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Published on October 9, 2019

6 Challenges in Life You Must Overcome to Become a Better Person

6 Challenges in Life You Must Overcome to Become a Better Person

Life is an uncertain roller coaster. You can choose to embrace it and enjoy the ride, joyfully learning from your experiences along the way; or you can choose to rebel against all of life’s challenges, resenting every moment of your journey. The latter robs you of any growth or development, while the former gives you the opportunity to learn from those challenges and become a better person for having experienced them.

While “better” may be relative, one thing is certain – “better” means improved. No matter where you find yourself, there is always room for improvement. Even a monk strives daily to improve himself, striving always to become a better person.

Challenges in life are a given, and they can be used to your advantage. Each one is an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement. Ultimately, the goal is to use what you learn as you grow to become the best version of yourself.

Here are 6 common challenges in life you must overcome on your road to becoming a better person:

1. Loss

Whether you lose your job, an opportunity, or a relationship – loss is an inevitable part of life.

Regardless of how it happens, loss is one of the life’s biggest challenges. It can feel abrupt and disruptive. However, loss gives you the opportunity to reflect on what is truly important so that you to keep moving forward.

Losing something that you had, or really wanted, can be a welcome wake up call. Loss forces you to ask yourself, “What about what I lost was valuable to me?” and “What am I willing to do to get what I want?”

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Choosing to examine your loss through the lens of these questions causes you to assess the true value of what you lost, as well as why you value it. Having a clear understanding of what you value and why you value it, is key to becoming a better person because it gives your words & actions integrity.

2. Failure

There is not a single person alive who hasn’t experienced failure. To grow, you must fail. Failure offers a natural checkpoint on your journey, one that allows you to evaluate your recent behavioral choices so that you can make improvements. When you fail, you get the chance to review your decisions and behaviors, like an athlete reviews the taped footage between games.

Reviewing the decisions and actions that lead you to fail is an invaluable exercise. Understanding how the decisions you made led to certain behaviors and actions can prevent you from making the same mistakes again. Such a review can also reveal important details you missed the first time that would allow you to take a better and more informed approach the next time.

The experience of failure causes you to develop compassion, empathy and sympathy. Your experience gives you a point of commonality with anyone who has had a similar experience. Those three emotions are essential tools on your journey to becoming a better person because they allow others to feel safe and seen around you.

3. Setbacks

They have many names: missteps, monkey wrenches, unforeseen circumstances. But setbacks are ever present on our journey to becoming a better person.

We have all experienced a slow in progress, hindrance or delay on our journey. The challenge is understanding why the delay happened. What caused our progress to slow down or plateau?

You can intellectually know all the right things to do or say, but there are those moments when your humanness gets the best of you. Despite your best efforts to be a better person, you suddenly do or say something you regret. Perhaps you react in a way that is negative or out of alignment with your desire to become a better person. ITS OKAY!

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Setbacks are learning opportunities. Having a firm understanding of the types of things that slow your progress will allow you to both avoid and preempt them.

Resilience is one positive side effect of overcoming setbacks. The journey to becoming a better person requires that you be mentally tough. Setbacks are an organic way to build that mental toughness while still maintaining integrity in your actions, and a sense of emotional awareness that promotes a safe environment where others feel seen.

4. Establishing Your Moral Compass

Distinguishing right from wrong for yourself is an ever present life challenge. You may agree with one ideology today, and another tomorrow. Changing your mind is your right, and deciding where you stand is your responsibility. The two go hand in hand.

Deciding what you believe is important on your road to becoming a better person. Self-improvement is anchored in your own personal sense of right and wrong.

Most people act in accordance with their values and beliefs. Giving yourself permission to grow as person means taking time to reexamine them both. It is possible you will discover that your values and beliefs are no longer in alignment with your end goal.

Thankfully, your assessment of the misalignment will lead you to do what is necessary to once again find your true north. The ability to self-correct will serve you on you journey.

5. Mastering Your Mind

Your mind can be a formidable opponent on your path to becoming a better person. It can pipe up with all kinds of negative commentary when things are not going well, and can have the power to derail you with doubt and fear – if you let it. Mastering your mind is one of the greatest life challenges of all.

