We have power over one thing and one thing only in our lives: our perspective. Through our perspective, we get to give meaning to the circumstances that life sends our way. Nothing has meaning until we give it meaning.

When you choose to see every life experience — desired or not — as an opportunity to learn and grow, you quickly realize the value in challenging times, because that is usually where the most growth happens.

When we are in pain, we innately seek to get out of it. There are two choices.  The first is what many do without realizing, which is numbing the pain by “avoidance” types of activity, like staying overly busy, overindulging in food, or abusing alcohol or other substances.  The second choice is to seek wisdom and a positive perspective to begin healing the pain, which works the “muscles” of resiliency, courage,  strength and adaptability.

Once we realize that avoidance only keeps us stuck or — worse — sets us back in our own personal growth, we can see challenging times as opportunities. Strength comes through struggle when we chose to be empowered by our circumstances, not victimized. That makes us better equipped to handle disappointments in the future, rather then be stopped in our tracks by them.

Bottom line: It’s all about the perspective you bring, the choices you make, and the relationship you decide to have with challenging times.

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