Utilizing the power of chocolate at the most opportune moments in life.
Taken at key times it can unlock a power within us
To take on and seize almost any moment
Of any day.

Monday, February 9, 2015

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You . . .

I must say that I use to end this statement with "Stronger" but a new perspective on this has emerged for me.  The common perspective I am challenging is how the lack of major trials and extreme struggles in one's life results in a weak more shallow individual with less to offer.  This sentiment is often expressed through quotes such as these:  
    "Challenges make you more responsible.  Always remember that life without struggle is a life without success.  Don't give up and learn not to quit."  

    "Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." 

Invariably no one lives a life without any struggle, discomfort or pain.  However, does having an abundance of the most difficult challenges and hardships make us better or even stronger people?  

I believe that overcoming challenges and struggles in life can help you to progress. As we put forth effort and seek after opportunities for self-improvement (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) and work through our challenges we can gain life experience and can become more responsible.  I believe that our life experiences, especially the connections we make with other people, are what makes life interesting and meaningful. 

I have had an abundance of major life trials and extreme struggles. Many, many people have had much more than I have had, but many many people have had significantly less.  I do not believe that it makes me any more or less strong than either group of people. In fact, as the long list of my own trials and struggles unfolds in my mind I acknowledge that they have resulted in significant changes in my perceptions and how I carry on in life, but they have not necessarily made me stronger.  

Consider this popular quote regularly shared on Facebook:
    "Sometimes the strongest among us are the ones who smile through silent pain, cry behind closed doors, and fight battles nobody knows about."

When I first read this quote I connected with it at one level but mostly it saddened me. Does smiling when your hurting make you a stronger person?  Should we strive to not cry in front of others and refrain from telling anyone about our struggles?  Does that make you a stronger person?  

When I have faced some of my most difficult life experiences alone, those are the ones that have impacted me in the most negative ways.  However, when I have had the support from family and friends, and most importantly have turned to my Father in Heaven for help, I have been given the strength that I needed to endure through those difficult times. 

Consider this quote:
"Challenges will come to you, but as you trust in God they will strengthen your faith"  Elder Neil A. Anderson, Quarum of the Twelve Apostles

That truth has certainly been proven in my life. When I put forth the effort by having faith in God, seeking after, and trusting in Him, I have received from Him the strength that I needed to endure through those experiences.  I am grateful for the Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His atonement.  He has suffered all things that He may know each of our experiences and know exactly how to succor us. The strength that we need to endure to the end comes through Him.