The ups and downs of life form part of the experiences that influence, shape and guide us. Challenges and disappointments — even the ones that set us adrift or scrambling for stable ground — can gift us the ability to learn and grow. What tests us the most often develops resiliency, strength and problem-solving skills that help us navigate our future.
Some of the most significant lessons we’re taught come from our struggles and hardships. And while this wisdom and grounding won’t offset the physical or mental difficulties that we need to work through to steady ourselves; they can provide fortification and creative solutions that come into use the next time we face something heavy.
Experiencing adversity undeniably shifts how we relate to ourselves and the people/situations around us; crises, setbacks and heartache change our perspectives and emotions. What weighs on us can feel burdensome or begin to strain our well-being — even when we’re on our way to discovering better times ahead (which will come, with time).
While developments like this can be tough to handle, many of these experiences end up bolstering us. We transform in a number of ways — sometimes because of subtle, almost undetectable adjustments that quietly begin working inside us before we’ve caught up and realized how beneficial they are. Through trials and tribulations, our emotional intelligence improves, we nurture lateral thinking that identifies creative solutions and we reinforce our compassion (especially for those enduring something similar). All of these represent strengths that end up encouraging us to heal.
This poem is for anyone who is questioning the value and insight that current hardships bring; there is a path forward no matter how murky or tough it seems. I’m not saying any of us should blindly hold on to positivity or that overcoming something will be quick and easy. It is, however, a heartfelt reminder that we can — and will — persevere. As André Malraux once declared, “You did not return from hell with empty hands.”
What challenges have you overcome; how have they changed you?
This is part of my M.T.N Poetry collection; please tag my Instagram and/or link to my Poetry Page if you share this on social media + do not edit my work or remove my name/website. If you wish to use my poetry in any other way, please contact me for permission.
It takes courage to ask for help; if you need further support, know that you are valued, loved and not alone:
NAMI Helpline – a free, nationwide U.S. resource that offers experienced peer-support guidance and advice
CheckPoint – global (by country) resources for mental health support