Life is a wild ride. 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 prevents you from growing or developing, whereas the former allows you to learn from those challenges and become a better person as a result of them.
While the term “better” is relative, one thing is certain: “better” means “improved.” There is always room for improvement no matter where you are. Even a monk strives to improve himself on a daily basis, always striving to be a better person.
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Life's challenges are unavoidable, but they can be used to your advantage. Each one presents an opportunity for personal development and self-improvement. Ultimately, the goal is to use what you learn as you grow to become the best version of yourself.
Here are six common life challenges that you must overcome on your journey to becoming a better person:
Whether you lose your job, an opportunity, or a relationship, loss is an unavoidable part of life.
Loss, no matter how it occurs, is one of life's most difficult challenges. It can feel abrupt and disruptive. However, loss allows you to reflect on what is truly important in order to continue moving forward.
Losing something 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?”
Choosing to examine your loss through the lens of these questions forces 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 critical to becoming a better person because it gives your words and actions integrity.
There isn't a single person alive who hasn't failed. To succeed, you must first fail. Failure provides a natural checkpoint on your journey, allowing you to assess your recent behavioral choices and make improvements. When you fail, you have the opportunity to reflect on your decisions and behaviors, much like an athlete does between games by reviewing taped footage.
Examining the decisions and actions that led to your failure is a priceless exercise. Understanding how your decisions led to certain behaviors and actions can help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future. This type of review can also reveal important details that you missed the first time, allowing you to take a better and more informed approach the next time.
Failure teaches you compassion, empathy, and sympathy. Your experience connects you to 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.
Mistakes, monkey wrenches, and unforeseen circumstances are all names for them. However, setbacks are unavoidable on our path to becoming a better person.
We've all encountered a stumbling block, hindrance, or delay on our journey. The difficulty is determining why the delay occurred. What caused our progress to slow or stop?
You can know all the right things to do and say intellectually, but there are times when your humanity gets the best of you. Despite your best efforts to be a better person, you do or say something that you later regret. Perhaps you react negatively or in a way that is inconsistent with your desire to become a better person. IT'S ALL GOOD!
Setbacks are opportunities for growth. Knowing what types of things will stymie your progress will allow you to avoid and anticipate them.
Overcoming setbacks can lead to increased resilience. The path to becoming a better person necessitates mental fortitude. Setbacks are a natural way to develop 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. Developing Your Moral Compass
Identifying what is right and wrong for yourself is a constant challenge in life. You might agree with one ideology today and a different one tomorrow. It is your right to change your mind, and it is your responsibility to decide where you stand. The two are inextricably linked.
Choosing what you believe is critical on your path to becoming a better person. Self-improvement is based on your personal sense of what is right and wrong.
The vast majority of people act in accordance with their values and beliefs. Giving yourself permission to grow as a person entails revisiting them both. It's possible that you'll discover that your values and beliefs are no longer in sync with your ultimate goal.
Fortunately, your assessment of the misalignment will lead you to take the necessary steps to re-find your true north. The ability to self-correct will be beneficial to you on your journey.
5. Controlling Your Mind
On your journey to becoming a better person, your mind can be a formidable foe. When things aren't going well, it can come up with all kinds of negative commentary, and it has the power to derail you with doubt and fear if you let it. Mastering your mind is one of life's most difficult challenges.
Your mind determines your point of view; it influences how you receive and process information from the world around you. Unlike other things that you can claim mastery over after a limited amount of time, the mind can take a lifetime to master. The challenge is to show up every day ready to do the work of mind mastery while being fully aware of the infinite nature of this work.
Wherever you go, there you are; thus, it is impossible to hide from yourself. If your mind is unruly and unkind, it will be difficult for you to become a better person, primarily because you are not being better to yourself.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of ways to begin the work of mind mastery. The key is to make space for yourself to be with yourself in a healthy way that promotes growth. Therapy, meditation, self-reflection, prayer, intentional silence, journaling, and being outside in nature are all common ways to facilitate focused personal time.
6. Overcoming Your Story
Everyone was once a child. There are things that happened to you that were completely out of your control, and no matter how serious they were, those experiences stayed with you. Those experiences become a part of your story. Overcoming the story you tell yourself about your own experience can be a difficult life challenge.
Whether you grew up poor, didn't have a lot of love in your home, or didn't feel seen, it affects how you move through the world. There are facts to 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 will always be poor,” that is an example of your story taking control.
In comparison, if you said, “I grew up poor, but I work hard now. I'm doing everything I can to ensure I have everything I need and am comfortable”– even if it's difficult, that is an example of overcoming your story.
I grew up in an apartment complex, worried about money and feeling unworthy as a result of what I saw around me. I assumed that struggling was normal and that survival was the default mode of being – it became a part of my story. However, as an adult, I had to make a decision: either allow my past experiences to shape my current narrative, or focus on the circumstances of the present as a reflection of my current reality.
While the choice is obvious, the action required to change the narrative is difficult. It necessitates focus and self-awareness. You must be willing to let go of stories that no longer serve you in order to fully explore the present moment. Carrying around stale, negative narratives stifles your ability to engage in positive self-reflection, which is the foundation of personal growth.
When you put your past behind you in favor of living in the present, you inspire others to do the same. Overcoming your story allows you to see this moment as an opportunity to write a new story – one that you control. Focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can't control is critical on the path to becoming a better person.
These difficulties in life are common. No matter who you are or where you are, if you want to become a better person, you will face these six challenges in some form or another.
Fortunately, you are now prepared to overcome them with grace and strategy. As you continue on your path to becoming a better person, remember to let go of what you can't control in exchange for being present in the moment, to make space for healthy self-reflection, to give yourself permission to reexamine your values and beliefs, to embrace the resilience that comes from experiencing setbacks, to allow your failures to be the source of compassionate resonance, and to let go.
Now that you know what you have to overcome, get out there and summit those peaks; life awaits you on the other side.
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