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Your mind controls your perspective, it informs how you receive and process your interactions with the world around you. Unlike other things you can claim mastery over after a finite amount of time, the mind can take some a lifetime to master. The challenge is showing up willing to do the work of mastering the mind everyday, while having a complete awareness of the infinite nature of this work.

Where ever you go, there you are; thus it’s impossible to hide from yourself. If your mind is unruly and unkind, then it will be hard for you to become a better person, primarily because you are not being better to yourself.

Luckily, there are a myriad of ways to begin the work of mastering you mind. The key is to create space for you to be with yourself in a healthy way that promotes growth. Some common methods to facilitate focused personal time are therapy, meditation, self-reflection, prayer, intentional silence, journaling and being out in nature.

6. Overcoming Your Story

Everyone was once a child. There are things you experienced that were outside of your control, regardless of their severity those experiences stay with you. Those experiences become part of your story. Overcoming the story you tell yourself about your own experience can be quite the life challenge.

Whether you grew up poor, didn’t have a lot of love in your house, or didn’t feel seen, it affects the way you move through the world. There are the facts of these experiences and there are fuzzy edges where our minds fill in the blanks.

For Example: if you say “I grew up poor and I am always going to be poor,” that is an example of your story taking control.

Comparatively, if you said “I grew up poor, but I am working hard now. I’m doing whatever I can to make sure I have all the things I need and am comfortable”– even if it’s hard, that is still an example of overcoming your story.

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I grew up in an out of apartments, worried about money, with feelings of unworthiness because of what I saw around me. I thought struggling was normal and survival was a default mode of being – it became part of my story. Yet as an adult, I had to make a choice, either I allow the past experiences shape my current narrative OR I focus on the circumstances of the present as a reflection of my current reality.

While the choice may be clear, the action required to shift the narrative is challenging. It requires intentionality and self-awareness. You have to be willing to let go of the stories that don’t serve you anymore, in favor of exploring the present moment to the fullest. Carrying around stale, negative narratives stifles your ability engage in positive self-reflection which is the corner stone of personal growth.

When you have set your story aside in favor of embracing the present, you encourage others to do the same. Overcoming your story empowers you to embrace this moment as opportunity to write a new story – one you are in control of. On the road to becoming a better person focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can’t control is critical.

Final Thoughts

These challenges in life are common. No matter who you are, or where you are, if your goal is to become a better person, you will encounter these 6 challenges in some form or fashion.

Fortunately, you are now prepared to overcome them with grace and strategy. As you continue along your journey to becoming a better person, remember to let go of the things you can’t control in exchange for being present in the moment, create space for healthy self-reflection, give yourself permission to reexamine your values and beliefs, embrace the resilience that comes from encountering setbacks, allow your failures to be the source of compassionate resonance, and let loss teach you about what you value.

Now that you know what you have to overcome, get out there and summit those peaks, life is waiting for you on the other side.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Featured photo credit: Luke van Zyl via unsplash.com

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Awilda Rivera

Success Coach - Author - Speaker - Yogi - Advisor

6 Challenges in Life You Must Overcome to Become a Better Person

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Last Updated on October 23, 2019

How to Change a Negative Attitude That Is Destroying You

How to Change a Negative Attitude That Is Destroying You

A negative attitude carries with it a lack of awareness. You’re not necessarily aware of a negative attitude permeating your outlook on life, and because of this lack of awareness, your attitude affects your interactions with other people and your interactions with yourself.

What if you were to become aware? What if, suddenly, you were able to step outside of the thought pattern that creates your attitude, choose a new pattern, and thus, a new attitude?

Think about your thoughts. Many sources of advice aren’t going to tell you this crucial point:

Changing your attitude is not about stifling or eliminating negative thoughts. It’s about changing your thought patterns through action.

Negative thoughts will arise, but when you brood on them it’s like feeding and rewarding them so that they will come back again and form a pattern.

When you alter repetitive thought patterns, you alter your attitude — it’s a physical process, and with it comes the ability to change the world in which you live. You’ll achieve things you didn’t think were possible before.

To undertake this change, understand what to do with negative or unhelpful thoughts when they arise. This understanding will help you take action towards changing your attitude.

Read on for some quick and easy suggestions on how to change a negative attitude.

