During the course of a person’s life, no matter the individual, difficult times will occur.
Often the manner in which a person handles difficult situations is generally an indication of an individual’s maturity level and will indicate the ability of such a person to learn from difficulties and to grow and mature as a result. One of the great challenges faced by a person suffering adversity is to remain positive through the challenges. While some people are more upbeat than others, all struggle to keep a positive outlook when circumstances turn against them. How is it possible to remain positive throughout difficult times and what are the benefits when a person is able to do so?
Difficult times test the temperament of even the calmest individual.
No matter how much preparation and planning is done, there will be circumstances that go against what a person desires and which cause frustration and strain as a result. When such situations arise, the natural tendency is to grow gloomy and negative and view circumstances and people as working against an individual. This tendency is a result of a person seeing the difficulty as more permanent than is often the case. It is important to understand that difficult times are generally temporary inconveniences rather than permanent changes in the circumstances of a person. When difficult times are viewed as temporary, they no longer hold so much control over a person and don’t have as much ability to drive a person to frustration and despair.
Remaining positive in a difficult situation requires first understanding the nature of what is being faced. Stopping to assess a situation will help to calm a person’s emotions and help to view the challenge more rationally. Immediate reactions often make a negative challenge direr than it truly is and will very often prevent a person from maintaining a positive outlook when it occurs.
Having and maintaining a positive outlook
One misconception about having and maintaining a positive outlook is that it requires a person to ignore the truth and to act in opposition to what is known about a situation. Such a misconception will often create a challenge within a person who is committed to truth and to acting in accordance with the facts of a situation. To be positive is not to ignore reality but instead to see the truth through lenses that dwell on what can be accomplished through the difficulty rather than on the worst potential consequences of the difficult situation. A person who immediately leaps to the worst possible result will often become overwhelmed by what could occur and will be encouraged either to give up in despair or to act merely to avoid the most horrific consequences possible. Doing so fails to allow for the good that can come out of the negative and the belief in such good is often the key to staying firm and strong through a hard time. When a person has the confidence belief that no matter how bad a current negative situation that good can be produced from it, that individual will have the strength to hang in through hard times and come out on the other side stronger and more prepared for the future.
Find hope and remain positive
For a significant number of people, the ability to find hope and remain positive through hard times is a result of a firm faith in God and the confidence that God is able to make out of any situation good whether in the individual, in others or both. Staying positive is possible because a person is able to look beyond the current troubles to the positive good that will result.
Very often this is only possible when a person has learned to look beyond his or her own self to see how he or she fits into the lives of other people. As an individual understands that God often uses individual struggles as a means of helping others, such a person is able to remain positive even when individual circumstances arise that are negative and would seem to be a means of driving a person to despair. The Apostle Paul’s writings contain one of the central teachings that have allowed many Christians to remain positive throughout hard times.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:18).
Paul’s writings indicate that belief in God and his relationship with him provide the confidence necessary to survive with a positive attitude through the challenge of hard times. The belief that there is a power greater than the self helps to ameliorate the tendency to be overwhelmed by circumstances that are beyond personal control. Negative feelings are often a result of feeling unable to cope with and contend with circumstances and the belief that such circumstances will continue to overwhelm and bring destruction in a person’s life. Without an understanding that God is acting on behalf of those who love and trust in him, such an individual will quickly be drawn into despondency and frustration. Individual plans that come to frustration will not be seen as being as negative when a person has committed to a belief in a God who is greater and whose plans are always better and will bring more joy in a person’s life. An individual who sees all of life as larger than his or her own desires will be much more prepared to accept struggles and will be more able to put such hard times in a long-term view. The belief that God will make good out of such hard times produces confidence that enables a person to maintain hope and a positive outlook through hard situations.
Belief in God puts hard times into an even greater perspective
Belief in God puts hard times into an even greater perspective for those who trust that such a belief will produce eternal life. A positive outlook is one that endures as it puts all of life into a proper perspective. Seeing the activities of individual life in the perspective of eternal life in the presence of God puts much less pressure on accomplishing individual desires. Understanding that ultimately a person’s life is given by God and its meaning is rooted in acting for God and pleasing God will help a person to remain positive when negative circumstances arise. For those who have committed themselves to live for God, hard times are seen as part of the process of being a follower of Jesus and in some cases as living in imitation of his life. Having the record of the life of Jesus and of the hard times that he lived through, will strengthen an individual’s potential to remain upbeat and positive throughout the challenges that will inevitably arise. Hard times are thus seen as a means to know God more and to become more like Jesus in every area of life.
Dealing with hard times is never easy.
The difficulties of life challenge all people to avoid the negative feelings of frustration and depression that often accompany difficult situations. Those who believe in God and who have put their trust in him for salvation have resources that allow them to put hard times in perspective and which enables them to remain hopeful when things happen that are against them. The belief that God can use any hard time to produce good and the trust that ultimately all hard times will be redeemed in eternity with God are both key factors in helping a person to remain positive within the turmoil of difficult circumstances. Remaining positive does not involve rejecting reality, but accepts reality and places it within the proper perspective of a belief in God and of a life that is ultimately given for his purposes. Staying positive is possible amid hard times and the good that is produced will very often be seen to be worth going through the difficult challenges to achieve a place of strength for the future.