Lessons We Learn…. About Tough Times

Most people have had a time in their lives when they feel like they are pushing boulders up a steep hill.  You may have felt like the boulder was going to roll right back down and over the top of you as you kept pushing forward.  From behind that big rock, you could not see the top of the hill no matter how hard you tried.  But, chances are you kept pushing:   Sweating and grunting, crying and cursing, discouraged and disheartened.  It is easy during times like this to think, “Why me?”

It’s also easy, at times when you feel like you are struggling most, to look around at others and think that they are so lucky.  Nothing bad or difficult ever happens to them.  You consider the friend who you think leads a charmed life and grumble.  Or, you make yourself the center of the difficult situation when it’s possibly affecting another person even more than it’s affecting you.

“I’ve learned that sometimes life hands you situations when all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and live moment to moment.”

Maybe the better question to ask in difficult times is, “Why not me?”  What exempts me from going through tough times?  Why should I think that I don’t deserve some difficult situations?

Several years ago, I went through some very difficult things; things that I could never have imagined for myself.  While I am not at liberty to share all of the details of my challenges with you (out of respect for the privacy of others involved), I can share with you some of the effects that it had on me and how I grew and changed from the experience.

It was a situation that at its start struck great fear in me; a long series of moments that literally took my breath away.  There was confusion and anxiety mixed in with uncertainty and disbelief.  It was a situation that caused just about every negative emotion that one can have to surface at one time or another; one of those I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me events.  There was a long period of time where it felt like the boulders were going to roll back down and crush me.

At first, the only thing I could do, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, was to focus on the love that I had for the others involved.  I had to keep reminding myself and the others of the love that was there despite the circumstances.

And then we had to just keep moving forward.  It meant figuring out the next step that needed to be taken and then taking it.  It required a belief that we would get through the situation and come out the other side.

And from the other side, I can look back and see how much I have been positively changed by those tough times.  I have learned and grown and gained new perspectives that I would not have gained if I had not had these experiences.  Not only has my life been positively altered, the lives of the others involved have also been changed for the good.

“I’ve learned that good or bad, most things don’t last very long.”

I know that during the difficult times it felt like an eternity but now I think, was it really that long?  And as my life moves on, further and further away from the situation, when I look back it will appear as only a blip in my lifetime.

I certainly would not have chosen to go through this particular situation but in many ways I am now glad for the challenges that it presented and the changes that came through those challenges.  I’m glad for the person that I have become because of this tough situation.  Getting that boulder to the top of the hill has built-up a strength in me that I did not realize I had before and I know it will serve me well in the future.

Facing a tough situation is generally not something most of us would choose for ourselves but they can be opportunities for us to challenge the limits of who we think we are.  A chance for us to learn something that blows away a previously held belief or gain a new perspective into a reality unknown to us but very real to others.

Tough times can make your heart cry even if your face is smiling.  So if you are tempted in your tough times to look at others as the ‘lucky ones’, take pause.  You don’t know what might be going on under the surface of their smiling disposition.

Why not me?  I think it is in going through tough times that we realize the meaning of what Ralph Waldo Emerson meant when he said, “What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

On the journey with you…….Kathy

(Quote:  Age 66 and 32- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

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