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How to Face Life's Challenges

Updated on August 30, 2011

Life’s challenges are everywhere. Disaster strikes when you seem to least expect it. How do we face life's challenges? The doctor’s grim face causes your heart to skip a beat. “I don’t know how to say this. You have cancer. I’m sorry.” Burdens of piled bills weigh heavily on your shoulders.

Troubles wearing blatantly bright red shirts knock on your doorstep sweeping in mockingly showing you painful images. The other woman. Betrayal. A failed marriage. Death of a loved one. Bankruptcy. Recession. The mocking voice laughs wickedly, “Who did you think it was? Santa Claus?”

Drowned in misery and despair, you sit down, staring blankly at the wall of the unknown. You sigh heavily and ask the question that echoes into the dark night. “Why? Why is this happening to me?”

Challenges: Why are they there in our lives?

Photo by: Marinka van Holten
Photo by: Marinka van Holten

Seeing Beyond

I have come to believe that as human beings we constantly evolve and grow. We can’t help it. That is just who we are. And when we are not growing, we feel we are in a rut and suddenly all sorts of feelings erupt. Feelings like impatience or restlessness. Because of this yearning to grow, we draw into our lives certain experiences that assist us in this process.

Allow me to share my story.

I grew up in a pretty protective environment. Imagine my parent’s dismay when out of the blue, I announced bravely, I was quitting my dental profession and be in a learning center instead. I knew they were not happy with the idea but I forged on anyway. I was actually ashamed of my decision to quit because the six years of dentistry was an expensive one and I was throwing that all away.

The shame and guilt preventive me from asking any help from my parents. So I went into the tutorial center with no skills and training except with the knowing that I no longer wanted to clean or extract teeth or do root canals! I was happy I no longer have to pray for patients to cancel their appointments. Yes, I was that miserable.

Anyhow, while running the learning center, the challenges came one after the other. We faced financial, emotional, management problems. To top it all, the place we rented turn out to be a huge problem in itself. We battled with leaking roofs, termites and flood.

Oh I’ve wanted to quit so many times that I’ve lost count. Tears of frustration were shed constantly. Amidst the agonizing, I asked myself, why in the world did I ever allow myself to get into this mess? I began to hate and resent the situation I was in. Until one day, we were on the rooftop trying to solve the gutter that leaked constantly when I blew up. I cursed the heavens right there and then. I blamed the landlady for this aging place which us giving us problems all the time. And inwardly, I blamed myself for the choices I have made. I hated the pain. I hated the problems. I just hated it! I wanted so much to make it work and it seemed efforts were futile.

When we were back in the office, my outburst drained me. I knew there was much to be thankful for but I was struggling amidst it all. The kids were done with their classes and could be heard running around the room. A few kids ran to the office and out again. One of the 4 year old boys ran in, looked at me and hugged me. The hug caught me by surprise. As he ran to chase the other kids, a tear escaped my eye. I could hear God whispering to me softly, “It’s okay. It’s okay.”

That night as I lay in bed reflecting on my life, I realized that I hated the challenges so much that I had forgotten the reason why Stella (my business partner) and I decided to stay on even when the others have quit. We both had agreed to stay for the kids. I also realized that I hated the challenges because I was afraid of the image of failure that we were presenting to the world. Maybe I should start accepting the problems and enjoy the journey instead. That decision brought me instant peace and I slept peacefully that night.

The next time the rains came and the water started to trickle in, Stella and I looked at each other and laughed. Okay, we rolled our sleeves and started to get the buckets out. And call the parents, I added, we are canceling classes. Tell them we have flood!

In time, when we were ready, we moved out of that place and rented a better one. But whenever I look back, I know that I grew up along the way. I recognized that I really wanted to grow as a person and that opportunity with all its challenges made it all possible.

Life’s challenges…you can either love or hate them. It’s really up to you. Growth is most painful when you resist it. But the sooner you accept it, solutions come faster than you can imagine. Be blessed in your journey.

By: Michelle Simtoco

How are you coping with life's challenges?

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    • profile image

      LHom 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for this article. I do have a hard time coping with challenges and changes in life. Also being Filipino myself, I've grown up in a protective environment, as well as dealing with disapproving parents. But thank you so much for writing this, this will help me to remember to stay strong and keep on going and praying.

    • gydon profile image

      gydon 6 years ago from Port Harcourt


    • profile image

      sangeetha sadhuvan 6 years ago

      I am very happy to read this when i was you have motivated to me to challenge the life and face the life and i always keep on thinking that why i had born ,but now am thinking that god as given me more strength to me to face thank you

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      So true Tony! Thanks for stopping by to read this hub. Blessings to you!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      Challenges are our teachers if we are open to learning.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom in this way.

