What doesn’t kill us is making us stronger

There are people among us who had fantastic childhoods, belong to loving families and who have a well-adjusted outlook on life. These people have fathers that support them, mothers that comfort them and bosses that respect them. 

I used to envy these people, thinking that they were a lucky minority. I used to think that they led charmed lives, full of opportunities seldom afforded to people like me. I thought it would be great to have things so easy.

As I have grown older, however, I have completely changed my view. You see, those of us who have experienced serious problems – whether it be physical abuse, poverty, the loss of a parent or the loss of a child – know what the lows of life are like, and consequently are able to appreciate the highs that much more.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that the hardships we go through shape who we are and if we survive the trials we face, we come out the other end as a stronger, tougher and perhaps more interesting person. 

I’ve met people who think they’re subversive because they turned down the offer of private schooling to mix with the masses – who wants to be that person? Who wants to be a part of the Waltons when the Simpsons are far more fun? 

Yes, it screws you up and yes, you have to try harder in almost everything you do but like I’ve said before, pain just lets us know we’re alive and I’d rather that than live life on a happy but uneventful plateau.

7 thoughts on “What doesn’t kill us is making us stronger”

  1. That’s an inspirational and uplifting way of looking at it. I still sometimes wish that all the stuff that happened to me hadn’t happened. But now it has, the only way is forward.

  2. I’ve been very fortunate to date (ok, not quite private school fortunate). Your outlook on life is pretty much what you make it, your days should be cherished either way. I say, love the highs, not because of the lows but despite them!

    Great post, it’s nice to read more from you more often.

  3. i believe people are better and more equipped to face the world beyond the comfort zone if they are made of stories of struggles and difficulties. i feel lucky and blessed to belong to a complete and relatively well-off family but seated beside a colleague who’s been thru a lot, i feel like i haven’t really been thru life.

    that’s just what i think. josh is right, your outlook on life is pretty much what you make it, but you really can’t make much out of anything that’s already there laid out in front of you.

  4. Great thought ma’am; you’ve touched upon a universal truth. But when you say ‘if we survive the trials we face’, you mean a lot. Few people can pass the tests that adversity takes or resist the temptations that the dark world advances. Most people succumb to situations; only a very few surmount every obstacle with patience and perseverance. They LIVE, as you said; not simply take breath.
    Kamal, Delhi, India

  5. As someone who’s suffered from serious mental illness, I can stay that sometimes I’d like to go back to a time when I was more normal and sometimes the old adage (“What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”) isn’t completely true.

    I agree though, that when something good happens I cherish it all the more, only because these occurances happen so rarely to me nowadays.

    Whether I’d like a life free of hardship or the one I’ve got now, it’s hard to say but as someone’s yet to invent a time machine, I accept what I have and carry on..

  6. Thank you all for your thoughtful and touching responses.

    I think the adversities we face can (and often do) have far-reaching consequences but, while it may be easier said than done, operating a ‘no regrets’ policy always helps.

    I happen to believe that things happen for a reason. For those who believe that things happen randomly and that when something crap happens, it just means that something crap has happened, I hope they find the strength to get through the crap, accept and learn to like who they are and understand that eveything they experience adds something to their character.

    Right, I think that’s enough philosophy for one night…

  7. I think you are probably right but it doesn’t feel like it when you’re going through the lowest of the lows, though. And it’s hard to imagine what someone could say to make it better.


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