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How the chaos in your life builds character

How the chaos in your life builds character

chaos

    What if you discovered that having an easy life was actually bad for you? What if you realized that facing hardship and enduring tragedy was actually good for you? In fact it really is. It is how you choose to look at your experiences that influences what they can do for you.

    The chaos in your life builds character.

    We will endure tragedy and hardship in our lives at one point or another; it is the human experience to go through pain and upheaval because being alive is all about change. We come out of these life experiences with new found strength and vision. Many have testified to this. Our instinct is to avoid making bad choices or engaging in risky behavior in order to protect ourselves and prevent tribulation. Our survival depends on it. As parents, we certainly try to protect our children from danger and hurt and we don’t want to see anyone we care about, whether they are family or friends, or complete strangers, in pain or peril. However the older we get, the more we realize that life is full of twists and turns and it is inevitable that we will face misfortune in our lives.

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    It is important to harness the power of upheaval and understand that some good can come of very bad situations.

    The most important life lessons come when we are faced with situations that we are ill equipped to deal with. We feel helpless and shocked, sad and angry. It may be the illness or death of a loved one, losing a job, a relationship; or having a transgression committed against us in some way. It may be something that is very commonplace, but to us feels like despair that we’ve never experienced before. Or it may be something catastrophic like a natural disaster, poverty, famine or war.

    One of the first realizations we must awaken to is that we are not the first to feel this way and we will not be the last. While our experiences and feelings are valid and unique to us; in the grand scheme of things, there are people who have endured far worse and survived. We are not alone.

    The human condition is all about living through constant change. It is also about realizing that all we have is the present moment.

    Popular author Eckhart Tolle has written extensively about the power of the present moment. He says:

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    Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

    This idea forces us to concentrate on what we are actually experiencing. The past is an illusion of memory and the present an illusion of hope or fear. The only reality is right now. In this context, while we may be in the midst of chaos or pain, we can realize that each moment is fleeting and will pass and we have the power to determine if the moment improves or the situation worsens. Even when we are powerless to make things go our way, accepting this inevitability and ‘waiting it out’ gives us the foresight and lucidity to merely observe what we are experiencing and extract the skills and lessons that will influence us to our advantage.

    Chaos in your life builds character because it makes you feel alive. The diversity of emotions you withstand when your life becomes unstable compels you to have a range of responses that you may not have had the opportunity to explore when things were going well. You gain problem solving skills, resilience, patience and ingenuity. If you manage your grief and anger, your fear and confusion by focusing on the present; centering yourself and allowing yourself to feel without letting those feelings dictate your actions; reason and pragmatism will surface and give you strength to move on to the next moment a stronger and more capable person.

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    The antithesis to this is avoiding tragedy or disappointment as an act of self preservation. An easy life provides no challenge and can become boring. Unfortunately it is only a matter of time that the inevitability of life’s hardships comes knocking on our door.

    You may inadvertently create or look for chaos in order to feel alive. Some people climb mountains or travel to remote parts of the world; they take on difficult and challenging tasks to feel alive. When we are born to a privileged life there is nothing more admirable than exposing ourselves to how others live and sharing our wealth and security. You may want to volunteer in a disaster zone or do aid work in a war torn country. You don’t even have to go abroad. Some people volunteer and contribute within their own communities in order to develop their empathy and go some way towards understanding what it means to suffer loss, to experience hardship and to fight injustice; even when their own lives are charmed. This is a positive way to invite chaos into your life in order to learn.

    It is important to understand that the ups and downs of life are necessary for our character to evolve and for us to experience growth through catharsis. This means that we undergo some sort of transformation, a cleansing or purification by means of suffering and change. We purge our emotions through a disastrous occurrence and ultimately find restoration and resolution at the conclusion.

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    When we don’t honor the validity and benefit of catharsis in our lives we may invite chaos subconsciously; often through indulgences and risk taking behavior that appears innocent and safe, but may lead us down a dangerous road. Any type of excess can be damaging in our lives and that makes it even more important to stay in control when our lives seem to be going off the rails.

    Understanding that life’s challenges are what makes us who we are gives us the strength and purpose to be prepared for anything. Our personality and character evolves through each cathartic experience and with practice we find the optimism to face misfortune head on.

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    Diane Koopman

    Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

    20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

    George Lorimer contends,

    “It’s good to have money and all the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.”

    In reality, everyone likes money. It has enough power to determine happy or sad moments for some people. This happens partially because money can trigger your emotions. However, there are many invaluable things money can’t buy.

    Money will allow you to experience the luxury of things like a Tesla, an estate, or first-class tickets to anywhere in the world. But, money cannot buy you everything. There are aspects of your life, yourself, relationships, and encounters that forever will be priceless.

    So, what are 20 invaluable things money can’t buy?

    1. Love

    You must have seen this one coming because of how much it is preached throughout life.

    Love is a genuine action with beautiful emotions that develops between people who know each other to an extent.

    People fall in “love” for different reasons. Love is unconditional and keeps people in connection with each other.

    Money may earn you attraction and attention, but love? Not at all.

