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How The Hardships Of Life Shape You For The Better.

December 14th, 2023

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SUMMARY / KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • It can often seem like quite a privileged and hand-waving response for someone to tell you that hardships make you stronger and better in life.
  • For the most part, you didn’t ask for the challenges you’re going through, nor do you deserve them.
  • It’s very easy to take the “long term, you’ll be better” view when you’re not going through the difficulties of daily life. 

It can often seem like quite a privileged and hand-waving response for someone to tell you that hardships make you stronger and better in life. For the most part, you didn’t ask for the challenges you’re going through, nor do you deserve them. 

It’s very easy to take the “long term, you’ll be better” view when you’re not going through the difficulties of daily life. A medical condition, grief, bad news, stringent financial issues, and many more challenges can threaten to take our happiness, our motivation, and even our sense of who we are.

However, the uncomfortable truth is that hardships do shape you, and you get to decide how for the most part. Sometimes, becoming bitter, tired and very unhappy are absolutely understandable through and through, but it pays to try to avoid that not only to improve your own quality of life, but for the people around you. 

That’s not to say you can’t have tough moments, nor be vulnerable, nor even complain. Yet you do have more power than you realize over how you interpret and let difficulties change you.

In this hopeful guide, we hope to inspire you to make that positive change. Let’s consider how:

Empathy & Care Is Key.

Those who go through hardships tend to become more grounded individuals. When you understand the difficulties that are possible, you tend to be more supportive of others, less quick to judge them, and more interested in building people up as opposed to tearing them down.

That’s not to say you were out to “get people” before, but like anyone, it’s easy to be hasty in how we regard others, or ignorant of the troubles they’re facing. When you realize that anyone you walk past on the street is going through their own troubles, you tend to become much more empathetic.

This can round you off as a person more readily. The truth is that everyone has to learn this kind of reprieve, even if it comes through hardship. You’ll find yourself more mature, less entitled, and more grateful for the positivity around you. 

You also become more sensitive about the issues people go through. Perhaps this can even fuel itself into more direct action, such as trying to work on or support causes you care about, like disability awareness or fundraising.

You Value Other People Much More.

There’s nothing quite like hardship to remind you that no person is an island. In our culture, we tend to value the idea of the “lone wolf,” a cool, independent person able to do what they want on their own terms and not ask permission from anyone. This has also been popularized by the media we consume, such as the movies we watch.

But in reality, lone wolves that veer away from the pack tend to die alone. It’s much harder to survive in difficult conditions without some kind of community around you. Moreover, doing everything on your own isn’t necessarily “smarter” than contributing to a larger group, and helping more people that way. 

It’s easy to learn this through hardship, because like it or not, we may have to rely on another. That might be as simple as relying on a doctor, or connecting with a community to help us through VA rehab. The more you open yourself to others, the more they do for you, and the more connected you become.

You Learn To Manage Your Energy & Health Needs.

Living with a health condition or personal setback can be tough, but it calls you to manage yourself with much more gusto than you may have done before. But what does that mean in practice? Well, it may mean limiting your vices such as alcohol intake. It may mean really investing into your sleep regimen, and not being afraid to turn down superfluous social events if they’re not right for you.

It’s also about respecting yourself with good choices, such as keeping up with your exercise, taking medication, or making it through your bad days with dignity. In other words, you become much better at managing yourself as a living person, instead of just assuming you can recover from anything, as we usually do in youth. Sure, seeing our sense of invulnerability fall away can be painful and many struggle with this as they get older, but it’s unquestionably a healthier perspective to have.

Put Simply: You Become Much Tougher.

But how is this “toughness” represented? Well, you begin to realize that despite your bad days, you’ve made it through every single one of them. You implement coping strategies and become much more able to withstand the rigors. 

That might involve chronic pain, medication management, or dealing with therapy to address difficult memories and experiences. Sometimes, a combination of many of them.

But as time goes on, these tough experiences weather you, and not necessarily for the worst. They can help you become more robust, and more attentive to your needs. They give you the clarity of mind to prioritize what matters, such as your health. They make you center your own experience more, which can help you avoid becoming so compliant and learn when to say “no.” You also become more satisfied with who you are, because you’ve proven that you can withstand real personal hardships.

This toughness can also soften you, because you become much more able to relate to others who have gone through similar experiences. 

Most of all, your opinion has weight, be that contributing to a local support group about a particular condition you face. Nothing can grant that authority quite like experience. If “toughness” doesn’t sound like the best term, then you might consider: adaptable, resilient, and robust. All of those virtues apply.

You Never Take Comfort & Positivity For Granted.

Being immersed in the hardships of life gives you newfound respect and appreciation for the good days. It’s important to note that even if you’re having a tough time, there are still good days ahead. There are also things to appreciate, people to connect to, and experiences worth enjoying. It might be as simple as the smell of freshly cut grass, up to having a heart-to-heart with a loved one.

When you’ve undergone hardship, it’s easier to avoid taking those positives for granted. You become much more grateful for them, and can accept that they’ll come again even when they’re not here. For this reason, those who have undergone hardship can find themselves becoming less impulsive and dismissive of the smaller things, because we know just how valuable they are.

We also learn not to feel guilty for enjoying comfort, or taking a break, or pacing ourselves. In many cases, learning how to do that is necessary for our longer-term well-being. Note that you don’t have to have everything go right in life for you to live well, you just need to know where to look for the good.

You Gain Perspective.

Gathering gratitude, strength, resilience and focus is certainly a matter of gaining new perspective and becoming a new person. But it goes deeper than that. When you go through hardship, you become to take something of an impartial view of it, and you also begin counting your blessings.

For example, if you deal with a health condition, you might be grateful that you don’t have to deal with a more difficult alternative. If you’re struggling with money, you might be happy that at least you have a roof over your head for the time being, and family you can fall back on if you need to live somewhere for a little while to get back on your feet.

Perspective also means you avoid catastrophizing when smaller issues go wrong, because you know what real difficulties are like and how to mend them. It might seem as though this is a hard-won and difficult perspective to gain, and it can be, but for the most part it just helps you accept the ups and downs of life more easily. It also shows that no matter what, there’s always a healthy step forward to take, and it’s important to search for it.

You Become A More Complete Person.

It’s true to say, even if it can be hard to understand, that difficulty and hardship completes you as a person. That’s not to say someone HAS to go through the difficulties you have, nor that they even deserve to in order to be better. That would be harsh, unkind, and quite a terse point to make.

That being said, the only way someone can reach full maturity is to hold themselves with dignity in times of good and bad. We can only understand what we mean by happiness if we know what sadness means, and this is often balanced. As the famous saying goes – grief is the price people pay for love, and it shows that the connection meant something to you.

So, while your challenges may be unfair, may be unwanted, and may be difficult, you can look with pride to note that your experiences have helped you realize your fullest self. It may be cold comfort, but it certainly helps you realize that you’re more you than you would be if you only ever had good days, and you understand more about life, too. In fact, many people suggest that they regret nothing, because the hardships have at the very most made them the person they are today.

With this insight, you’re certain to see how the hardships of life have shaped you for the better.

Please cite as:
Ontology of Value (December 14th, 2023). How The Hardships Of Life Shape You For The Better. Retrieved from: https://ontologyofvalue.com/how-the-hardships-of-life-shape-you-for-the-better/

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