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How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 2. Perspective.

How to be Resilient, How to Recover from the Adversity? Step 2. Perspective.

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Now that I look back and analyze myself what empowered me to recover my life after the devastating crash, I see there were several aspects that worked together intertwined. I talk about my faith a lot because the Lord has given me the strength, tenacity, opportunities, courage, endurance and a blessing in everything I aimed for. I would not have made it without the Lord. But then there are other aspects that I don’t talk much about – besides the Lord’s intervention and His blessing I work with myself a lot. There are several components that helped me to recover from my personal adversity:

  1. God’s blessing and unshakable faith
  2. Self-management
  3. Personal Action and relentless effort to do the best I can do under any circumstances.

Self-management plays a significant role and I want to elaborate on that aspect.  Overcoming deep depression, emerging from hopelessness, breaking through the impossible odds, achieving goals and positive mindset is not a coincidence, but it is a result. Or, in other words, it’s the fruit of my efforts that nobody sees. It’s the result of hard relentless work.

Have you thought about why some people give up and others overcome seemingly insurmountable situations which confront them? Why some people get depressed and give in to circumstances and others refuse to give in and find a way to improve their lives? Is it that some are stronger than others? I don’t think so. I believe that what sets those people apart is their ability to manage themselves.

What is self-management? It is the skill to master your perspective, your thought patterns, your thought focus and your feelings. It’s the ability to manage yourself. When you have the skills necessary to manage your inner state, you will be able to respond to life’s events in a way that empowers you. It is imperative to be able to manage your outlook and your inner state at all times because you make different choices and different decisions depending upon how you view a situation and how you feel at the time your decisions are made. Would you agree that you make different decisions when you feel hopeful, confident, tenacious, strong and determined, and make entirely different decisions when you feel hopeless and helpless, defeated, doubting and pessimistic?

There was a time in my life when I realized that in addition to God’s blessing, my experience greatly depended on how well I managed myself. My biggest eye opener and probably one of the most significant ones was when I realized that my experience about one or another event depended upon how I choose to look at it.

I learned and realized that thoughts and emotions don’t just “happen” to me, leaving me powerless against them. I choose what I think and what I focus on, what meaning I give to the events and what I am going to do about them. Nobody and no event has the power to make me feel in any particular way unless I allow it. I am the one who chooses my response, and that depends on my perspective and my interpretation of what it means to me.

We always in our mind communicate to ourselves what things mean to us, how we feel about occurred events and what we are going to do about it all. When we are doing well, we are excited and think about how thrilled we are that things are going well,  what it took for us to achieve success, and having an even stronger belief of what is possible for us, we move on to another venture. Likewise, in the event of various complex circumstances, we weigh our current situation, ask ourselves why it happened, and make conclusions and decisions for the future. While we are thinking about one or the other situation, we feel certain emotions. It’s easy to see the good side and feel positive emotions when the circumstances are in our favor. But it’s more challenging to feel positive if it’s a painful and difficult event for us.

One of the combining details that affect our inner state and our subsequent decisions is our how we interpret it and how we communicate it to ourselves. Depending on our perspective we will give the meaning to that particular event, and from there follows our emotions and decisions what we are going to do next.

Having the same event, we have a choice of how we will look at it and how we will interpret it.

  • Is this a punishment or is this a lesson for me?
  • Is this a crash or is it just the end of something that will be replaced by something that really needs to take place in my life?
  • Is this an unrecoverable tragedy or is it a test for me?
  • Is this a loss or an opened opportunity to have new and better?
  • Is this a dead end or is it a challenge for me to find a way because I know there must be the way?
  • Is this too much for me to handle or is this opportunity for me to overcome a new challenge and become stronger?
  • Is this a problem or is it a challenge for me to find a way, to improve and create what I want?

Let’s take a very simple example. Let’s say Dave come to work and finds out that he was let go. What is he going to do about it? It greatly depends on his perspective. He can see it as he’s not good enough and they are getting rid of him, it’s a big problem, it’s the end of his security and well-being. How will Dave feel? Most likely he will feel defeated, not needed, self-insecure, stressed, fearful for his future, not confident to look for another well-paid job. But what if this is an opportunity for him to get a better position? What if this door closes, so he would open another door to have a career that he really wants? Maybe this is an opportunity for him to apply for the position that he always dreamed about or maybe even create his own business? How will Dave feel having this perspective? Most likely he will feel having a new beginning, intrigued, excited about the change to a better, opportunity to learn new things and improve, eager to take action, curious, hopeful. Having this kind of perspective will make him feel in a whole different way and a very different behavior than in the first case. A person can have two different perspectives about the same situation and both of them will create totally different outcomes.