      Love and peace


    • profile image

      Pages of Thoughts 8 years ago

      I really enjoy reading your blogs:)

    • streetsmart profile image

      streetsmart 8 years ago from San Francisco, California

      challenges pass, just like everything else in life.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Oli, hope it is better now? :) I hope so.

      Tatjana, thank you! You rock! Love and hugs back!

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Congratulations, Michelle !!! Love and Hugs.

    • thisisoli profile image

      thisisoli 8 years ago from Austin, Texas (From York, England!)

      I feel your pain with the challenges, trying to emmigrate to america to be with my fiancée, not easy!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Enelle, lovely to see you here. Glad to know it brought you a different perspective to things. :)Blessings...

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      What a great story! This hub helps bring all our own challenges into perspective. Thank you for such an inspiring hub. I will remember this as I face my next challenge - on Monday!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thank you Rita and Kimberly for dropping by. :) Cheers to you both.

      Dayzeebee, yes, I have grown haven't I? I am actually happier too because I am responding better to situations. Thank you for walking down the road with growing up and learning to face the challenges bravely. Thank you so much. :)

    • dayzeebee profile image

      dayzeebee 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Michelle, ah yes, how much you have grown with the challenges you dared face even amidst the pain. Now that is what makes you a more effective healer. In the past three years that I have known you, I can attest to the fact that you respond to challenges better now and I honor for that. Hugs dear friend. Cheers to life:)

    • profile image

      lyricsingray 8 years ago

      Thank you for a wonderful Hub. we just can't, none of ca, let go. If you've lipped,grab back hold,you always cam,, Cheers my friend, Kimbery

    • profile image

      Rita Pepper 8 years ago

      Thank you for such great hub

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Musings on this lovely Friday...thanks for dropping by Chara and Gracie!

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      GracieLinda 8 years ago

      A hub that many of us need...Thanks so much for putting it out there. There are too many of us with HUGE problems, it helps.

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      Fiona Sass 8 years ago from Saint Laurant de Cerdans, Pyrénees Orientales, France

      "inwardly, I blamed myself for the choices I have made"...that is so true! its great when one can finally see the inner torture rack, then like u say, u can start to enjoy the ride. thanx, an easy hub to relate to - and a success story to boot. "feel fully, express totally" xc

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Shamel: Alive and kicking! Great! :)

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 8 years ago

      I accepted this struggle or challenge long time ago as far as I remember.... And, I guess, I'm still alive :) Thanks dear...

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Ricardo! Thanks for your update. Gee. But truly glad to know that the surgery went well. Challenges make you feel alive huh? Alright! That kind of attitude goes a long, long way. Hope all is well with your family as well. Blessings and love to you. :)

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 8 years ago from Portugal

      Hey Michelle, as always your hubs mean a lot to me. This time i´m going through a challenge i know very well - recovering from another wrist surgery. This one took place last monday and it went fine.

      If you ask me, i love challenges - they make me feel alive!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      VioletSun: Amen!

      theglobalspirit: Hi Bobby & Stacey, thank you for your cheery spirits. :)

    • profile image

      theglobalspirit 8 years ago

      Bravo! Always go with your dream and your creativity.

      Bobby & Stacey

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      True, Michelle, acceptance is the key to everything keeps one's heart open.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      May we linger on the loving then LOL Thanks!

    • Vizey profile image

      Vizey 8 years ago

      Lady it is hard truth that no one like to face difficulty but have to face it. So we all linger between your question Love or hate them.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Aaahh actually it has its advantages and disadvantages! LOL I guess it depends on where one is at one point in their lives. Acceptance seems to be the key to it all -- including facing life's challenges! :)

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Michelle: Yes, I am aware that in many cultures staying with the parents if one is single is the custom, and I assumed you still lived with your parents since you are single. Remember, my older nephew is half Philippine, so I was exposed to your culture while growing up. :) My sister met a Hindu woman in NY, and she was getting married. Wife and groom were going to live in her parents home where different generations lived together; to us it would be stifling but to the Hindu woman it was normal. :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Beth: Being unused to making choices independently made it more challenging. But as you said, I am glad now that I followed my heart. Thanks for sharing!

      VioletSun: Marie, do you know I still live with my brothers - in my parent's house. That is probably unthinkable in some cultures. Since I am unmarried, it's unthinkable for them for me to be anywhere else! Hmmmm...I wonder. Hahahaha I feel blessed to have you too in my life! :)

      Emohealer: Sue, I guess because you also went through your own challenges and remember how it was. :) Hugging you dearly for your sweetness, your encouraging spirit and so much more!

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      How do you do it, bringing tears of emotion into my eyes. I felt your words as if I were there. You have a special knack as you write and share to bring the moment into my home and my experience. I agree with VioletSun, nothing is wasted or lost, you had a wonderful thing and expanded it into a glorious thing. So touching as you shared releasing your fears and doubts and then embracing the joys and growth that was there all along.

