Adversity is inevitable. It spares no one. But we always get to choose how we respond to it and how we handle it. I know it might seem easier to simply let these trials define us. But I believe there is another way, a much better way. We can let them refine us.
define: to determine or identify the essential qualities or meaning of
refine: to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
These two verbs, these words of action, differ by only one letter. But as you can see, their definitions are not even close to the same! We are often given the opportunity to choose one of these two actions in response to any of the inevitable struggles or hardships we face, and I believe the one we choose can make a profound difference on the trajectory of our lives.
Unfortunately, we oftentimes choose to be defined by the difficulties we face. It's just basic human nature. It's our default. It often feels like the easiest thing to do. We can just throw in the towel and let our circumstances dictate our actions and attitudes. I see this very thing happening in my own life. It often feels like all I can think or talk about is my brain injury. It’s as if my life starts to revolve around it. I give way too much attention to my struggles, and make sure everyone else knows about them as well. But this is exactly what I don't want to do because I know this means I'm letting my brain injury define me.
I am learning that there’s another way, a much better way. Instead of focusing on all the things I can't do anymore, I can focus on to what I still can do. Instead of thinking about what's worse, I can consider what's better. Instead of dwelling on what I've lost, I can look at all I've gained.
When I can do this, my brain injury is no longer defining me but it can actually start refining me!