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We all encounter challenges. Sometimes it may seem like life is nothing but challenges. We may try to avoid them for a while before we realize that it’s impossible. It’s better to learn how to face them!
The pathway of meditation and mindfulness trains you to face your challenges. It helps in an incredible number of ways: it can give us the energy needed to overcome obstacles, the clarity to see what a challenge is really about, and the detachment to rise above the situation. Ultimately it prepares us to use challenges to evolve.
We’ve come up with a hack you can use at any time to manage difficult situations and use them to propel you towards inner success. We call it Deal, Survive, and Thrive! These are the 3 steps you can follow when you sense you might be in a difficult situation. They’ll remind you of everything you need to do:
1) Deal: Acknowledge the reality of your situation. Denying or sugarcoating something doesn’t change it. It usually makes things worse for several reasons: while you delay dealing with a situation, it can deteriorate and become worse. Since a part of you knows that a situation is difficult, trying to deny it usually increases anxiety and stress around it. The issue itself may not be bad, but you will definitely overreact if you get more stressed about it. How do you deal? You quiet your mind. You look around. Take a breath. Practice your meditation technique for a few moments, focusing on one of your energy centers, a visualization, a mantra, or other focus that clears your mind and raises your inner energy. This is not running away from the situation: by stilling your thoughts you’ll be able to see a situation more clearly.
2) Survive: use your quiet mind to figure out how you will get through the difficult situation. Sometimes you need to simply sidestep a situation. Sometimes you must defend yourself. The same meditation techniques will raise your energy, the life force, to be able to do what you need to to get through a situation as well as possible. People in life threatening circumstances describe a calmness, clarity, and a slowing down of time that comes over them. Trust yourself to make the right decisions even if you are freaking out: your mind and heart may be racing, but a deeper part of you sees the situation as another moment that will pass and will automatically figure out what to do. The more you get out of the way by being mindful, the better your true self will get you through the situation.
3) Thrive: see the opportunity available in every difficult situation. Is there something in the situation that will take us further? There always is. Sometimes it’s just gaining confidence and strength to take on new challenges since we’ve successfully dealt with challenges in the past. Being comfortable can be the enemy of progress. A difficult situation makes us pull from within: we bring energy to bear we didn’t know we had, we see things from a new perspective.
Eventually we may get so good at challenges that we purposefully seek out new ones to further ourselves. Like everything in life, this is a balance. We need time to recharge, to process what we’ve been through, and then when we’re ready, the challenges will be there for us. But now you’ll see them as the substance of transformation, the clay that we get to make new beautiful things out of.