Someone told me recently that instead of looking at life’s most challenging moments as struggles or hardships, we should call them “Adjustments”. The context of the conversation was around how challenging times build strength and character. We were specifically talking about past relationships. Ones that we perhaps were in too long or gave too much of ourselves to, but couldn’t see that at the time. It’s only after enough time passes that you are able to more clearly reflect on the energies spent and the sacrifices made and you realize things could have been so different.
I like this word. I had a “six year adjustment” of a relationship that for a very long time I always reflected on with thoughts like the following:
“How could I have been so weak?”
“I wasted six years of my life.“
“I should have left him the first time.”
“I should have known better.”
“I should have known he’d never change.”
“Why wasn’t I strong enough to leave?”
“He ruined my chances of ever finding love again.”
I should have done this. If only I had done that… blah blah blah. The truth is, in the end I did the only thing that I knew how to do. I made adjustments.
My favorite definition of ‘Adjustment’ is as follows:
“Making or becoming suitable; adjusting to circumstance.”
Making it OK. Even if “OK” just means making it until tomorrow. Isn’t that the truth?
The reality is, with every bump and every turn we innately make adjustments. We modify our behavior or our response in a way so as not to encounter said bump or curve gain. Or, in the very least, we teach ourselves to be ready for it the next time around. Lesson learned, right? In the end, it’s up to us to determine how big of an adjustment we want to make… are capable of making, really. It’s our choice, and that choice is based on so many differing factors that it’s impossible to say which are right or wrong, what we should have done then knowing what we know now. You just do what you have to do to make it through each moment. Each adjustment is a learning opportunity for the next.
My blaming myself for sticking with something terrible for so long was not the right thing to do. The truth is I did make adjustments. I adjusted as much as I was cable of at the time but the situation was so much bigger than I was and I just didn’t see it.
I also wouldn’t change anything. Each event lead to the next in a series of events that brought me specifically to where I am today. And where I am is a great place. Personally, professionally, I have almost everything I’ve ever wanted. And those areas that are lacking, I’m OK with. They are lacking because it is my choice. Not because I’m desperately trying to hold on to something that isn’t real. Not anymore.
That’s some empowering stuff.
In life we all make adjustments. Reactive and learned behaviors. They can be as small as going to lunch at 12:15pm to give the 12 o’clock crowd lines time to shorten before you get there. Or, they can be something as big as saying no to someone who’s hurting you… the very first time, instead of waiting six years to acknowledge that you can’t change someone. Each adjustment teaches you how to better handle the next. Each adjustment strengthens you. Each adjustment brings you closer to exactly where you are supposed to be.
Every adjustment is really just opportunity.