    2. True Friends

    Everyone likes to have money because there’s almost no way to survive if we didn’t have a cent or two. And it’s only normal for people to associate themselves with people who are making efforts to make the money.

    But sometimes, people are only attracted to what you have and what you can give; not who you are.

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    It works just like love. When your money runs low, true friends should remain.

    3. Family

    We all know that family consists of a father, mother, and children, so let’s consider the individual elements.

    A father is only a father as a result of the relationship between him and his child. Can money buy a relationship?

    The same concept applies to the mother and child and if a relationship with a father cannot be bought, then neither can one with a mother nor child be bought.

    Even if it’s an extended family, you still have to have a relationship with someone who connects you to the other person. It’s not rocket science.

    4. Wisdom

    Someone defined wisdom as “the mother of knowledge,” and how does one acquire knowledge? He or she receives it from experience.

    So, if you cannot buy experience, then you cannot buy knowledge. And if you cannot buy both, then wisdom is definitely out of your league. You have to study, meet people and just experience life to earn it.

    5. Happiness

    In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt,

    “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

      Mrs. Roosevelt even acknowledges things money can’t buy. She emphasizes that money can’t buy happiness.

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      Despite all the money a person may have in the bank, he or she still may not have the happiness that we all crave and deserve. Money cannot afford happiness.

      6. Health

      Money can help us afford the best health care services, but health itself? Not exactly.

      We’ve seen millionaires and billionaires lose their lives to a range of diseases that all their money put together could not cure.

      The Dalai Lama said,

      “What surprises me most is ‘man’ because he sacrifices his health to make money then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.”

        So, besides the fact that it doesn’t buy us health, sometimes the pursuit of it takes good health away from us.

        7. Long life

        During birthdays, we wish people a long, prosperous and healthy life. Money would be the best gift to send to loved ones to buy these things.

        But since you can’t, you wish these individuals the best life has to offer. You may also give them fun and loving experiences without money.

        8. Time

        The universe has been impartial enough to give us all 24 hours to do whatever we want to. But nobody, with all his or her wealth, has been able to purchase an extra hour, not even a second.

        9. Respect

        They say it is reciprocal. In other words, you can only get respect when you give respect and the last time we checked, there was no money for respect.

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        So if you can’t give something in any currency, then you can’t receive it in any currency either.

        10. Character

        Character is the sum of a person’s attitude. Attitude has to do with the way you behave and although money can influence a person’s character, it cannot buy a good one.

        11. Confidence

        Any “confidence” built on money really isn’t confidence. It’s a shade of pride and usually ends in sheer show-off. That, dear friend, is not confidence. Confidence is a quality you build with time.

        12. Beauty

        There are countless beauty products in the market and all of them cost money. These beauty products can only enhance beauty by covering up blemishes and some go as far as altering some features of the body.

        But none has been able to change the natural beauty of anybody. If you consider surgery, then you are still altering the natural features, not changing it. You can’t buy good looks from your mother’s womb. It’s just not possible.

        13. Sense of Humor

        Some individuals are born with the gift to make others laugh. Most of the comedians around became wealthy as a result of their sense of humor.

        The humor did not come after the money. Nobody became funny overnight because of a swell in their bank account.

        14. Trust

        Why do you trust people? Because they’ve proved themselves to be trustworthy by character. Their character earned them that trust.

        15. Talent

        Talent is a natural skill that has to be discovered and honed. Just like beauty and every other thing that comes naturally, talent cannot be purchased.

        16. Purpose

        People attend conferences and seminars to help them discover their purpose in life. These conferences may be free or paid but the money did not buy them the purpose.

        They already had the purpose way before realizing that they needed to find it. Lots of poor people discovered their purpose and leveraged it to become rich. This goes on to illustrate that money can come as a result of finding purpose but it cannot get you the purpose.

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        17. Satisfaction

        If there’s one thing that money can never buy, it is satisfaction. Even if money finds a way to get any of the other items on this list, it can never afford satisfaction. Money increases our desire for more money. The more the money, the more the hunger.

        18. Empathy

        Never have we ever heard of a man who bought the ability to empathize and never would we ever because empathy is a feeling. Feelings cannot be bought.

        19. Peace

        Why do people employ sophisticated security systems? Because they want to have peace when they go to bed but even with all of that, peace has never been received in exchange for money. It comes as a result of a clear conscience and a good heart.

        Ironically, money may bring enemies which would end up disrupting your peace.

        20. A Good Name

        A proverb says “a good name is better than silver.” This is like comparing two different things: a name and silver (which could be referred to as money).

        What is a “name?” It is a form of identity and how is it received? Your way of life and character helps people to receive you.

        Conclusion

          Overall, these things are invaluable and confidently show that money can’t buy everything.

          While this is the case, money is necessary, so don’t quit your job just because it can’t buy you happiness. And do spend your money and time wisely.

          Also, go out of your way to make people happy. Their money can’t provide this needed emotion. Do not lose or mismanage your health trying to get money.

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          Featured photo credit: Yingchou Han via unsplash.com

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