I keep thinking about strength and endurance. The song currently stuck in my head is What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. It’s a pretty empowering song, with a good beat (and you can dance to it).
Gaining wisdom and strength through adversity is all well and good, but it doesn’t have to be the only way we do it. I know people who purposely seek out difficult situations in the backward desire to prove their strength. If you’re doing this as a marathon runner, that’s awesome. But if you’re constantly putting yourself in the path of hostile or sick people just to prove your strength of character, you’re going about it the wrong way.
A friend of mine had a very abusive father. He would always berate her, call her names, tell her she was worthless. Occasionally, he would physical hit her. And when asked, he always offered the same reasoning for his behavior – he was hoping she would “grow a spine,” fight him, and gain strength from the experience.
What a crock!
Sometimes, what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. What doesn’t kill you eats away at your core ability to trust yourself, saps your strength, and reduces your life to an ambulatory coma with no energy left for growth and exploration.
We all face adversity from time to time, and most of us have some serious scar tissue to show from it. But there are easier ways to gain strength: by standing up for yourself, by speaking out for others, by living your truth quietly and persistently. You don’t need a war to become a warrior, just a warrior’s soul and determination.
I hope that whatever adversity you face today makes you stronger instead of weaker. I hope that you find opportunities to strengthen yourself through love, compassion, and curiosity.
And I hope that you have a fantastic weekend and (in the U.S.) Labor Day holiday.