By Jennifer Richardson
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
We have all heard these words before, but they are usually accompanied by the hollow tone of unspoken hurt as we attempt to make sense of something that defies our ability to understand.
There are times we simply do not know how we will find a way to make it through. If you have lived a life free of these moments, you are blessed.
Most of us have faced very difficult times in life. Broken relationships, the demoralizing feeling of failure, the slow pain of the person that cannot find a direction in life, or the betrayal of a close friend.
Perhaps the departure of the one that was meant to stand beside us for life, watching someone lose their battle with illness, or the wrenching heartbreak of loss of a child; these are moments that drain our courage and test our strength.
Buried in the stress of the situation, we can find ourselves holding on to the unstable emotional fuel of the fight against what is happening. The harder we battle the weaker we feel because focusing solely on issues beyond our control only proves how powerless we can be.
This leaves us battered, wounded and weary at a time when we most need to connect with sources of sustainable joy and peace.
Responding to hurt with hurt, or bitterness with bitterness–only floods our own life with harmful emotion and energy and allows the poison of bitterness the chance to soak into the vulnerable places in our minds and take root.
So much of our energy is given to the battle against our own despair; this grim fight takes what little we have left.
But we don’t have to pursue strength; in fact it wastes precious emotional reserves to desperately run toward anything that we think will help us stop feeling the damage. The elusive strength cannot be chased; grace was always near us, but we can only absorb it as we stop fighting and allow it in.
There is real serenity when we accept that our circumstances don’t have to dictate who we will be. It’s not powerful to return ugly for ugly. Strength is remaining steadfast in who we should be despite the circumstances. Even greater strength is reflecting beauty back in the face of pain.
The things that don’t kill you don’t make you stronger; in fact they make life incredibly difficult. And some of these things will forever shape who we are.
But if we allow it, they offer life lessons and wisdom that is virtually unknowable any other way. They teach us that almost everything is peripheral to the central issues of life; loving others and being loved in the purest form. As long as we love and are loved, we will be filled with enough strength to meet each day as it comes.
Life is short. Spend your valuable and limited time nurturing real love for others and yourself. This naturally turns your life toward what is good which truly heals the heart and mind.
Out of this cultivated love comes true vision and strength, and life’s challenges take their rightful place as simply the backdrop against which our inner peace shines brightly.