“Adversity isn’t an obstacle that we need to get around in order to resume living our life. It’s part of our life. And I tend to think of it like my shadow. Sometimes I see a lot of it, sometimes there’s very little, but it’s always with me.”
This woman, Aimee Mullins, is totally inspiring. Listen to her TED talk & prepare to be blown away by pure amazingness!
Aimee was born without shin bones. The doctor who delivered her had to tell her parents that their baby would never walk, run or play like other children would. She’s been proving him a liar ever since & is now a Paralympic athlete! To get there though, she had to ‘overcome adversity’ as the saying goes.
Listening to this talk was so interesting for me because she talks about something that I’ve been grappling with for a while….
Shit happens. It happens a lot. To everybody at some point in their lives. Often it’s said that you can ‘overcome adversity’ or ‘get over it.’ Really?
Losing people we love, coping with serious health issues, concerns over any of the tough stuff that life throws up – all of these are real & not things you can just deal with & overcome, moving on as if nothing had happened.
Aimee explains it so eloquently:
Implicit in this phrase of “overcoming adversity” is the idea that success, or happiness, is about emerging on the other side of a challenging experience unscathed or unmarked by the experience.
The reality is that we are changed. There will always be marks & scars. The important thing to remember is that scars aren’t always bad.
When I was 7, our family was involved in a serious car accident. Fortunately, no one was badly injured & the longest lasting war wound was a neat scar on my left knee. I remember my mom asking me a while after it had happened whether I wanted to look into having plastic surgery or something to make the scar less noticeable. I remember being slightly taken aback & replied something along the lines of “no way! It’s part of me & if people don’t like it then that’s their problem!” I don’t recall any negative feedback from it & and in fact, it was great fun after I moved to the UK where nobody knew me & I could pretend that it was from a shark bite!
Nowadays I have a few more scars that I find it harder to make peace with. It’s not always easy but I find relief when I can accept that things are OK the way they are.
Things won’t ever go back to the way they were. That’s OK.
I will never be the same person I was. That’s OK.
Some days will be sad days. That’s ok.
Some days will be angry days. That’s ok.
Some days will be Bear Hunt days. That’s ok.
Some days will be great days. That’s ok.
Some days I will eat my body weight in chocolate. That’s OK too!
I notice people often comparing their challenges in life to others & making themselves feel guilty for feeling the way they do because ‘there’s always someone worse off’.
The truth is that it’s all very real & relative to every single person.
Adversity is tough, no matter how it affects you & the question isn’t whether or not you’re going to meet adversity. The question is how you’re going to meet it.