series of flowers helped him through that episode of extreme depression. He went on to have an exhibit of his flowers in 2006, at Art Access Gallery, in Salt Lake City. He is now stable.
Calm Your Emotions
Using the Serenity prayer, words of affirmation, counting to ten, or taking a walk around the block, gives you valuable time you need to calm your emotions. Calmer emotions make room for better feelings, and thoughts which creates a more positive outlook.
You will make better choices each moment that you’re in a calm, centered place. Your future will be better because your current choices create your future.
In conclusion, I hope that using the two concepts,”what you resist will persist” and the serenity prayer will help you as you face and overcome the hardships in your life. As you face and overcome them, I hope you will experience more happiness along the way, even during chronic challenges.
Have you found some “Pearls of Wisdom” that help you accept and overcome challenges in your life?
I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Learn more about accepting and overcoming challenges: