Home life lessons How to Overcome Adversity (& Attract What You Want)

How to Overcome Adversity (& Attract What You Want)

written by Head Health Nutter October 19, 2011

Life sometimes throws us curve balls; and some of those balls land hard, right in your face. But it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you respond to it. In today’s post I’d like to tell you more about my recent spiritual kick-in-the-ass, the challenges following it and how I attracted exactly what I wanted and needed into my life!

Earlier this year I slipped into a depression. Actually, to be honest, it probably started before that. Ever since moving into my first house over a year and a half ago, I’ve been neglecting my self-care. I kept making excuses, like we were in the middle of renovations, as to why I was unable to get back into my healthy routine.

My lack of self-care ended up affecting all areas of my life. When I was only half-heartedly and inconsistently taking care of my needs for my body, mind and soul, life became hard. I wasn’t really enjoying my freelance writing business anymore, and I felt like a fake blogging about health when I wasn’t walking my talk.

Overtime, my self-confidence deteriorated, I see now that I isolated myself, and hello depression!

My Wake-Up Call

This all really only dawned on me when my spiritual kick-in-the-ass hit (even though I knew better because I’ve been there before and got out myself out of it – that’s when and why I started this blog!). As my depression grew, I began using outside sources to lift me back up; not only substances but also a specific person and my role as a partner in my intimate relationship of almost seven years.

My spiritual-kick-in-the-ass came in the form of a breakup. (By the way, it was a good breakup – it was very mature and loving, actually, and resembled the type of relationship we had overall.) I realize now that I lost myself, reached for something to define `me’ and became attached to my relationship, making it and him more important than myself.

Things happen for a reason. I needed the breakup because I needed a wake-up call, a spiritual kick-in-the-ass. As Dr. Rubin says in The Art of Flourishing:

“Although no one courts misfortune, collective and personal crisis always affords opportunities for profound transformation. Calamity threatens the status quo and is often stressful and exhausting, but it is also the ripest time for change – potentially leading one to breaking through. When the existing coping strategies of either a person or an organization are not working they are more amenable to change.”

I read this a few short weeks after the breakup and it was a big AH-HA for me. The intense emotional pain I experienced during the breakup and the week following it was similar to the physical shock I experienced when I had my hot bath accident. It was almost spiritual – everything became very clear to me, especially my priorities.

It snapped me out of my depression and instantaneously I found myself again! I naturally reached out for what I knew would help me deal with this life event: my healthy routine. The first thing I did after the breakup talk was go for a walk.

Post-Breakup Challenges

I had 3 months to save up for rent, find a place and pack. Plenty of time, right?

So I focused on doing what made me happy: my healthy routine, going out with friends, blogging and freelance writing (yes, once my depression lifted and I found myself again, it came to me easily and I enjoyed it), working part-time as a waitress which I love because I get to be social, active AND make money, and I even started taking martial arts – something I’ve been talking about doing for over three years!

I was having so much fun living life again that I didn’t start looking for a place until about 6 weeks before the move date. To be honest, I believe a big part of me hoped that because I found myself again, my ex and I would fall in love again and start working things out.

Plan A was this awesome apartment in renovated old army barracks on the Lakeshore. Funny thing, I ended becoming attached to this apartment! I stopped looking for other apartments and focused on applying to this one while I packed.

Weeks went by and although the superintendent wanted to rent to me, and she fought to get me in there, the property management group rejected my application because my income was too low (I’ve been working solely on my freelance business for the past few years).

Dealing with feelings of rejection all over the board, I worked through the emotional baggage and held my chin up. Whenever I began feeling scared or negative thoughts entered my head, I caught myself and repeated, “I have many perfect apartments to choose from and fantastic landlords are clamouring over renting to me.”

The Move Day Countdown

With 3 weeks left before the move date, I began to search for apartments owned by private landlords. Because I had been rejected for my low income, I knew I had to focus on my strengths. I bought my credit report online and asked a long-time client to write me a glowing character reference letter. I made copies of my credit score and letter from my client, and hit the streets.

My new pad

Are you aware of just how many indecent apartments there are in the Toronto area? I didn’t until I went looking for apartments within my budget. I must admit, I placed restrictions on my search as I wanted to live alone (I’ve never done so in my 34 years!) and didn’t want to pay any more than what I’ve been paying with shared housing.

With 2 weeks to go before my move date, every day for 4 days I got a big, bad piece of news. First, the restaurant where I worked during the summer no longer needed me. The next day I found out that my co-signer (yes, that’s right, I didn’t give up on Plan A) failed to meet the property manager’s strict standards while the third day had to do with a health issue that I thought was resolved.

With only 9 days left to find a place, my biggest monthly writing contract client broke the news to me that in her merger with an American company, she would no longer need my services. So here I was suddenly with (practically) no income and trying to find a roof over my head. I took it all fairly well that day, actually laughed at it all, but I needed a Plan C to fall back on.

The week before some friends had offered a room in their house as a temporary solution. I felt safe and comfortable with them and knew it would be a good place where I could heal and get back on my feet. I asked if their offer was still open and they said, “Of course!” Whew.

Attracting What I Wanted & Needed

Although these friends made a very generous offer, the next day I crashed with the full realization of my situation. I felt like a frightened child and just wanted to run away or curl up in a ball and cry like a baby (which I did for a bit). You see, it was very important to me to stand on my own two feet and find my own place – plus, I really didn’t want to move twice!

I slapped myself in the face and told myself I could do this. I repeated my `perfect apartments/landlords’ affirmation again, really felt it, and continued my search, making calls and set up 2 viewings for the next day.

My new livingroom

The first was a bust but the second, well… my friend and I drove up to the house and my jaw dropped. It was in a gorgeous neighbourhood and the house was just as beautiful. The place was a busy spot, with a construction and cleaning crew running around. I was led into the living room to meet the home owner.

We spoke for over an hour, he showed me one apartment that was nearly completed (it had a stone fireplace!) and another one with an ultra cool layout that was just being started. Not only did I fall in love with the landlord and his crew, he told me the plans for the apartments and I just knew the Universe was sending me the “perfect apartments” for me to choose from.

Since the landlord is in business with his wife, he said he was going to discuss renting to me with her and he’d call me the next day. He didn’t and so I continued my apartment search online. The following day with only 5 days left before my move date, I took initiative and followed up with him. Unfortunately, he gave me disappointing news.

I was having a “good” day and really felt that the Universe was on my side, though. Seeing those apartments was a sign to me that it was possible to find something unbelievably breathtaking in my price range. So when the potential landlord told me his wife wanted to keep the one apartment that was almost done being renovated for their daughter, I was absolutely cool with it.

He told me how disappointed he was and shared with me that in 23 years of renting apartments, no one had ever printed out their credit score for him and that I really impressed him between this and my sparkling personality (ok, this last part is in my words ;)). He wanted to rent to me!

I told him how much of a pleasure it was meeting him, that it was too bad because I would love to rent from him and asked him that if something else should open up before October 1st, to please give me a call.

Can you guess what happened? Later that day, he called me up to discuss a plan for me to move in! He had spoken to his wife again and although the bachelor wasn’t livable yet and the one bedroom already had a tenant living there, he had come up with several options in which we could make it work and still make my move date!

So, here I am, writing this blog post in my new office in my snazzy, decked out (SO ME) digs, the fireplace is keeping me cozy and I LOVE my fascinating, funny and caring landlord and housemates. And can you imagine that this is only part of the story? There were other challenges leading up to my move date and other instances of manifesting what I wanted using the same attitude of abundance and graciousness!

What’s the moral of this story? First: focus on the positives and be grateful for them. Second: to actually feel the abundance of the Universe and trust It will deliver exactly what I need. Third: catch myself when negativity threatens my well-being and replace it with affirmations of what I want to co-create in my life. And fourth: do what I need to do to help make it all happen in this reality.

Note: I’ll update this post with pictures of the house and my apartment in the morning, when there’s daylight. 🙂

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Emmanuel Lopez-Motivatorman October 19, 2011 at 6:40 am

Wow! Thanks for sharing one of your greatest blog posts Steph! You have been through such an intense journey and it is so inspiring. Plus during all your recent life changes the universe gets your blog recognized big time at Shape Magazine! Keep moving forward and sharing your stories, wisdom and talents! I’m sure you are inspiring people around the world with your courage!


Head Health Nutter October 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Thank you for this amazing, supportive and encouraging comment, Emmanuel! I really couldn’t have stayed so strong and confident throughout it all without friends like YOU to remind me of who I really am. 🙂

Bridget Flynn October 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story! Affirmations work with belief and faith motivating them. I don’t know you, but I’m so glad for you, and that you found your perfect space. Sacrifices unnecessary.

Head Health Nutter October 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm

You’re most welcome, Bridget! Yes, the proof is in the pudding with affirmations and really feeling that they are already true. I AM ecstatic about my new pad. And, yes, thank you, sacrifices are unnecessary when you love yourself and actually believe you deserve only the best. And I believe EVERYONE deserves the very best in life. 🙂

Grace Cherian December 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm

What a journey you’ve been through, Steph. I’m so glad you’ve found a home with such a fabulous living room!

Alex December 24, 2011 at 6:45 am

I’m glad I came across this page. Now I understand the meaning of adversity, (I understand it very well as I have had depression and troubles throughout the past 10 years!) I am glad you, who has personally experienced adversity and depression has been able to see the light and spread the lovely light across the internet for all to see.

Thank you once again for the 4 step tips! Sometimes you just need to be reminded on the small things to help you see the bigger picture <3

Head Health Nutter December 26, 2011 at 6:11 am

Hi Alex, thanks for your comment and sharing some of your story. You’re most welcome for the reminders – we all need them! 🙂

Dee December 26, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Congratulations Stephanie!! This sounds like the Law of Attraction in action. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving person… which seems to bode well for your new life in 2012!!

Sometimes Plan “B” really stands for the BEST Plan according to our Higher Power/ the Universe ~ which is always working for the greatest good ~ whether we know it or not. I believe in Divine Intervention, and that the Masterplan for each of us happens when we are ready for it ~ not necessarily on our terms or schedule.

Have you ever read the book ~ Ordering From the Cosmic Kitchen, by Patricia Crane, Ph. D. Here’s a link for you and any readers who might like to sample the goodies! http://www.orderingfromthecosmickitchen.com/

You might remember this one ~ Oh The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.
[You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know, and YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go!] Sometimes the toughest lessons are the simplest ones we learned as children! 😀

Head Health Nutter December 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Wow, thanks Dee for this helpful and FUN comment! lol Now it’s just to get clear on what we want… meditation has worked for me in the past. Got any tips in how to find clarity, Dee?

Dee December 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Good question Steph. I also find (guided) meditations or even deep breathing helps to centre and ground me, in terms of connecting with my inner self. Total clarity doesn’t always come to me unless I am alone, rested, undisturbed, peaceful ~ especially around my pets or outside in Nature (disconnected from all electronic gadgets) ~ quiet enough to hear the answer. When I try too hard, it becomes more elusive, so it’s important to relax, stay in the moment and trust the process.

A technique called CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) also works, although it involves a lot of discipline and consistent daily effort to write things down. Ultimately, I trust my intuition to tell me what I need to know, by asking myself out loud without judgment or expectations. I’ve also written down a question before going to sleep, to allow my subconcious to find the right answer, or just the next step. The next morning often brings clarity (altho’ it may take several attempts).

BTW, I just found a site which offers some free training on this subject. http://thinksimplenow.com/clarity/find-clarity-in-one-day/

Head Health Nutter January 4, 2012 at 1:25 am

Ah, yes, Dee, I’ve found the same about clarity, it’s just very challenging most times to make the time to be alone and also be focused enough (and patient) to listen to your intuition…

Hmm… CBT, I’ll have to check that out. Ah, and I’ve often gone to sleep asking myself questions to challenging questions and found the answer either in my dreams or upon awakening! haha great minds think alike. 🙂

Oh, wow, and thank you for sharing thinksimplenow.com with us! Great article you linked to; I’ll definitely be trying a Clarity Day very soon and plan to go back to this site for more intriguing suggestions!!!

