One of my favorite quotes, written by Elizabeth Gilbert, is “[T]he women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.”
This quote encompasses some facts of life that I fear many have forgotten or maybe even never believed to be true. Social media helps promote the fallacy that individuals become successful, whatever success means for you, by things effortlessly working out. The highlight reels we consume daily of other people’s lives propagate the idea that others rose to the top due to luck. That the people who seemingly “have it all” have it because things merely worked out. What we fail to discuss is the hard work, the tears, the regressions, the failures, the heartbreaks, doubts, confusion, and “no’s” that came before things “effortlessly worked out.”
While it is true that we’re all born into this world with different privileges, that we all start from different places, and have different advantages and disadvantages along the way, I can confidently tell you that the diamonds of our species did not become shiny from sitting around while others polished them.
The, in my opinion, best people; the ones who are admirable and worth learning from are the ones who have been through the hardest things life could throw at them and made it to the other side. They’re the people who have repeatedly been told no but kept going anyway. They’re the people that started from the bottom and fought their way to the top. They’re the people who lost it all but somehow got it back. They’re the people that jumped when they couldn’t see where they’d land.
Through continually putting themselves through the hard stuff and/or having the hard stuff imposed on them and nevertheless coming out the other side, these warriors became sure of their ability to figure it out.
Like a muscle, the tearing and repairing makes you stronger. You’re better equipped to deal with crisis should it arise. You become more comfortable with discomfort. Your threshold runs deeper. In the bending and breaking you learn things about yourself and the universe that you would never learn if things were constantly comfortable.
Your obstacles build a confidence and assurance in yourself. They are opportunities to learn, grow, and experience more. To get to know yourself and this world more intimately. While in the moment we may wish we did not have to go through the hard stuff, the hard stuff is what makes us strong. It doesn’t mean you won’t falter, but it does mean that when it comes down to it-when it matters, your inner strength will be there. Because after everything you’ve been through you know two things: 1. Only you can decide what breaks you and 2. You may fall, you may stay down for a little and you’ll always get up.
Stop running from your obstacles. Accept them for what they are and become familiar with your inner strength and the fact that no matter what, you can handle it.