Character Creates Opportunity® – On the Edge of Despair: Thursday, September 24, 2015

Let’s face it.  There are times in our lives when we face the toughest of circumstances and we stand on the edge of losing hope.

Whether it is a close relationship that has unraveled and the reality of “happily ever after” seems unreachable.  Or maybe it is the teenage or adult child who has lost their way.  Or maybe it is the hopes and dreams of a business that has just run out of cash and its demise is imminent.  Or maybe it is the sense that the safety and comfort of the “good old days” are never coming back in our communities.Mistakes Couple

These are the times when all the money in the world could not buy a quick fix out of the situation and all the pump-up, positive thinking, motivation speeches sound like nails on a chalk board.

As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, it is on the edge of despair where we can find opportunity to learn and grow through difficulty.

On the edge of despair, is where our masks come off and the costume party we have been attending comes to a close.  In the very raw, unguarded, and openness of pain, when we have no strength to hold up the mask of “everything is fine,” we now can begin to move forward on the path to learning and growth.

On the edge of despair, there are several things to consider as we look to build and strengthen our character through these moments of opportunity:

  • The most effective direction to move is forward towards the hurt and embrace the unguarded, authentic moment of pain. Take the mask off to begin to grow.
  • Be intentional about avoiding the routine addictions we have learned to cover the pain. We all have our own ways of coping to keep the costume party going.  Growth comes when we realize the party cannot go on forever.
  • Communication in times of pain is real, genuine and priceless for our growth. We should find someone we can trust and open up.  If we do not have someone in our close circle to confide in, then we need to seek out a pastor or counselor as the pathway to health is accelerated with open communication of our pain.
  • Our very best will emerge from the pain. Psychologists and our own experience would demonstrate that we only grow in struggles.  “No pain, no gain” is not just a slogan for coaches during practice.  We have a massive human weakness to get soft, complacent, and lazy during moments of calm and order.  We should use the times of pain to grow…it is our only chance.
  • No matter what the outcome of our present struggle, there is one positive step that can come out of any difficult situation. We can, and should, use our feelings of raw hurt to grow in empathy for others.  Our pain can be a catalyst for our growth in compassion for the struggles of others.  Another incredible accelerant on our pathway to health is when we turn to help others through their struggles.

When we stand on the edge of despair and we focus on growing through the struggle, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to remain on the path to our own emotional health and well positions us to be a helping hand to others.

One last point:  When we turn the corner on this present struggle, we should remember that life will always have another interesting event awaiting around the next corner.  If we can address our present struggle in a healthy way, we will be in a better to position to address the inevitable next bump in the road.  Enjoy the journey!