the edge of boston strong and overcoming adversity

(image courtesy of c-event photography)

Boston Strong” is a slogan that was created to support the victims of the two bombs that exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

Boston Strong is still being used to provide support and hope to the bombing victims to help them recover from their injuries and overcome the adversity the bombings caused in their lives. It is also a slogan to express a stand that runners, the people of Boston and the rest of the world took against the mindset of group of people who caused the bombings and other similar groups who desire to intentionally cause death and injury to others to support their own agendas.

I am #bostonstrong again today.  How about you?

Webster’s dictionary defines a “slogan” as “a word or phrase used to express a characteristic position or stand or a goal to be achieved.”

We all face some sort of adversity in our own lives.  Many times adversity explodes into our lives in the form of an accident, event, serious injury, sudden death, loss of a job, etc. Other times adversity creeps into our lives in the form of a breakup, a divorce or a chronic illness, etc. that is the result of the choices we made over a period of time.

“Adversity can both explode and creep into our lives.”

So how can you overcome adversity in your own life?

1.  Acknowledge the adversity you are facing in your own life.

One of the first steps you need to take to overcome any adversity in your own life is to acknowledge the adversity you are facing.  Surprisingly, many people who are facing adversity in their lives refuse to admit to themselves or to others that they are facing any adversity.  Failure to acknowledge the adversity creates a barrier to overcoming it or moving past it.

Take out a piece of paper and a pen and write down the adversity you are facing.  Many studies have shown the physical act of writing significantly boosts accountability and the achievement of goals by connecting the person’s mind and body to the written words.

Write on your paper “I am currently facing  _________________________ adversity in my life.

For example, I am currently facing a health related adversity because I am overweight.

2.  Identify the emotions, beliefs and reactions associated with your adversity.

Make a list of all the emotions associated with the adversity you are facing.  How does the adversity in your life make your feel?  Do you feel, angry, afraid, anxious, sad, stressed, hopeless, depressed, etc.  Identifying the emotions associated with your adversity allows you to recognize the emotions when they come up so you can effectively deal with them. Also identify any emotions associated with your adversity from your beliefs.  Such beliefs typically arise from family, religious, cultural and other belief systems. Then, identify how you react when any of these emotions come up.

Write on your paper: “My ______________ adversity makes me feel _________________________________.”  The emotions of my __________________ adversity come from my ______________________ beliefs on __________________________.  When I feel ________________________, my reaction is________________________.

For example, “My health adversity makes me feel anxious.  The emotions of my health adversity come from criticisms from my family that makes me feel sad.  When I feel sad, my reaction is to eat a gallon of ice cream and that makes my health adversity worse because I am already overweight.

3.  Create a reaction plan with positive action steps to overcome your adversity.

How you react to the adversity you are facing is very important.  You can react in a negative way that keeps you a victim of your adversity or in a positive way that empowers you and makes you victorious over your adversity.  Make a list of positive actions steps you can take to react to and overcome your adversity.

Write on your paper:  My positive reaction steps to overcome my adversity:_______________________________.

For example, “My health adversity makes me feel anxious I feel sad because of criticism from family.  I eat too much and that caused my health adversity.  When I feel anxious or sad I will: (1) go for a walk instead of eating ice cream; (2) take a deep breath, acknowledge my emotions then let them go; (3) express to my family how my their criticism hurts me; (4) write down in my journal why I am felling anxious or sad instead of eating anything, etc.

4.  Develop your own slogan to express your position about your adversity.

Finally, create your own personal slogan for you own adversity.  It is your own adversity, so make your slogan your own personal response to it. Write your own slogan down. Use your own personal slogan as one of the tools to overcome your own adversity.  Repeat it out loud a couple of times a day.  Give it energy, life and make it real.  Write it on sticky notes and place the sticky notes around your home and office to keep your slogan in a top-of-mind awareness.

Write on your paper:  My own anti-adversity slogan:_____________________________.

For example:  “I now take charge so I will not be so large.”

“Remember, adversity is very often only a sharp edge of an opportunity to grow, or a lesson for you to learn as a person.”

Out There on the Edge of Everything®…

Stephen Lesavich, PhD

Co-author of the award-winning and best-selling book:  The Plastic Effect:  How Urban Legends Influence the Use and Misuse of Credit Cards.

Regular columnist: Positive Impact Magazine

Follow Stephen Lesavich, PhD on Twitter: @SLesavich

Copyright © 2016, by Stephen Lesavich, PhD.  All rights reserved.