There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time. – Malcolm X
Wouldn’t it be nice if overcoming adversity was as easy as some ABC step by step process? Well sorry, there’s no secret or magic wand to help make adversity easy to handle. However, we can learn about how people tend to respond in the face of life’s challenges, and how we can cope more effectively with stress. There are a few main ways we respond to stress in life. We can give up, put up, or step up. Giving up is when we succumb to the stressful event and feel defeated. Putting up with a stressful event is accepting it and dealing with it but from a place of distress and reservation. Stepping up is when we bounce back, fully recover and do what it takes to meet the challenge. We may even end up a stronger person. In order to be able to step up and overcome stressful events we need the ability to cope, to take control of our attitude, to make meaning out of the situation, and to take necessary action. A helpful model to be hardier is the ABCDE sequence of resiliency. The reason I like this sequence is because it helps to make the process of bouncing back from adversity more easily understandable.
In order to move forward from a difficult situation the first step is to accept and confront reality. When we try to avoid a problem it will never get resolved. There are things we can’t change and we must learn to accept these limitations. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, so accepting that there is a problem allows us to start dealing with it.
Believe that life is worth living
Once we accept that there is a problem we want to solve, developing the faith that things will get better is a crucial step. This is what hope is all about. When we have hope for a better tomorrow we can muster the courage and strength to tackle a challenge. Recognize the personal strengths and competency you have that will help you get through the hardship.
Commit to goals and actions
Many people stay stuck and stagnant when they are faced with adversity. When we accept the reality we are facing and cultivate hope that things will get better, we can start taking action to make a change. This is where we begin problem solving and figuring out what we can do that will improve the situation. We can commit to move forward and do what we can in the face of obstacles.
Discover the meaning and significance of the situations
When we become receptive to learning lessons we can gain new insights about ourselves and life in general. We may connect deeper with who we are or the person we are capable of being. Consider what you can learn from the situation? What relationships in your life you can more deeply connect with? Or, how it is changing you for the better?
Enjoyment and evaluation
Once we have done the work to bounce back from obstacles it is important to evaluate if our strategy is working. We can reflect on our experience and find ways to adjust and adapt as we go forward. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to deal with a difficult situation. Let yourself evaluate how things unfolded and learn from your experience. If possible try to enjoy the journey. As much as we want to believe life will be easy and carefree, the sooner we accept there will be hardships in life the better. Becoming resilient is important to deal with these hardships. The ABCDE model of resilience can help us approach problems with a greater sense of personal power and a deeper understanding of the situation. You can develop the ability to solve problems, respond in a healthy way, and remain optimistic about the future.