By Special Guest Author: Jasmine Bhambra
When the October theme for eMom Now Vancouver on “Overcoming Obstacles” was emailed to me, I thought to myself, “Well, you definitely have overwhelming experience with this topic, start writing!”
Adversity is a part of life, and I have definitely seen my fair share. While most of us may wish for an easy, calm life with no major upsets, the truth is that life just doesn’t work that way.
What I have experienced in my short 42 years is nothing compared to what others have suffered or are going through on a daily basis but I assure you, my boat has capsized in turbulent waters many a time. I managed swim to the surface and I am here to tell the tales.
When I get overwhelmed with things not going how I plan and run into obstacles, I think of an old nautical proverb, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”
There are many different things that can steer us off course and they typically fall into one of either two categories;
1) What you can’t control – Economy, disasters, & accidents, other people, etc.
When we are hit with an obstacle that we could not have prevented, sometimes it takes quite a while to recover as I have experienced.
Quite a few years ago, I was the owner/operator of a small business that was running smoothly (on my end anyways). All of a sudden, without any warning, came notice that the company supplying my products (and that also held the copyrights), was going belly up. They were done. Finished. I was devastated. I went from making a pretty sweet living to zero, zilch, nada. Just like that. There was nothing I could do except start over. It took me years to get back on my feet but I did and I survived.
In my personal life, one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through is the time when my brother-in-law decided he didn’t want to be with my sister anymore. So he killed her. Well, all I can say about that without going into the whole traumatic experience here is that I lost 6 years of my life in pain, and depression. I felt like I was drowning for a very long time. But guess what?! I survived!
2) What you can control – Your own self. We all make mistakes and at times can have poor judgment. Sometimes we even let our ego get in the way. We may have internal conflict like unresolved issues from our past, old belief systems, and even negative behavior patterns. These things can lead us to create our own obstacles.
I can’t even count the amount of times I have gotten in my own way. In my career, I’ve hired the wrong people, not stayed on budget, not done my research, not been prepared enough, over promised, taken on too much, and the list goes on.
In my personal life, I have pretty much made the exact same mistakes that I did in my career. I stood in the way of my own success by making decisions based on fear. I clung to old belief systems and worried about what other people would think. I was essentially my own worst enemy and I didn’t even know it at times.
What I learned from all the obstacles put in my way and all the ones that were self-created is that there will always be more. Not very encouraging, I know, but here is what we can do to make things better;
1) Acceptance. This is HARD! Pain comes from not being able to accept what has occurred. By resisting the reality of the situation, we bind ourselves to upset, sadness, frustration and anger. It can take a very long time to get to a place of acceptance because it is a process, but it changes everything.
2) Perception. To change your perspective really means to “see” something from a different vantage point, through different eyes. It simply means that you attach a different meaning to the obstacle. We tend to attach meaning to our experiences. You might as well attach a meaning that serves you well.
3) Reaction. Once you have accepted the situation, and changed the way you view it, your reaction will come from a different place and all this together changes your outcome and your reality.
It took me nearly all my life to finally get to a place of peace. All of my experiences with adversity have led me to become the person I am proud to be. After each obstacle I had the choice to swim or let myself drown. I chose to swim & I made it to shore, each & every time.
Along the way, I have learnt that strength, courage, character, and perseverance were all buried deep inside of me. I have learnt that although “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” – Haruki Murakami
Resilience, determination, and persistence enabled me to push past my adversities and helped me from getting sucked into the tidal wave of fear, anger, and self pity. Our experiences, good and bad, should make us better, not bitter.
We can all dig deep and find the courage to persevere no matter what obstacles life may throw our way. We can all learn to navigate through rough waters by learning how to ride the waves. We can all learn how to weather the storms and become better sailors. This is the natural ebb and flow of this amazing miracle of life.
I used to pray for calm waters but now I pray that I have the fortitude and grace to weather any storm that may come my way.
Jasmine is currently the Creative Director at Rajun Enterprises & Textiles Ltd. She is also a designer and writer. She is a proud mom to 3 beautiful girls and 1 fantastic little boy.
Her upcoming projects are: