Optimism: Turning Adversity into Strength

November has certainly been a big month in Melbourne.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival had us all swept away in a flurry of fascinators and horse hooves, and with the festive season also looming, many of us were in party mode with light spirits and a happy disposition of the current festivities and the ones still yet to come.

Unfortunately, November was also the month in which Melbourne experienced a loss that ripped into the heart of the city when Sisto Malaspina, beloved co-owner of Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar was tragically killed in a terrorist attack.

As the city went from such highs to a crushing low, many people felt disheartened and dismayed at the fact that such a well loved and community minded man can have his life taken so suddenly in a senseless act of hate.

In memory of Sisto Malaspina

Death is a difficult thing for everyone, especially if the death is sudden and unexpected. Grief is hard to handle and everyone deals with it in their own way and in their own time.

In difficult times we often hear the words “be optimistic” or “think positively” and while people mean well, sometimes it’s the last thing we want to consider when we are down and out and angry at the world, and when you are in the middle of a bad situation, it is often difficult to imagine you will ever come out of it again.

We all experience grief. We have no control over when grief decides to pop into our lives, but we can choose how we deal with grief when it does arrive.

When I say think positively, I’m encouraging you to find constructive and helpful ways to turn your adversity into a strength, which is a much more effective way of dealing with grief than to simply try and “cheer up”.

Some people have turned their grief into foundations to honor their lost loved one.

Look at the amazing work Rosie Batty has done after the tragic death of her son, the work the McGrath Foundation does for breast health awareness and the wonderful things the Jim Stynes Foundation does for disadvantaged youth.

It is one of the human qualities I find amazing, that from the depths of despair, heartbreak and loss can come such wonderful successes and triumphant stories.

All of these causes were created in memory of a lost loved one. Countless people are benefiting from the work carried out by these foundations and the memory of their loved one now has the potential to change thousands of lives for the better.

Whatever you are experiencing, whatever you are going through, you have the power to turn things around and better your own life. You can even use your experiences to help those in your circle of influence: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

You have valuable life experience that can help someone else going through their own tough time. Who knows, in the future they may be able to use their experience to help you too.

In this way, we can turn our adversities into strength which we can use to help nurture each other and help each other to grow.

We can use our experiences to help others overcome any adversity

Some people may only be able to help themselves and that’s OK! Focus on moving forward in a positive and healthy manner and do what you can to the best of your ability.

It also helps to remember that time heals everyone in a different way and at different time-spans. Never compare your progress with someone else, were all going through things at our own incomparable pace.

I use my experience with breast cancer as a way to educate and help others.

It took me almost five years to even admit to having had breast cancer, I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it with anyone and I shut that part of my life off from others.

It was only in the last couple of years that I felt ready and able to share my health journey with others.

Through this experience I have found my voice and developed a passion for helping people not only experiencing their own health concerns, but in all areas of life.

Whether it be personal or professional development, working on financial goals, building self-esteem or strengthening family bonds, I am here for those who know they need to do something different to improve their situation and who want someone to help guide them through these changes with compassion and understanding.

We all experience trials. The key is to look for the good in every situation while also believing something good can happen.

Every adversity sows a seed that, if properly nurtured, will blossom into something that can truly help someone else.


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