One's character is important and can be defined as: "the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual". When displaying character traits such as honesty, courage, leadership, and responsibility, one is considered honourable and of good character.
If life cruises along in a familiar comfortable, happy pattern our positive traits (the ones related to love) easily take precedence in our lives and our flawed character traits (those related to fear) stay neatly tucked behind closed doors.
However, when a crisis hits and our buttons are pushed, these flawed character traits become all too apparent as they reveal themselves to us and to those around us.
According to an online dictionary: "a crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger". It is a state of emergency in an unpredictable situation that carries tons of negative connotations because of the disruption and upheaval caused and the resultant fear created.
Every one of us has experienced different levels of a crisis throughout our lives, on both smaller personal levels and more broad reaching collective levels such as natural disasters that cover larger areas and affect massive groups of people.
Whatever the crisis, big or small, they are, in the end, wise, great teachers, pushing our "fear" buttons and allowing us to "see" exactly who we really are through our reactions.
Our reactions/responses to crisis and disruption is what really matters. It reveals our true character, our emotional strengths, and our personal weaknesses.
Hidden within all crisis is a "diamond gem" waiting for our perceived attention. If we perceive right, find the silver lining and take it to heart, we extract the real purpose of any crisis, personal and/or collective growth.
Horrible on the outside, disasters and crisis are unpredictable, have a cognitive impact on us and test us emotionally and physiologically. Behaviours change – some for the better as they rise out of the ashes to new and greater levels of service. Others, giving in to fear, take a turn for the worse with rude and poor actions.
Speaking or hearing the word crisis automatically triggers negative visions of difficult times for most people. However, to those with "eyes that see and ears that hear" it is really presenting us opportunity for major changes inwardly and outwardly.
Rather than seeing and experiencing a crisis as something to fear, we must shift our perceptions to understand that a crisis is not necessarily a fault but an imbalance. In fact, "seeing" a fault/error is a negative view/angle that opens our thoughts to fear.
A crisis is a blunt indication that the scales have tipped and need balancing. It is an opportunity to learn about, restructure, rebalance and reboot who we are individually and collectively.
To come out stronger in the end, better adapted and ready to tackle life's issues and problems with honesty, authenticity, and courage. To rise to the occasion, be a better person and create a better world, one a step at a time.
Opportunities of a crisis:
Wakes us up – to who we really are and often shatters our perceived "reality" and the illusionary beliefs and ideas that have silently taken over. Sometimes these false realities and illusions are so ingrained and real to us that only the "shock of a crisis" has the power to pierce through them and wake us from our otherwise unresponsive slumber.
Promotes Change – it might be a bit painful at first as we work through the initial shock of a crisis, it may even rock us to the core, but in the end, it resurrects us to transformative change, to new and exciting beginnings.
Facing Fears – our demons love appearing at our darkest hour. This is when we see the perpetrators, the fearful thoughts and beliefs that persecute and dictate to us throughout our lives. Crisis is the opportunity given to us to not only "see" them but to overcome them through a cleansing process and rehab of our mind and our beliefs.
Meeting our authentic selves – oh how we love to hide sometimes! But there is no hiding in a crisis as we come face to face with any inauthentic self-images and false identities we have created. A crisis strips off these veils, these false personas we have hidden behind, and gives us a chance to get closer to and enjoy a truer, more authentic aspect of ourselves and the world around us.
Softens Hearts – when fear hits, even the toughest criminal or misfit can be softened to the core and begin trusting out of need. A crisis is empowered to soften the hardest heart and toughen the weakest making us more supple and better adapted.
"Now" is the only reality that exists. When a crisis hits, we cannot turn back time and make it not happen, so dwelling on negatives and beating ourselves up over the current situation we find ourselves in is not the solution!
There is no way around it. We must move through it and reap the silver lining hidden within. We must accept and learn the valuable lessons it came to teach us as we alchemise and transform our lives to experience something that in the end, syncs us to a deeper, more loving part of ourselves.
Crisis – a grand opportunity for personal or collective growth or both that ultimately makes us wiser, stronger, and more adaptable as we learn to navigate life's stormy weather.
The truth is, "Thunderstorms are as much our friends as the sunshine."
• Carolyn Hansen is co-owner at Anytime Fitness.