How To Handle Adversity


It’s a word that is daunting and causes anxiety, and one that we are all too familiar with. There is nobody who ever has been or ever will be born in this world who will not, at some point in their lives, face adversity. Adversity can throw us off course in our lives by derailing us and, in extreme cases, can be devastating. We often approach adversity with fear and loathing, however, this is where most go wrong. If you truly understood the nature of adversity and its purpose in your life, your relationship with it would forever change and completely transform your experience of life.

Who am I to make such a claim? Well, like all of you, I have faced my share of adversity whether its in the realm of relationships, finances, career or time. I am no stranger to obstacles and challenges but the difference between others and me is that I have been granted some profound insights into the nature of adversity which I would like to share with all of you. How I got these insights is a topic for another post.

First of all, adversity is not what you think it is. Most people look at adversity and feel that they are being punished or they have done something wrong and have to pay for it. For the longest time, I felt the same way. However, this is not why we face adversity. The thing we all need to understand is that we are only given challenges that are meant to reveal something to ourselves which has remained obscured up to that point. What I am saying is that our challenges are a direct consequence of our lack of understanding of our true nature and who we really are.

Let me demonstrate this with an example. Nobody is a stranger to relationship challenges whether it be in marriage or other romantic relationships. We often interpret these challenges as not understanding our partner or falling short of his or her expectations, however they have nothing to do with our partner. They have to do with ourselves. For example, let’s say that you and your partner have a disagreement about something, it does not matter what it is. She is angry and upset and stops talking to you for a few days. You start feeling the tension and stress in every interaction you have with her after that incident and you start feeling unloved and alone. You may think that there is something wrong with you that has instigated this response from your partner and you may briefly feel unloved but this is not the case.

All relationships have disagreements and arguments at some point but this is not the issue. The issue is seeking something from your partner which he or she cannot give you. Most people enter relationships in order to be loved by another but this is not the purpose of relationships. The purpose of relationships is to express the unconditional love that we are which is our true nature. Therefore, any challenges or conflicts that we face in our relationships are usually a direct result of our lack of understanding of this fundamental universal principle that we are unconditional love. Therefore the relationship adversity is there for us to go deeper within to realize this principle. If we realized this principle, we would not seek love outside of ourselves and, therefore, any disagreements or arguments in our relationships, besides the temporary discomfort they cause, would not be interpreted as more than they are.

This is just one of many examples I could give you of examples of adversity which many people face and how they are meant to point you to a deeper truth which you are meant to discover about your ultimate nature. This is why we are meant to bless adversity in our lives, not curse it, as it is there to reveal to us our lack of understanding of who we are or an aspect of our true nature. This does not mean that we will not feel negative emotions such as sadness, grief or anger. We are human after all and we need to experience the full spectrum of emotions in order to realize ourselves as whole.

If you approach each adversity in your life which this profound understanding, it will completely transform your experience of life and lead you to deeper truths and reveal to yourself who you truly are below the surface of your appearance, the roles you play in life, your thoughts and your emotions. Once this happens, you will not fear adversity but face it bravely with anticipation and joy because of the self-knowledge that lies beyond it. So the next time you are facing a challenge or obstacle in your life, stop, take a deep breath and sit in silence and try to understand what this experience is trying to reveal to you about yourself. You may need to seek some guidance to help you navigate this challenge which is something I often coach people through.

I know that many of you are facing adversity in your lives so please feel free to share this post with as many people and groups as you think will benefit.


Nauman Naeem MD FCCP FRCPC


Leave a Reply