Let’s take a gambling game. It is just a game, nothing more.  But how we feel about it depends on how we look at it and what gambling game means to us. We can look at it as a fun time with friends, the excitement of a mystery of what’s going to happen next and a great opportunity to gain an unlimited amount of money with no effort and work.  Also, we can look at it as a waste of time, opening doors to something that can bring a great destruction into our lives and it is just throwing away our money that we can spend on something more meaningful.  It’s all how we look at it will make us feel about that object or any event.

What if we look at circumstances or occurred events as just the facts? The fact itself can’t make us feel in any particular way.  It is just a plain fact same way as an object. It’s how we look at the fact will shape our attitude and our feelings about it. Events, the same way as objects or activities are simply neutral matter and they have both likes and dislikes, depending on what it means to people. Our perspective is the foundation of what meaning we give to the event or any circumstance, and depending on that we will feel about it in a particular way and will choose what we are going to do about it.

 

Perspective depends greatly on our beliefs. We have a choice to believe that everything that happens in our lives is in God’s control and everything happens for the purpose and for the better. We also may believe that there is no God, life is whatever events happen to us, it’s all about luck and most often life’s not fair. We may believe that with our decisions we can shape our destiny, and we may believe that all life’s events and circumstances are out of our control; therefore, it is meaningless to work hard and make the effort. We may believe that we are not good enough and are not really worthy of love and strong family, and we may choose to believe that everybody is worthy and can have it, so we do as well and we will have it when the right time comes. We may have a belief that we will not succeed anyway because we are not worthy of success or we are simply not as lucky as others, and we can believe that success is not a mere luck but a result of our efforts and we will be blessed and will succeed in everything we aim for.

These are just several examples of general beliefs about God, life, love and us as people, which shape our perspective.  Belief is nothing more than what we are convinced about, which we can choose as well. I cannot stress enough how critical it is to pay attention and choose your belief and perspective.

In order to show it better and make it more real, I will take my own life. The car accident that I was involved in was something that I could have never expected nor was I ready for such drastic event. I was 22 years old, and this event was a major turning point in my life and my family members. The result of that crash was that I lost a person, who I was dating at the time (he was killed), and lost everything that made my life fulfilling.  In addition to losing it all, having multiple injuries and losing both of my legs and having my left arm fully paralyzed, made me totally helpless and not able to take care of myself at all.  From being active, joyous and having strong potential to be successful in life, suddenly I found myself helpless in bed not being able to move or do anything independently, except see, feel and speak a little bit.  My life was changed overnight.

There were many different opinions on why it happened, questions about my destiny and advice what I should do with my life at that point. I have heard people had ideas that God has punished me. Others said probably this was my destiny and I should just accept it. “Such is your fate…he broke your destiny” was a very common conclusion, implying that I needed to accept it and give in because there was nothing I could do to get it all back or make my life better. I also had to hear advice not to try so hard pursuing my dream, because what I wanted was unrealistic. I disagreed with them all and decided to fight for my life because I had a different belief.

Today, one of the things I am most grateful for to my Creator is that from the very beginning I had a positive perspective about what had happened and faith of what my future would be like. I had unshakable belief that my life’s under God’s control and therefore, I will not fear. There was a reason why I got into this crash and also there is a purpose why I survived, even though I was given 30% to live.  I believed there must be a serious reason why this had happened. Even though I didn’t understand many things, but I believed there’s a purpose in everything and Lord was going to restore my life. I didn’t believe that this event happened for me to spend the rest of my life being in regret and depression, watching how my life passes by in sadness and restricted lifestyle.

I decided that I would not be a victim and wouldn’t spend my life continuously thinking about what had happened. I refused to be in self-pity or collect sympathy from others. The decision to restore my life no matter how much effort it would cost fueled me with unbreakable determination. I had a very clear understanding that my destiny was not going to be “broken” because of the event that had happened. I believed I could change my destiny the way I wanted and with God’s help that’s exactly what I was determined to do. I was going to live a full life in spite of my injuries. My understanding about it was so bright and clear, as if I were given a palette of paint, being told that I could draw only black or gray house, and I knew that I could use all the colors I wanted, and paint not only a house, but also blossoming gardens, green trees, colorful flowers, bright yellow sun, blue sky…

I did not know how my situation could possibly resolve to a better, but I knew that I would live well. I completely ignored people’s sayings “Such is your fate…” I did not listen to what anybody said about my position in life and their opinions about my goals that I wanted to achieve. I always had a vision of how I wanted my life to be, believed that it was possible to implement it and did everything I could do to make it become my reality.

