All people have struggles, obstacles, and difficulties in life, it’s what makes us human. How we overcome those struggles is what makes us who we are and it is how we are measured by others.
I don’t have regrets…none. I have faced many challenges in my life, however, I would not wish a single one away. They create growth, character, endurance. They have made me who I am today.
I would bet that someone might say,
“Well yeah, your challenges or difficulties aren’t like mine. You haven’t endured what I have endured. You can’t say you would not have regret had your life to this point not been so easy or if you had gone through what I have gone through…or going through right now.”
How is it that one person can endure the greatest of life’s challenges and still cross the finish line triumphant, while another, under the same or similar circumstances crumbles under the weight and gives up?
I would argue that it is your mindset, your resolve, and from where you draw your strength.
Let’s take Dave Pelzer for example, the author of A Child Called “It”. If you have not read this book before or any of the novels that follow, I highly encourage it. Here is a man who went through the most extreme of abuses for years of his life, treated like an animal, and he is now a well known author, making us aware of the abuse many children may face every day so that we are able to take notice and hopefully save them from their circumstance. He is bringing awareness to others to save the lives of other children. Wow, this man persevered! Put someone else in his shoes and they may have given up on life, turned to crime, committed suicide, committed homicide, and the list goes on. What made him different, what allowed him to persevere?
Another example; sexual abuse or rape. This happens more often and to more people than you can probably image or that you will ever know. Many remain silent most or all of their lives after this happens. Some, on the other hand, are able to obtain justice for the crime. The offender does jail time, has to register as a sex offender keeping them from finding a suitable job, worried about if the place they want to live is close to a school, serve a life sentence where other inmates do not look too kindly to an individual who has abused women or children.
The victim of the crime may join or start a support group in his or her area, bring awareness to the problem, encourage other victims to speak up. They might do speeches in front of schools or do a Ted Talk. Maybe, they will not allow themselves to remain a victim. If they can get justice, help others to speak out, and bring awareness that could save even one other person, then they did not suffer for no reason.
I have certainly had my own obstacles in life, none of which were as extreme as the above examples, although people I am extremely close to did endure them. I have endured divorce, however. Not as extreme but an obstacle none the less. I felt ashamed, defeated. What was so bad about me that I could not be loved enough to remain in a marriage?
Two weeks after our separation I met the woman I call my wife to this day. I have had three children with her and I love her and them all with all my heart, and I know that I am loved by them.
What if I wished away my divorce? What if I wished that I had not met my first wife? What if I had given up on life thinking I could never find someone that could love me again?
I would never have met the wife I have today. I lived in Washington State. I would never have joined the military, which was necessary for me to support my first wife. I would not have been stationed in South Dakota, where I met my current wife. I would not have had my children, or maybe I would not have become a teacher. I might not even be writing this blog right now.
I am not saying that a person does not have a right to feel they way they do about what they have gone through, but what are you doing about it? Are you letting the abuser or attacker win? Are you using the difficulty to make yourself a stronger person? Are you helping others as a result of what you have experienced? If you persevere, if you grow, encourage others, help, claw your way through the muck of your life and climb out,
You will be victorious!
Your pain will mean something. Life did not defeat you! Justice will prevail and you will be triumphant!
The movie character, Rocky, says it best when he says,
You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!
So when life knocks you down, get up! Confront it! Do all you can to endure and survive!
Never look at your current life circumstance and feel that there is no way out. There is a way out. It may take time, a long time, but you can survive. Look back on it after you have gone through it and see it as a challenge that has made you stronger and more resilient. Show others your strength by getting up again and persevering. You will be an inspiration and a model to all others who see you overcome and triumph.