It’s inevitable that at some point in our lives we’ll face defeat , loss and likely suffering but what really matters is our ability to learn and grow from these experiences so we can bounce back to accelerate and generate even better versions of ourselves rather than keep repeating the same old mistakes.
They’re character forming moments, where we can let our suffering and disappointment overcome and crucify us or we can wake up to even greater meaning and wisdom from these experiences.
I refer to these life defining episodes as the dark night of the soul because the experience changes us forever and ultimately leads us to a higher consciousness but only after a lengthy and prolonged absence of light or hope.During such a period we gradually lose our egos and change our perceptions of the world and our place in it forever.
Its a time of illumination and personal transformation as we reintegrate our ‘whole’ self and set about putting our real purpose to work.
Victor Frankl’s 1946 influential book; Man’s Search for Meaning describes the daily horrors of survival in two concentration camps. Frankl identifies three psychological reactions experienced by all inmates; the initial shock of admission to the camp then apathy after becoming accustomed to the camp’s existence where the inmates only value that which helps them or their friends survive the daily horrors through to a state of de-personalisation, moral deformity, bitterness and total disillusionment about whether one survives and becomes liberated.
Fast Tube by Casper
Frankl concluded that every moment of living carries meaning,even in extreme suffering and in death. He makes the point that even in such dire circumstances he had free choice to choose his reaction based around a faith in something greater.
Many psychologists have gone on to interview and research those that have suffered greatly and survived horrific experiences as children to go on to become fully functioning resilient and healthy adults.Here is what they found;
The 7 distinctive traits of resilient people.
The ability to form the mental habit of asking searching questions and giving honest answers which include sensing and knowing (identifying the source of the problem and understanding) and trying to figure out how things work for oneself and others.
Recognising the right to place safe boundaries between oneself and others. This includes the abilities to emotionally distance one self from people who mess you around and knowing when to separate from a bad relationship.
Has the capacity to develop and maintain intimate and fulfilling ties to other people. That includes the ability to select healthy partners and start new relationships and attaching one self to maintain healthy relationships.
Has the determination to master one self and one’s environment which includes problem solving and the enjoyment and figuring out of how things work and generating constructive activities.
5. Creativity and Humour
These are seen as safe harbours’ of the imagination where its possible to take refuge and re-arrange the details of one’s life. This includes creative thinking and the use of creativity to express feelings and emotions and forget pain. The use of humour is utilised to reduce tension and make bad situations better.
This is all about knowing what is right and wrong and being willing to stand up for those beliefs. It includes valuing (knowing what is right and wrong and being willing to take risks for those beliefs and helping others and enjoying the opportunity of being able to do so.
7 General Resilience
This includes persistence and working through difficulties and showing complete flexibility which is all about having confidence that one can make the most of bad situations.
So we each have free choice as to how we want to let our circumstances define us. Those that have the capacity to bounce back from these challenges have the greatest flexibility to influence their own lives and those of others and it is these life defining moments that form character ,offer clarity, momentum and a renewed sense of our life purpose.