1. Harness the Incredible Power of Redirection

Oftentimes, we think in a black-and-white, limiting way. It’s called binary thinking. Even thinking of thoughts as only negative or positive is a binary way of thinking.

You develop a negative attitude because you are convinced this binary way of thinking is an accurate reflection of reality. When this way of thinking doesn’t achieve good results, you assign blame. Blame doesn’t help solve the problem of binary thinking — it perpetuates it.

Binary thinking causes you to have tunnel vision when you’re working on your goals. You feel one approach is the right one — but research shows that redirection improves creativity.[1] Redirection requires you to think differently by changing tasks.

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Take a step back from what you’re doing. Is there a different approach you can take? Who can you reach out to for help? What haven’t you tried? Redirect your actions and you’ll find yourself thinking more creatively and positively when it comes to solving the original problem.

2. Amp up Your Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk is exactly what it sounds like: these are uplifting statements you make to yourself. Then, you act on them.

The thing about positive self-talk is it’s self-fulfilling. In other words, by concentrating on your strengths and making positive statements about yourself, you become what you tell yourself you are and your attitude changes.

Psychologist Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker identifies key statements that mentally healthy people make:[2]

  • “I am lovable”
  • “I am capable”
  • “Most other people are lovable and capable, too”
  • “Success comes from doing”
  • “Challenges are opportunities”
  • “It’s only human to make mistakes”
  • “I have what it takes to cope with change — and to make changes happen”

Tell yourself these things every day. Note statement number 4, “Success comes from doing.” You want to change your negative attitude. To successfully change your attitude, do things that help you feel good about yourself and others. Volunteer work and community sports leagues are great options.

Action creates change. Make positive statements to yourself, take action based on these statements, and your outlook on life will change.

3. Be a Change Agent, Not a Victim

An agent is someone who is actively engaged in making something happen. A victim is someone who suffers from circumstances beyond their control.

Victimization is valid and real, but if there’s no active pursuit of a solution, you remain a victim — you remain passive, and your attitude is one of bitterness, helplessness, or cynicism.

You’re an agent who can change your own attitude. Ultimately, your own actions are the only things you control.

You may not be able to control the rise of negative thoughts due to a tragedy that was beyond your control, but you can control how you respond to those thoughts.

Consider the following methods of coping with tragedies:[3]

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  • Talk with a counselor or someone who can give you an outside perspective.
  • Turn off the news, stop wallowing, and get active. Activities such as exercise, art, and games will help you process your feelings better by giving you a break from concentrating on repetitive negative thoughts.
  • Offer your support to others who have had a similar experience. If, for example, you’re recovering from addiction, find a peer support group.
  • Redirect painful emotions by finding an activity, such as volunteer work, writing, music, or sports, that is emotionally fulfilling and allows you to release pent-up emotions.

Sometimes tragedy is self-inflicted, meaning you have a bad experience that’s not necessarily a tragedy, but you treat it as such. You get down on yourself, turn to drugs and alcohol, and brood over your negative thoughts and feelings.

Be sure to recognize if this is happening, and become an agent of recovery instead of victimization.

4. Dream Huge — but Set Realistic Expectations

This is the truth about your dream: it’s real. What you really want out of life — call it your dream or fantasy or ambition — is a real idea you can and should hold onto no matter what happens.

To set realistic expectations, break your dream down into steps that are achievable in the short-term.

If you believe you’re entitled — you expect everything to fall into place — you will not realize your dream. Even if you’re lucky and successful, it won’t feel like success because entitlement is a bottomless pit.

A negative attitude stems from expectations that don’t line up with reality. Again, your actions are the only thing you control. Science shows you’re not even necessarily in control of your thoughts.[4]

But you are in control of the thoughts you choose to dwell on. Concentrate on your plans. You can expect to follow through when you concentrate on and check off the steps to completing a task. Concentrate on the tasks you need to complete in order to make your dream a reality.

5. Transform Negative Thoughts into Ultimate Questions

Asking questions opens your mind to new ideas. It helps you begin to build confidence. Positive self-talk can be tough, because your mind is like a broken record. You tell yourself you’re lovable, but for every time you say that, the thought that no one loves you pops up 10 times.

Forbes’ Melody Wilding makes a great recommendation:[5]

“When you catch your inner critic flinging accusations, think: how can I turn this statement into a question?”