      You are such an inspiration with your open heart and mind. Thank you for the beautiful ripples you bring into my world, Your light is so bright, shine on!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Great message! You chose your path, what you enjoyed doing and this takes great courage, so I applaud you for this! The money spent in training you as a dentist, didn't go to waste, you received a good education anyway.

      I remember that for me it was moving out and finding my own apt. In the Latin culture where I come from, that is unacceptable, (at least years ago) and Mom didn't speak to me for 6 months as it hurt her so much. I needed to do this, to learn to be independent, self reliant as I was struggling with a hearing loss and the psychological challenges of insecurity it brings. Its the BEST decision I ever made in my life. Mom and I became best friends afterwards, she would stay in my place and I would spoil her. She truly was a good mom, just from a different culture in which I was raised. :)

      I feel blessed to be your spiritual friend.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 8 years ago from Canada

      Michelle, you are absolutely right about how we have control over how we look and feel about our own circumstances. When we make our choices, it should always be based on what our heart speaks as these are the choices that will always sit well within ourselves. As you have shown, we should not give up on our own dreams.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Scott: I agree with you there. Adversity and challenges are opportunities for us to build our character while we maintain focus and do things with determination. :)

      Cheeky Girl: Thank you for those encouraging words. There were many moments when I asked myself if I made the right decision. But looking back, I know I did. :)

      Wandererh: Hahahahaha

      Triplet Mom: Don't you just love the "muscles" we've built through the years? Thanks for being here.

      Duchess: I did grow up esp. in handling emotions and facing the problems head on instead of running away. LOL

      Dottie: Sis, I am on my way to write you an email. But before I do that, no we don't want to strengthen our problems by resisting it. Very painful thing to do! :)

      Ruchira: Thanks!

      Tatjana: Yes, I like that...quiet periods of rest in between the challenges. Thank you for the love and light.

      Hugs to all of you guys!

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Without challenges, this life would be very boring. But too much of them can exchaust anyone. Hm, maybe is wisdom of life to consiously choose quiet period after "challenging one"... Thank you for excellent Hub, as always.

      Love and Light.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 8 years ago from United States

      an encouraging article.

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

      Hi Michelle, how ya doin, Sis? Oh the challenges, don't we just love to hate them? but as you say it is better we choose learning over resistance for it's in the resistance that further strengthens all our problems. Now we don't want that, do we? Nah! Thank you for this loving reminder! :) thumbs up!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Inspirational - thank you for sharing. It's an encouragement to hear how others have handled different challenges. How we handle them says a great deal about who we are.

      I agree with you. I think you did grow up along the way :)

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 8 years ago from West Coast

      I have a lot of respect for challenges not while going through them of course, but after they are over. You have to bow to them because challenges can make you stronger. Great hub as always! Love your messages.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 8 years ago from Singapore

      If you don't face challenges, how are you going to lecture your kids about how hard life has been for you, and how easy they have it? :)

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      I am very moved by your brave decision to go with your feelings and choose the path you have taken. It is not easy to go against the "flow" of the wisdom of others. But the motto of life is "Find something in life you are good at and you will never go wrong". I live by this rule and it proved the right path for me. People have more passion for the thing they love above all else. It's in our nature. You also gained by having a solid partner to go on that journey with you. You are a wise person, ripplemaker. May life grant you your wishes, you deserve them!

    • profile image

      Scott.Life 8 years ago

      I think its the challenges and adversity we face that really make us who we are. I have often let life beat me down and take over my path, forgetting along the way why I wanted something to begin with. To the person who can maintain a course of action and despite all odds maintain focus and determination, nothing will hold them back.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Robert: thank you for reading this one. :)

      Paradise: It took me years to learn that lesson. I'm so glad I'm getting better in dealing with things. I thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart. Continue growing... hugs!

      Dohn: I used to think I was such a weak person. But after overcoming life's challenges, it gave me confidence and strength in character. I also saw myself in a better light. So true -- don't give up on your dreams. Indeed the more we place value on ourselves, the more we are able to fly. Many thanks for sharing! :)

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I think the worst thing that anyone of us could do in life is to give up on our dreams. I've been accused of being a dreamer several times and half the time, I became agitated and defensive instead of beaming and taking the compliment/complaint in stride. One of the best things one of my high school principal told me was that I'm the Number One Person in my life and that there is no second.

      Thank you again, Michelle for sharing this. You have a wonderful spirit and the resolve to overcome any obstacle.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      This is a good hub, ripplemaker, and it came at a good time for it, for me, personally. Thank you very much. I can use your story to apply it to my own, and buck up a little. I get frustrated too easily when things don't go my way. The frustrations are actually lessons in the school of life: the coping challenges that we didn't expect or weren't prepared for are the ones we learn the most from. Thank you again.

    • profile image

      Robert Ballard 8 years ago

      A wonderful enlightening hub, thanks for posting.