Adversity Brings Personal Growth
As a survivor of a life-changing event, I have learned from experience how to bounce back in the face of adversity. On June 13, 1998, I was crushed by a large falling tree while riding my bicycle on a pathway. As a result, I am paralyzed. Lost is my ability to stand or walk without the aid of crutches, something most of us take for granted. I am dependent on my wheelchair for getting me around the house and community. Coping with the losses that this tragedy brought me, has been extremely difficult.
When all your hopes and dreams are suddenly shattered, your life is rocked to the core. You look within yourself to find strength. A large dose of self determination and tenacity can project you forward.
In order to restore my independence, which I so desperately wanted to regain, I had to learn to do many things all over again. This time in a new way. Simple tasks like dressing and showering seemed impossible. I wanted my life back, the way it was before I was injured. My guiding motivation is that there will be a hopeful future. I do what is necessary to move towards restoring function and mobility.
In the past year and a half I have gained new insights on how to step forward after the adversity changed my life. I discovered that by setting goals, more progress was being made. The progress that you want to achieve needs to be in the form of written goals. Make a mental note of what small steps you need to initiate and accomplish in order to achieve your goals. These steps become tasks to attain. In my continuing journey of recovery and rehabilitation, I have learned many lessons that I have turned into rules to live by.
One simple guideline I follow in order to accomplish my goals is to do something new every day. No matter how small the act, let any activity count. You are the judge. Each new pursuit should be in line with your goals.
An example of a new task I was determined to do was putting on my shoes. I had to learn how to get dressed in my wheelchair. My shoes were the last item of clothing that I needed assistance putting on. My feet are paralyzed and I use my hands and arms to position my shoes on my feet. This task involved having the ability to bend one leg and cross it on top of the other knee. It also involved strengthening and flexing the muscles in my legs in order to bring my foot to my knee. A series of exercises which I performed at home resulted in the needed strength and flexibility. Each day brought me closer to the joy of victory. After about a month of practicing, I was finally able to independently put both shoes on my feet.
The act of doing something new every day needs to be a conscious habit. Upon awaking in the morning, and before getting out of bed, focus on what the new activity will be for that day. Your conscious mind may come up with the behavior immediately. If nothing comes to mind, allow your subconscious mind to work on it throughout the day. It is important that you resurface the thought of doing something new, then take action to complete the task.
This may be hard to accomplish at first. The day can get away from you. Do what you can in the time remaining before you sleep. Then the next morning, start contemplating an activity that is feasible to accomplish for that day.
You may find yourself resisting new activities. Sometimes we put up mental roadblocks and say, "I can't". Recognize when you mentally limit your pursuits because you believe that you can't accomplish the task. What at first seems impossible, may just likely be possible.
It is important that you recognize your progress and take pride in your accomplishments. Share your achievements with others. Brag a little. The recognition and support of those around you is nurturing.
Adversity precedes growth. As you start working towards your goals and realizing progress, you will be encouraged to attempt ever more challenging activities in the days ahead. Take time to look back. Looking back teaches you how far you have come and reinforces your belief in your abilities. Soon you will see that the crisis in your life has brought you new insights and meaning. You will become different in some way having had to face the adversity.
� Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. would like to read your comments about her column and the impact it has made on your life. She also encourages your ideas for future columns. Contact her at: Rosemarie@RosemarieSpeaks.com, or 1008 Eastchester Dr., Columbus, OH 43230-6230.
Byline: To book Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. to speak at a conference, contact her at: (614) 471-6100; www.RosemarieSpeaks.com. Rosemarie works with organizations and corporations that want to bring out the best in their people, and she demonstrates how to live life with conviction.
Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D