The Most Important Thing to Remember When Life Is Hard

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I hate to admit this, I really do, but here it is:  I’ve learned more in states of adversity than I’ve learned in times of smooth sailing.  Yes, when my life is really hard, I often learned the most.

Why do I hate to admit this? Because I’m human.  I like smooth sailing. I love it when I feel like I’m on top of the world and things just keep getting better and better.

Adversity is hard.  It challenges you to think in excruciatingly different ways.  It doesn’t gently take your hand and guide you out of your comfort zone one small step at a time. No, it drags you … sometimes throws you … often way, way out beyond where you ever imagined going.

Adversity can bring loss … confusion … irritation … aggravation … frustration … and even deep sadness or a sense of despair.

Adversity introduces you to challenges that at best seem unfair and at worst makes it seem like the universe is playing out some vendetta on you, yet you have no idea why. After all, you played by the rules. You worked hard. You did your best. So what is this fresh mess that you’ve been thrown into?

When Life Is Really Hard, There Is an Inherent Call to Rise to Your Highest Self

Here’s the thing: when times are easy, you have no urgent reason to grow. Adversity requires it.   Relaxing back into a well-rehearsed routine never inspires you to achieve breakthrough results. Adversity commands it.

Like everyone else, I’ve had my fair share of adversity in many areas of my life, including jobs, relationships, health, finances, and more.  I’ve watched as a whole host of episodes of intense pain in its many gloriously horrid ways of expression played out in my life.  I’ll be honest: I would not choose to go through some of that stuff ever again.

At first, adversity knocks you down to your knees. Sometimes you stay down for a while, but with persistence and faith, you get back up again.   Moreover, you often get to walk out taller than when you went in.   In my life, even in times of great loss, there was always something gained.

I read a great post from Michael Hyatt where he talked about a question that “changes everything.” The question he said to ask when something negative happens is this: “What Does this Make Possible?    Great question, don’t you think?

It’s up to you how you’re going to view adversity.   Will you wallow in “Why me?” or will you ask the questions that can elevate the situation from a time of suffering to a time of expansion … questions such as:

  • What good might come from this?

  • How can I help another better because of this?

  • What can I do better now because of this?

  • What are the ways in which this situation could be a blessing?

Truth be told, I’m still not calling out,  “Hey universe, throw some adversity my way ’cause I haven’t had enough of that good stuff today.”   I know it will show up when it is supposed to arrive.    So, while I’m not about to call adversity my new BFF, I’m grateful for what it has ultimately brought me in my life.   It’s that fact that helps me know that when it does arrive, I can and will look at it for the opportunities it offers.

Question: Have you ever emerged from adversity stronger or better off than you were before?  Share your story in the comments below.

Inspirational Quotes on Adversity …

  • If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn. ~ Bernie Siegel

  • Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~ Arthur Golden

  • Strong people are made by opposition, like kites that go up against the wind. ~ Frank Harris

  • There is nothing the body suffers which the soul may not profit by. ~ George Meredith

  • Life begins on the other side of despair. ~ Jean-Paul Sarte

  • When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~ Henry Ford

  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth. ~ Susan Taylor

  • Necessity makes even the timid brave. ~ Sallust

  • The gift of grace increases as the struggles increase. ~ Saint Rose of Lima

  • There is no education like adversity. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

  • Never to suffer would have been never to have been blessed. ~Edgar Allen Poe

  • Sweet are the uses of adversity. ~ William Shakespeare

4 thoughts on “The Most Important Thing to Remember When Life Is Hard”

  1. i want to say some positive things but i feel so beaten down on a daily basis it is just a relief to go to sleep at night and forget about how hard things are. I have a profoundly disabled spouse that i care for part of every day- it is so hard to see light when one major difficulty will be settled and it seems a new and even more difficult problem arises-often in the same day. The only thing that is positive is the caring and sweetness of the carers in his life. I ask God why it has to be this hard. I don’t feel i have grown- i have just aged and become angry and weary.

    • Mary – I hope you’re reaching out (to friends, family, or perhaps a therapist or spiritual guide) and getting the help you need to handle all the “hard” that keeps showing up in your life. It certainly sounds like your path is rocky, and we all need help. Don’t deny yourself the gift of help from others. Also, don’t underestimate the gift of self-care. You can’t pour from an empty vessel. Finally, if you do nothing else, start increasing the time you spend reading material that help you with your troubles. I’ve created a list of the 21 best books to read when life is hard. . If one of those speak to you, heed the call. I also recommend anything by Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay, as those are my go-to authors of choice when I find life feels too difficult. Finally, if you’re just too exhausted to read, there are many inspirational videos on YouTube that might offer help ( by the authors of the books I mentioned on my list, and from others who have travelled the path you’re travelling now). Be gentle with yourself along your tough journey, Sending love. -J. Marie

  2. Makes me think of the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that goes something like, “we are a lot like a teabag…we don’t really know our strength until we are in hot water.” xo


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