I set the goals for myself, which step-by-step transformed my life from not being able to speak, move or do anything independently to traveling from Europe to the United States by myself and building my life all over again. I had a vision that I would live a fully active lifestyle in spite of my injuries, consistently worked toward my goal, and today I get to live my dream that seemed nearly impossible.

Now, after a while, I clearly see that if I also believed that God has punished me, I would have spent the rest of my life in misery, thinking that I would not have anything beautiful in my destiny. If I also had looked at my circumstances “realistically” as many did, I would not have even aimed for goals that I did. If I had agreed with people, who had their own beliefs about destiny and told me that I should just accept what had happened and let it be the way it was because such was my fate – probably I would still be spending my days being stuck at home having no access to a full life. If I believed that we can have only that, which circumstances allow, I still would be imprisoned by the walls of my home, watching how my youth pass by me and all I have is a dull existence.

My belief shaped the perspective that gave me hope and empowered me to take action to change my circumstances and create the life that I envisioned.  My perspective about this event and my future gave a birth to the attitude that I can’t and won’t give up on my life, but will take action to improve everything. My beliefs strengthened and encouraged me that I would succeed. I did not allow my loss to ruin my desire to live a full joyous life. Opposite, my loss gave a birth within to a burning desire to live and aspiration to achieve my dreams. I did not allow my desperate situation to destroy my faith. Opposite, my faith became stronger than it ever was. My adversity revealed to me the values that I never saw before. My belief and attitude made me strong, persistent and unstoppable.

 

As all of my above examples show, the same situation can have totally different outcomes, depending on which perspective we choose. Some beliefs are unconscious, and they come from people’s backgrounds, religious beliefs, experience, philosophy or other people’s opinions and their experience. We might be surprised how our beliefs are affected by other people’s beliefs or philosophy. Furthermore, based on that we make decisions that shape our lives. But the good thing is that we can change it at any time. If we are aware of our beliefs and our perspective, we can manage it and choose the response that will empower us.

If you believe that God does not give you more than you can cope with and there is a reason for everything, it will give you the confidence that you can manage it, and the solution is ahead of you. It will give you tenacity and encourage you to handle the adversity in the best possible way. After some time you might even see that particularly this difficult situation was for your good because it directed your life path toward your dream, it tested you, developed necessary character traits and gave you more wisdom. To be honest, I was shocked when I realized this in my own life. That’s why I am grateful today for all those hardships.

The quality of your life and your destiny is determined not by the events that take place in your life, but what you do afterward. While you do not have control over other people and a lot of times you do not have control over what happens in your life, you do have a choice of how you look at it all and what you are going to do about it. Depending on your perspective and decision what you are going to do next, you will have subsequent events and this way you shape your destiny.

Therefore, pay close attention to your beliefs and your mindset. What do you believe about the event that is going on right now in your life? What does this mean to you?

Choose wisely. And, Be Strong. Be Determined and Relentless. Be Unstoppable.

Blessings to you, until the next time.

Inga

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How to Be Resilient, How to Recover From the Destruction? Step 1. Know There is a Purpose Behind it All.

When the adversity hits us, the hopelessness brings enormous pain and feeling of devastation. But what if it’s not the end? What if there is hope? What if you know that there is a particular purpose behind this hardship and that it’s not more than you can handle? You are strong enough to take it. Take it and emerge with triumph.

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Lately, I’ve been surrounded by a lot of adversity in the lives of people who are dear to me. During the week of the firestorm in Sonoma and Napa Counties, California, many of us have been affected by it one or another way. Watching the devastation that the fires have brought into people’s lives was heart-wrenching. I was shocked and bewildered. My heart goes to each person and families, who lost your loved ones, lost your home and everything you held dear. How I wished I had my legs and my both arms functioning so I could be helpful to those, who were in need! Then, I began hearing that some of my friends have lost their homes and everything they had, someone got seriously ill, someone got their house foreclosed and were forced to leave their home while preparing for a heart surgery, someone got into the crash and got paralyzed… My heart was torn watching their pain. Their lives took a sudden turn that they could not anticipate nor could they possibly be ready for such adversities. I wish to be able to help, but there’s nothing much I could do. But, maybe there is a way I could reach my hand to those, whose lives were changed due to adversity, who goes through a hard time?

