Finding strength from adversity

Without fail, in every week, I meet people that totally amaze me. In my work,it is mostly people affected by cancer, but there are also lots of other people,who have different issues, which they are struggling to deal with. One of my favourite sayings is that ‘there is no hierarchy in problems’. By this I mean that to each one of us, our big problem is big. There is no point in comparing your own issues with someone else’s.

I constantly hear very moving stories, and in my mind, I feel I know which the most moving one is, but inevitably, fairly soon, I hear another one, which is more so than the other.This week I met a man, who’s story I will struggle to beat for some time I think, and it made me think of the strength that we have in us as humans, even if we don’t know that we have it.My personal experience of cancer, and that of many people I have met, has shown me that at times, nature gives us tools to help us deal with our situation. We can obtain, courage, strength, patience, humility etc, even if we didn’t think that we possessed those particular characteristics in the first place.

I met this particular gentleman, by chance, as he wanted my help with something. He had fled from war torn Afghanistan, to England. Here, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and has had most of his stomach removed. He has been recovering for a year, from a very gruelling time. Not only is he struggling with his illness, he struggles with the language too. Trying to make his way in a very unfamiliar culture, on his own, with language difficulties and a serious illness to treat.

Why did he want my help? He wanted to give something back to this country!!! He was grateful for what had been done for him, but was struggling to find an opportunity to help people.This was a very moving experience for me. People always tell me that they find me inspiring, ( an over used word sometimes) but this man made me feel very humble in his presence.

He had found strength from his illness, and there was no obstacle too large for him. So many people I have met, that have been touched by illness, in one way or another, have found strength to deal with their numerous problems. Sometimes it can take a life changing event, to find the real us. This doesn’t always happen immediately either. Sometimes we get weaker before we find that inner strength.

We all have problems to deal with, that are out of our control, and things that maybe we are facing for the first time. It might be that this problem is the toughest thing that we have faced.But we generally are able to deal with it, even if it takes a long time. It might feel that it is never going to end, but it does. Generally we come out from that experience, stronger in one way or another.These situations help form our personalities and make us the people that we are, and whether we realise it or not we are constantly evolving.

A very current example of the sort of thing that I am talking about is the Paralympic Games. All the competitors have turned their disadvantages, to strengths, as they concentrate on what they have, and not what they don’t! They take what they have and make it better. I have heard interviews with some of these guys, and some were born with their disability, and others got it in later life. Look how they have transformed their lives.

I am very aware that this is not the case for everyone, and some people struggle in adversity, but in most cases that I have experienced, people have eventually come out of the process, stronger in many ways.For a lot, their lives have changed completely.

Are you facing some tough times? Financial, job, health, or relationship issues? Do you feel weaker or stronger for those experiences? Where are you in the cycle? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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