Here are some examples:

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  • Instead of, “Something must be wrong with me,” say, “What are the steps to success?”
  • Instead of, “I hate going to the grocery store,” say, “How can I save time at the grocery store?”
  • Instead of, “These people are annoying,” say, “How can I talk to these people so that this meeting is enjoyable?”
  • Instead of, “I was a complete idiot last night,” say, “What can I do differently in the future?”

This way, you’re opening possibilities for new, constructive thoughts. You’re also paying attention to your thoughts and doing something with them.

6. Laugh!

“It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either.” – Wayne Dyer

In almost all cases, you’ll develop a negative attitude if you choose to be angry and depressed instead of choosing to laugh. But how can you choose to laugh when something seems downright terrible?

This is where the imagination and mental exercise kick in. Choose to look at a disappointing or disheartening circumstance in a different way. What is it that’s ironic, absurd, or outrageous about the circumstance?

Is there an opposite circumstance you can imagine, one that’s so fantastically great it brings tears of laughter to your eyes just thinking about it? Are there any details that are just flat-out strange?

If you’re depressed, choose comedy — choose something that can bring a smile to your face. Train yourself to seek good opportunities for humour, and you’re training yourself to have a positive attitude.

7. Embrace Your Emotions and Release Them Confidently

The moment you experience an emotion, there’s a reason for it; and therefore it’s valid.

Here’s the challenge: you must control what you do with that emotion.

You could hold the emotion in and let it fester, but that leads to things like depression, pent-up rage, and low self-esteem.

You could release your emotion the moment you feel it without thinking, but that leads to relationship issues with other people. Or, you could release the emotion confidently in a way that asserts your self and your boundaries.

  • Practice observing your emotions when you feel them on a daily basis. Note what the emotion is and be there with it.
  • When you experience a strong emotion such as anger, take time to note your anger, take deep breaths, and calm down.
  • Figure out what or who caused your anger, and why.
  • Assert yourself. Don’t be mean about it, be confident. Say something like, “I would prefer for you to treat everyone as equals in the group, I can’t speak for everyone in the group, but it’s very important to me.”
  • Set your boundaries by repeating “I” statements, such as, “I don’t want you to yell at me, I feel uncomfortable. If there’s a problem, I would prefer to talk about it calmly.”

If you embrace your emotions by processing them — by asking who, what, why, and how — and then you deal with them by expressing yourself confidently, your attitude will remain one of confidence, calmness, and positivity.

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8. Create, Move, Believe, Contemplate Great Things

Once you know you are in control of how you react to thoughts and emotions, and in turn your actions create a pattern that reinforces itself, a huge world of greatness is there for you.

Greatness is there because at all times you can choose it. You can choose to listen to your deepest emotions, which are a thing of beauty because of their intense purity, and you can translate them into new things. New songs, poems, sayings, artworks, running routes, exercise routines, meals, friendships, jobs — it’s all there for you.

Each negative thought is a positive response waiting to happen. Feel how your positive responses and your positive attitude are so enjoyable you wouldn’t trade them for anything else. Believe that you are amazing and your actions will have amazing results — even if you are not around to see the results bloom and flower.

Contemplate great things because they’re the greatest things to contemplate. What if your decision to appreciate other people’s little quirks someday becomes love? What if your decision to write in your diary everyday someday becomes a memoir? You’re capable of all these things, and life can be great.

9. Leave with the Four Agreements — but Agree to Come Back Again and Again

A man named Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a book called The Four Agreements. With these agreements, Ruiz distills pearls of ancient Toltec wisdom. To transform your attitude, agree to do the following:

  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Do your best

That’s it. Think about how these agreements inform your actions.

If you are doing your best, you are in the moment.

If you are impeccable with your word, you say things that reflect on the world you want to create.

If you don’t take anything personally, you don’t get offended by other people’s words and actions, so you don’t lash out at them.

If you don’t make assumptions, you have realistic expectations.

Furthermore, check out these other tips on how to change your attitude. Return to advice that helps you again and again. With an attitude that says, “I’m always learning,” you’ll do just that, and your life will keep improving.

Featured photo credit: Carolina Heza via unsplash.com

Reference

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