What is an obstacle? Specifically, what is an “obstacle in life” that can suddenly stop us from moving forward, from growing emotionally, intellectually and spiritually and realizing our full potential?
Obstacles Beyond Our Control
Some obstacles we simply cannot control and must deal with them on a minute-by-minute basis. For example, one day you could be planting a vegetable garden in your backyard and marveling at the clear blue sky. The next day, your backyard, your new garden and your home are gone, swept away by a powerful tornado overnight.
How do people deal with losing everything to such devastating life obstacle as a tornado or other natural disaster? Do you know what the first thing you would do if this happened to you? Luckily, most of us have family members who would give us a place to stay until we find a new home or have our old home repaired. Organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army would meet our physical needs by providing food, clothes and shelter if necessary.
What about our emotional and psychological needs? Who is going to help us regain our sense of security, hope and happiness?
The answer to that question is–YOU. Life obstacles beyond our control are like bombs landing in our lives that never go off. They remain un-detonated and monstrous, preventing us from moving forward, forcing us to languish in the past while we obsess miserably over why something so terrible happened to us.
Every day, thousands of people from all walks of life learn how to detonate this obstacle and remove it from their life forever. Resilience–the ability for a person to overcome difficulties and achieve goals they have set for themselves–is something we all have nestled deep in our psyche, waiting to be recognized, embraced and utilized when the time comes.
To find your resilience, you must:
Commit to letting go of the past and moving forward
Forgive when forgiving is essential to allow you to move forward. Allowing resentment and bitterness to overwhelm your thoughts will drain you of the life energy you need to overcome obstacles
Move out of your comfort zone to help nurture your optimism, self-awareness and sense of determination. Fearing the unknown and focusing only the bad things in your life leads to stagnation and bankruptcy of your soul. It’s an old, often-used saying but it may be the most useful saying ever invented: count your blessings.
Obstacles in Life and the Meaning of Happiness and Sadness
Why is defining happiness more difficult than defining sadness? When someone says they are “sad” or “depressed”, we know exactly what they mean. We don’t ask for clarification or question their state of sadness. Instead, we tend to empathize with someone who is “not happy”, often to the point of actually feeling a little down ourselves if we spend enough time with the sad person.
Everyone copes with the opposite of happiness (obstacles in life) differently. Some find taking a refreshing walk in the evening, reading a favorite book or engaging in quiet meditation helps them regroup and refocus. Others prefer a more extroverted approach to managing the opposite of happiness, such as talking to someone they trust. But does overcoming “down” feelings temporarily mean you are suddenly happy? Or is happiness what the Dalai Lama describes as something we always have “right now, at this very moment…we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness.”
The Art of Happiness
Published in 1998, The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama explores what he believes is the purpose of life–to achieve and sustain happiness–through modifying your state of mind rather than channeling all your energy towards trying to change your external circumstances. The Dalai Lama explains that the more we think we should have compels us to satisfy unattainable goals that are essentially meaningless. To overcome unhappiness caused by life obstacles, the Dalai Lama asserts we need to change our thought processes by learning to think about what we do have in contrast to those less fortunate.
Obstacles in life are inevitable. Expecting them to happen at some point in your life and thinking about how you would handle a particular obstacle before it occurs can help prevent you from being overwhelmed and unprepared when it does happen.