Many thanks, Dee! 🙂

Whatajoke March 14, 2013 at 4:43 am

I saw the title of this article and got really excited to see what you’d have to say. (It was a Google result, I’ve never been to this site.) When you began with talking about depression, I thought “nice, something I can relate to.” Then, you go on to say you “snapped” out of it… I’m sorry, but depression is a mental illness, a chemical imbalance, that you can’t just wish away and it’s gone. Very poor choice of words on your end, and quite frankly, it’s offensive. Being in a funk is different than a mental illness. Everyone has been through what you’re describing at some point, sh*t happens. You and the people commenting must have lived a very sheltered life if a break-up, being fired and finding an apartment is such an impressive dangerous journey to have survived. Wow.

Head Health Nutter March 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

First, thank you for popping on by Live Lighter and commenting. I appreciate your thoughts and feelings. At the same time, I do not appreciate your minimizing my life struggles which I have bravely shared here on Live Lighter in attempts to help others with similar challenges in life.

According to mental health professionals, any major life changes that threaten our sense of security and safety – any upheaval to our lives – can and most likely will affect us in a negative way, possibly causing various forms of mental illness, such as anxiety attacks, depression, etc., which can be temporary but can also become permanent if not dealt with in a timely fashion.

Moving, the loss of a long-term partner, being unemployed (the only thing missing is a death, thankfully I did not experience that at the same time) … were all individually threats to my survival and I experienced them at the same time.

I did NOT say I was clinically depressed, which would be a dysfunction in “brain” chemistry for which medication is needed. The other kind of depression is “mind” related, and everyone experiences it to different degrees at one time or another in their life-time. Medication does not help this kind of depression.

I’m sympathetic to your struggles with clinical depression. I hope you’re obtaining both the medication and psychotherapy you need to help you find the happiness you deserve in this lifetime. And one thing a good psychotherapist would suggest is you’ll have greater chances of finding that happiness when you stop comparing yourself to others.

Hmm March 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I wasn’t trying to belittle what happened to you or compare. It was just quite upsetting to be mislead and it’s merely fact that if you have lived a more sheltered, “normal” life, that you’re more sensitive to these changes. I see people blog about similar situations and different combinations of equally crappy things on a daily basis. Literally. Hence it was strange to me that your readers seemed to have found it so unique and brave. Maybe you should broaden your horizons online to see what I’m saying. These things are happening constantly. To sooo many people this constant chaos is the life-long norm. There are times that people feel depressed, yes, but to call it Depression in such a matter-of-fact manner as you have in this article, implies legitimate mental illness.

Head Health Nutter March 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm

First, thank you for returning and clarifying your comments. I’m very sorry you felt mislead. I stand by my definition between the different kinds of depression, though, and whether or not depression is in the brain or mind, it’s still legitimate. I feel my words were aptly used – if I had meant clinical depression, I would have written it that way, mentioned that I was diagnosed and been suffering from it for a certain time. I did not, however, and cannot be blamed for the implications others make.

As for your assumption that I’ve led a “sheltered, more `normal’ life”, how can you possibly tell this by a single snapshot of my life that I’ve chosen to share here with you and the world? Would it help you to know that I was brought up in a single-parent family and although my Mom loved me very much and did her very best, I was still neglected in many ways because she lacked the necessary resources? Or perhaps you’d like to know that I was sexually molested as a child and again in my late twenties when 2 men slipped a date-rape drug into my drink? Or that I’ve struggled with various forms of addiction since puberty?

You are right, though, I feel very blessed for my life. It could have been worse, of course. It can ALWAYS be worse and it IS for some people. But that doesn’t make my experiences any less real or meaningful – all human beings share the same feelings: anger, hurt, trauma, neglect, fright, hate, jealousy, joy, love, gratitude, bliss, courage… the list goes on.

And this is the very reason why I write this blog! Hoping that the lessons I’ve learned from my struggles and challenges in life MAY help others so when they experience something similar, they can possibly overcome theirs more quickly and easily.

I’m also very sorry you couldn’t relate to me and the experience I’ve shared here. Obviously, this story wasn’t meant for you.

Whatajoke and hmm: you should write a blog sharing YOUR life challenges and how you’re solving them so that you can help others like yourself (the ones that haven’t led such a sheltered life). That would be a very constructive way to use your time, indeed!


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