Adversity is your best teacher
I heard the word “Adversity” first time when I was a child, watching the Disney cartoon Mulan. Towards the end of the story, when Mulan just left the Imperial Palace with the great ovation from the croud for having rescued China from The Huns invasion, the Emperor watches her leaving with attention and turns to the Military Captain to tell him “The Flower that blooms in adversity, is the most rare and most beautiful of all”.
Somehow, this phrase got stuck in my little brain back then, being only a little child. I asked myself: What is the meaning of adversity? How can a flower which grows in such difficult conditions, be considered more beautiful than the others, that had a more easy life, and better chances for blooming more beautifully?
Over the years, I came to understand- slowly, but surely, why. Adversity has a bad reputation. We don´t like to deal with difficult situations, with sad moments. Although they are innevitable, we humans try to avoid them, by neglecting them, or covering them with other superficial blankets, so we can just pass through, with the less pain possible. We try to cover the Sun with the finger, as we say often.
But if you look closer to the suffering, turns out, there is some richness on it, some invaluable treasure, that cannot be tasted at the moment, but only when your are in the middle of it, at the center of the turmoil. When you experience a loss, or a truly painful situation, you are left there, alone. You have fallen. You have nothing left to lose. There is just nakedness, ripped and unconfortable Truth. This is the Truth about yourself. There is nothing left, but you. And at that precise moment, something beautiful happens: You discover yourself.
Since there is nothing to lose, nothing really matters. You start to act with true authenticity, and with the humbleness that comes when starting back from Zero. You go back to being a child again. Playful, you are not afraid to take risks, you keep falling, like when you learned to walk, but you keep getting up. You develop a character of a warrior. Since you are not distracted with so much noise around you, you can see what is truly important.
When we analyse history and those people who did remarkable things for our World and our Humanity, most of those people came from an adverse environment. They went through physical disabilities, rejections from society. They were the anarchist, the lonely, the bullied. The classic example, is the German young long-haired teenager high school dropout, who in 1890 went to Italy to wander on the streets of Pavia, after his german teachers had told him that he was a hopeless thing, which never will amount to anything. His questions destroyed the discipline of the classroom, so he would be better off out. Indeed he did, because he had all the time and freedom to wander around and let his mind come back to those questions that intrigued him. His name was Albert Einstein, and his questions and observations changed the World.
In our modern World, things are not as they were in the past. Thanks to sophisticated technology and vast efficiently arranged food, water and thousands of other commodities and supplies, we have developed societies that do not need to worry anymore about subsistance. We have, to an extent, such an easy life, that we have became accustomed to it. Confort and easyness became the normal. It became so easy to accumulate stuff, that we don´t know any other way to live. We lost contact to the nature. We lost contact to our spirit. We lost the essence of beauty on the simplicity, and we let pass everyday the miracle of life. To the point that a material loss make us suffer to an irrational extent. The loss of a beloved one, becomes a devil tragedy, an event so unfair, as if someone somewhere out there would be moving us pulling out stringes, like marionettes, enjoying our suffering.
I come to believe however, that adversity can be a very valuable teacher. It maintains the balance of a well lived life. With the adversity, you keep growing, you keep fine-tunning the truly remarkable and beautiful humanity in you. We can enjoy with much more intensity the good things that happen to us. We can truly delight ourselves with the sour-sweetness of life. As a popular saying goes “The sweet never would taste so sweet without the sour”.
I am forever grateful for all the bad things that had happened to me. Without them, I would not be the person I am today. Every single pain I went through, has been worth it, because I keep waking up every morning, with air in my lungs, with beats on my heart. With the Sun touching my skin, I feel amazed every single day, of the beauty of life. I observe the nature and consider it as something divine, something so pure and so simple, so essential. Adversity created the beauty of the world, and will forever be the catalyst of change, and the seed of life.