By anguillian May 22, 2017 11:32 Updated



What do you usually do when faced with challenges? Oftentimes there is the tendency to fret and complain. We tend to think of challenges as big mountains that stand between us and our goals. That might seem like a bad thing at first glance, but do you realize that it is possible to feel grateful for the challenges you face on a daily basis?

If you had the opportunity to ask mountain climbers about what they think of the many challenges they confront on their climbing expedition, they will be the first to tell you that those challenges helped to sharpen their focus, provide physical strength and enable them to build character.

While most of us don’t really welcome those negative challenges, they are opportunities. When you are pushed up against your limits, when you have to face your fears, your worst nightmares, you have the opportunity to dig down deep and learn what you are made of. Facing unexpected challenges really demands that you rely on your inner strengths and resources. You typically don’t have time to prepare extensively – something just happens and you are left to cope as best you can. And during those times, you get to know yourself better than you can under calmer circumstances.

It is during those times that you learn about your courage. You learn about integrity. You learn about your persistence or stubbornness or stamina. You learn about your abilities to creatively problem solve. Usually this learning isn’t particularly comfortable.

You also learn about support. Sometimes you learn that the people you would have thought were your support system are not really there for you, but there is always someone somewhere who is willing to assist you.

Those unexpected challenges really provide opportunities for growth. And although we would not ask for such challenges, we almost always benefit from facing them and moving through them. We learn about ourselves. And although we never handle those situations perfectly, we get through them and learn that we are capable of handling tough times. That’s a very valuable lesson because we probably would not be able to learn those lessons any other way.

Opportunities and challenges give us a chance to learn valuable lessons about ourselves and our capabilities. This learning helps us not only survive, but thrive. One of the most powerful lessons that come to mind is the ability to switch perspective. Rather than seeing a mountain as an impossible obstacle, mountain climbers see it as a welcome test of their strength and endurance. They see it as an opportunity to thrill and inspire them, to stretch their limits and push themselves to greater levels of achievement and self-mastery.

Whether your mountain is literal or figurative, stop seeing it as a dead-end. Stop letting it intimidate you and, instead, let it fuel your determination to succeed anyway. When you stand at the foot of a mountain and gaze up toward the peak hidden in the clouds, don’t focus on the difficult climb ahead but on the benefits you stand to gain in the process.

Ask yourself these questions:

• What can this challenge teach me about myself?
• What parts of myself can this challenge help me develop?

• What natural skills and abilities can I use to help me through this challenge?

• What will I gain by working through this challenge?

And then, most importantly – be GRATEFUL for the OPPORTUNITY! See your mountain as a welcome opportunity to stretch and grow beyond where you are now. You will never encounter a mountain that can’t be climbed. You will develop your own system for mental and physical preparation, and you will come to enjoy the thrill of the challenge.

Instead, learn to let gratitude become your climbing partner. The more grateful you are for the experiences that strengthen you, the more worthwhile the journey will seem when you finally stand at the top of that mountain. However, never be afraid for your valley experiences and the challenges you face along with them.

Here is a poem written by Jane Eggleston that may inspire you: It’s In The Valley We Grow.

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It’s then we have to remember,
That it’s in the valleys we grow.

If we always stayed on the mountain top,
And never experienced pain,
We would never appreciate God’s love,
And would be living in vain.

We have so much to learn,
And our growth is very slow,
Sometimes we need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys we grow.

We do not always understand,
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.

The little valleys are nothing,
When we picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for the valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The Mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow!

Remember: A challenge can only intimidate you if you let it. It can only stop you in your tracks if you sit down and stop climbing. It’s not how many times you get knocked down that counts – It’s how many times you get up in life that matter.

About the Author: Mrs. Marilyn Hodge owns and operates the Wellness Centre in the Farrington, Anguilla. The Centre offers Counselling Services by Appointment Only and has now published Positive Living Volume 2. Contact information: 476-3517 or email:marilynb@anguillanet.com. www.facebook.com/axawellnesscentre

By anguillian May 22, 2017 11:32 Updated


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