I haven’t lost anything at this time, but I know the taste of losing everything and anguish of grief. In my personal life journey, I have had to rebuild my life few times from devastating destruction, both tangible and emotional. The first time I came face to face with devastation was when I woke up in the ICU without my both legs, my left arm fully paralyzed and multiple severe injuries throughout my body. Losing nearly half of my body at the age of 22 and no longer able to function independently was devastating. My destiny seemed destroyed.

At that point, I faced the crossroads of my destiny – am I going to give in or am I going to fight for my life? Which way do I continue – left or right? Give up? Or fight? I had a choice.  I decided to reclaim my life no matter how much effort it would take.  Since then, my life turned into an incredible journey.  But then, after breaking through the insurmountable obstacles, and being only a step away from achieving the life that I relentlessly worked to attain, I faced the second crash, which brought more pain than losing my legs. Overnight everything was destroyed. Fruits of the hard work and continuous efforts to rebuild my life were ruined. The treachery, loss, and destruction of my new life broke me inside and nearly made me give up. I just did not have any more strength.

Realizing that it’s not events or other people’s choices that can break my destiny, but my choice to give up, with the Lord’s intervention, I picked myself up and resolved to attain my vision in spite of it all.

It’s been for over a decade that I live the life I desired to live, despite the devastation, the loss, the physical limitation and ongoing challenges. But I don’t want to enjoy my life for my selfish reasons. During the process of my recovery from adversity and other hardships, I have learned a lot and acquired experience and knowledge which I want to share with others. My passion has been to help others overcome difficulties, change/improve their lives, and share my testimony of God’s power to restore the broken and turn the impossible into possible.

My upcoming book “Unstoppable” contains my story and everything that empowered me to overcome the adversity and reclaim my life, but I don’t want to wait until it’s published. This fire disaster and hardships that so many people face, inspires me to begin sharing with you lessons I have learned, my source of endurance and everything that helped me to restore my life, so anyone could take it and use it in their lives. I am eager to share what will coach, ignite faith, inspire and equip you with knowledge of how to recover from adversity, break through hardships, overcome obstacles and achieve any goals, ultimately creating the life you desire.

 Since my faith in Jesus Christ has been the source of my strength and is the rock-solid foundation which I stand on, I will talk a lot about faith. I am not going to preach, but I will share how trusting in the Lord strengthened me, gave me the right perspective on events and hardships, gave me the courage, tenacity, and fortitude. I will also share what I call ‘self-management tools’ because, in addition to prayer and faith, our results will greatly depend on our mindset, attitude, personal character traits, discipline, personal standards, and actions. Just as my book contains both aspects, my posts will reflect the Unstoppable.

When the adversity hits us, the first stage is the shock. Have you felt that while you are in the state of a shock, you don’t feel anything? You are in a survival mode and there is not much pain or grief. I remember myself, I was feeling pretty well even though my both legs were severed. I felt fully determined to recover physically and rebuild my life.

But then, after the shock goes away, we come face to face with consequences of the destruction. That’s when the reality hits. The grief and anguish is enormous. And then there is a question – and now what? How am I supposed to live further?

At that point, you are at crossroads. This is a crucial moment, which can determine what’s next.  It’s important to understand that it is critical to not get panic or anxious, but be strong during hardships because your future circumstances will greatly depend on how you are going to handle the adversity.

One way of the crossroads – give in and indulge in self-pity; begin to think and act as a victim, blaming the disaster or other people for your brokenness.  Another way – resolve to reclaim that which was lost.

  1. Accept the new reality;
  2. Focus on the solution, what must be done to emerge from destruction;
  3. Do everything you can, do whatever it takes to improve your circumstances.

You are standing at the crossroads of a Choice. Remember, you have a choice. It’s going to be up to you which way you will continue. You have a choice to have unshakable faith or dive in into hopelessness. You have a choice to surrender to the hardship and go with the flow, and at the same time you have a choice to resist the destruction, be resilient and relentlessly aim toward your goal.

