Adversity Breeds Maturity


 “Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern

for others outweighing your concern for yourself.”

                                                     -John Mac Naughton

Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything handed to you on a silver platter? What if you never had to work again, do laundry, raise your kids, cook or shop for food? Doesn’t that sound like so much fun? What if you have no adversity? What if life was wrapped up in a nice little neat package with no wrinkles or mishaps? What if you were immuned from confrontations, health problems, money challenges, or relationship disputes.

Well, from my observation, those who have struggled with many challenges and refuse to pick the victim card, seem filled with immense wisdom and grace.

In nature, diamonds are grown under extreme pressure and oak trees grow in strong winds. And wines best years are when grapes have persevered during a drought.

Struggle tastes better than entitlement. Wouldn't you agree?

I went to a Buddhist talk a couple of weeks ago, and the practitioner said, “may you be blessed with much difficulty and challenges”. In some cultures it is looked upon as a blessing. 

From my personal experience some of the most difficult times in my life cracked my heart right open and created tremendous compassion for other beings who suffer.

I grew up in a large chaotic Catholic family with nine siblings and divorced parents. My youth was tumultuous, to say the least. I was widowed at the age of 31 years old and raised a child with special needs with little physical or emotional help from others.

What got me through those tough times were prayer, a strong yoga practice, a small circle of friends and my spiritual advisor.

Yes, there were times when I cried myself to sleep. Yes, there were times when I had nowhere to turn and no one to call. That is when I turned within.

For some reason, I signed up in this lifetime for the fastlane to maturity.

Dr. Abraham Maslow defines maturity as someone who masters their own emotional world.

If we can PAUSE before we go into self pity, anger, frustration, rage, or depression and react differently to circumstances with grace and love then we are on the road to maturity!

Maturity is patient, kind, compassionate, and above all not self serving.

Here are a few attributes below that define mature wisdom:

-Self pity is childlike and NOT solution based.

-Losing one's temper usually makes things worse.

-Accepting 100% responsibility without blame or becoming a victim.

-Not worrying about things that cannot be changed.

-Happy for others' achievements without envy or jealousy.

-Listening to others' opinion respectfully, even though you may have an opposing view.

-Avoiding the need to criticize or judge.

-Making goals and carrying them out.

-Avoiding impulsivity and rigidity.

If a little adversity builds maturity, I'll take it. It's better the the alternative!