Saturday, 10 December 2016

Is adversity really bad?

Who actually wants pain and suffering in life? Everybody prays for their happiness, wealth and prosperity. Is that always possible? Do we ever experience pleasures or happiness in the absence of pain or suffering? Impossible. Our life flows between two banks of favourable and adverse situations. Even if we try our best to avoid unfavourable situations, they are inevitable. But the good news is that all life crises throw us precious learning opportunities if we are keen to learn from every mistake we make and every misfortune we confront. In contrast, such opportunities are rarely provided by pleasant events. Usually, we are so busy enjoying being in the moment that the happiness goes by before we fully take notice of it.

Whether they like it or not, people encounter different ‘losses’ throughout their lives. These include losing a loved one, name and fame, job, business, success, relationship, and many more. The uninvited adversities give us a golden chance to stop and reflect upon ourselves and our life situations, re-evaluate our lives and re-prioritise. The first step to cope with any sort of loss is to realise and accept that it has occurred. After this, our mind becomes clear, making it easier to implement other necessary coping measures to move on.

Obviously, by going through painful experiences we understand how much positive energy we have inside us. We grow emotionally. We start perceiving the world more deeply and openly. We develop better coping mechanisms for the future. Adversity helps people to uncover capabilities that may not have been apparent before. Sometimes it can bring out the best in us.

We would never have gotten a masterpiece epic like ‘Gauri’ in Nepali literature if the national poet, Madhav Prasad Ghimire, had not experienced the intense pain of his wife’s untimely death. This pain took his creativity to its highest point, so ‘Gauri’ was born. Similarly, if Anuradha Koirala, an ordinary middle class woman, had not gone through several adverse life situations -- her husband’s abusiveness, three miscarriages and divorce -- she would not have emerged as a real humanitarian ‘hero’. These are two popular examples of how adversity can positively influence people, but if we look around, we can find such success stories even in our own families, neighbourhoods and communities.

For instance, one of my husband’s cousins lost her husband at quite a young age. On top of that sudden blow, she had four small children to raise all by herself. She faced the unexpected cruelty with courage. She stood up against adversity like a tigress mustering every bit of strength she had inside her to protect her children. The lady raised them successfully. Now, all four of them are well-educated, well-mannered and well-settled.

Bad things happen. They look ugly on the surface. They have immediate and negative consequences such as denial, depression, and sleeplessness. However, once we are able to accept our losses, we can begin to try and use such experiences to improve ourselves. Nietzsche was absolutely correct when he stated, “What does not kill us makes us stronger.”

(Published in an English Daily The Rising Nepal on Friday, December 9, 2016) 

[The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.]


  1. First of all adversity is really bad. It sometimes sparks determination and creativity, but those could be just as easily come from Godly inspiration.





I would appreciate any and all suggestions on making improvements (as long as they are viable).