How to be resilient, how to recover after the destruction?

The first step – check your beliefs. Your belief system will lay a foundation for your mindset. The reason I begin with the mindset is because it will determine further decisions and actions, which ultimately will determine how you will handle the situation you are in. Since my beliefs are based on Christian faith, I will talk from a perspective of Biblical values and teachings.

My first advice for this time will be – trust that God doesn’t make mistakes; If He allowed that to happen in your life, then there is a purpose in it. According to the book of Job in the Bible, without God’s permission the enemy cannot do any harm to those who love the Lord and live according to His commandments. The enemy can do only as much as Creator allows him to. Moreover, in the story of Job, we see that God allowed Satan to bring calamities into Job’s life for a certain purpose.

 So, by faith, relying on the Bible, we know that what had happens in our life is not more than how much the Lord allows. So, knowing that, it brings a question- what for God has allowed this in your life? What purpose the Lord has through this trouble in your life?  Maybe you need to start looking sincerely for the Lord? Perhaps God stopped you, and you need to re-evaluate your values and who / what is the center of your life? Or, maybe there is something that you need to see and learn? Maybe you need to grow in faith? Can the Lord test you as He tested Job? Whatever that is, trust that the loving Creator is not going to allow his child to go through destruction with no reason. And, if this was allowed in your life, with the Lord’s help you will overcome.

 What helped me tremendously to recover after the shock of losing my independence and everything that I held dear was my faith that if my Heavenly Father allowed this car accident to happen in such a cruel way, that means there had to be a serious reason for it. Here is the excerpt from “Unstoppable” about the moment when I realized something that made me feel strong to accept the tragedy and conquer it:

“One day, as my friend Martynas was visiting, our light conversation turned into a discussion about my major questions – why it had to be so cruel. I knew I could be open with him and I shared with him my thoughts and how I felt.

After listening, he looked at me and said, “Inga, I don’t know why it happened the way it did. But what I do know is that God did not leave you then, and He is not going to leave you alone now. He would not have allowed you to appear in this position if you would not have been able to take it. With God you will handle it.”

              It felt like someone enlightened my mind and suddenly I got a very clear awareness: God is love. His purpose was not to torture me. He knows what I can and cannot endure. He never abandoned me and He showed me that He was with me the entire time. If He saved my life, even though I was not supposed to survive, and used His power to heal me so rapidly, there must be the purpose behind everything.

              Martynas reinforced my belief that there was a divine purpose in everything that had happened, that the Lord was with me. I was strong enough to take it. In fact, I wasn’t only going to live through it, but with the Lord’s help, I was going to have a victory.

              It felt like someone gave me a drink from the spring of life and suddenly, I felt alive. This was the first time I felt strong enough to accept the consequences of the crash. But I felt strong not just to cope with it, but to emerge from the tragedy and triumph over it. Since then, my life became an amazing journey.”

Since then, my life took an extraordinary path. It’s incredible what the Lord has done over the years. After some time, I did see why the Lord allowed this car accident and why this ended so cruel. Seeing what purpose my Creator had behind this tragedy, I sincerely thanked Him for it. Today, even if I could go back to change it all, I wouldn’t.    

It is natural that we react negatively to problems and adversities. But if we focus on what had happened and constantly think how bad things are, we make it only worse for ourselves. What we focus on expands. We need to have discipline over our mind, and not allow ourselves to drown in the negativity and fear, and direct our thinking into a different direction. In my life, a lot has changed, when instead of the question “Why did this happen to me? ” I began wondering “What is this for? What’s the purpose behind it?” Instead of feeling hopelessness or a victim of other people’s choices, I began feeling strong and confident. I began seeing troubles from a whole different perspective, which empowered me to change those destructive circumstances and, see the benefit in it all.  

Knowing that this is allowed for some purpose and this is not more than you can take, how do you feel? What thoughts come to you?

You are strong enough to accept what happens in your life. With God’s help, you will go through this. What does not break us makes us stronger, right? 🙂

Moreover, we believe that everything works together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. So, even problems somehow work out for the good. (Romans 8:28) This is a great mystery to me how it works out that way, but I noticed it in my life time and time again. I will share about this some other time.

In the meantime, – What is the purpose of this adversity in your life? What is behind this?

 

On this note, I will end my message to you.

You are strong enough to take this. With God’s help you will recover.

Inga

 

 

 

 

 

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