When we face adversity, it’s easy to lose perspective and get consumed by our own situation. Sometimes, the depth of our pain or anxiety is well founded. Other times, we might be making more out of our plight than it deserves. (This can happen when we become self-absorbed.)
Whether or not that is the case, there’s a proven solution for working through loss and adversity that may surprise you. It comes through not solely focusing on our situation, but by seeking opportunities to help others. It is a total “win-win” proposition. In face, here’s the inspiring story of a courageous woman who did just that:
“A few years ago in a small rural town in Oregon, a teenage boy died in a drowning accident. In all likelihood his death could have been prevented if an ambulance and trained medical personnel had been available. However, this small town was too poor to afford these services.
The boy’s mother grieved for the loss of her son, but she also transformed her grief into a service to her community. While she could not regain her son, she worked to prevent a similar tragedy. This woman trained and became an Emergency Medical Technician. After completing her training she raised money to purchase an ambulance and trained volunteers to help her. It is estimated that this volunteer ambulance service has saved the lives of over 100 people that might have died, as her son did, due to a lack of emergency care. When interviewed, this woman said, ‘It’s easier to forget your own loss when you are busy helping others.’”*
If you’re experiencing a life trial, find a way to help others even less fortunate than you. This could be a community service opportunity, a mission trip, a visit to a soup kitchen, retirement home, or hospital, or helping a friend or neighbor in need. When you focus outside of yourself, amazing things can happen. One is that you may find your situation isn’t as troubling or bleak as you thought. Another is that you’ll experience the joy and satisfaction from helping others. You’ll begin to count your blessings, which are easy to forget when you face tough challenges. It also helps you forget your own problems for a while and gives you a completely new perspective (which, many times, is exactly what you need!). It might even turn into a new life mission—you just never know!
Can you describe the perspective you gain in your life when helping people less fortunate than yourself? Think about people you know right now who are experiencing adversity of some kind. How can you be a source of support or encouragement to them?
*Story excerpted from The Healing Power of Service, by Edward V. Brown, as shared on www.energizeinc.com.