The many blessings that come from hardship


"When I stand before thee at the day's end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing." - Rabindranath Tagore 


I work often with young adults - in their 20's and 30's - who are for the very first time, going after their dreams.  I enjoy guiding and advising them so much.  There is the part of me that of course asks 'can I be helpful to them?' but then I realize how often I am.

What all of them have in common is that they are in their initial stages of character building.  Yes, some initial building was done in childhood and adolescence, but as in most abilities, this one starts to mature as well in the 20's and 30's. 

So many of us have either skipped over these potential 'learning opportunities' or have lived so 'safely' they've been able to avoid hardship.

I think of Courtney Martin, who wrote one of my favorite books on The New Better Off reality we are living in.  Her hardship - today's economy, for example - is teaching her to become creative in living and working in ways that work for her life, regardless of outside pressures.  Or her own internal ones.  That to me is character.  And she has succeeded hardship and all, by not giving up or giving in: how to get along in today's fiercely competitive marketplace where there is downward pressure on wages and increasing costs and income inequality.

Character building is a universal skill, no matter what your hardship.  And character building never stops.  If you are paying attention to it.

So there is truth to the phrase: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!  Therein lies the rub!