Recently, I was told that I didn’t know what real hardship was by someone who liked to pick fights on social media to pass the time. Not taking into account my own background and history, I thought it was incredibly tactless to assume that any human being has not felt pain, helplessness or hardship at least once in his or her life.
As I read this comment on my computer screen, my single mother was looking for a second job, I was working anywhere from 35-40 hours a week while juggling being a full-time student, and we were both trying to find a way to get my 6-year-old brother to and from school without it interfering with our work.
With that on my mind, all I remember thinking was, Wow, I wish I didn’t know what real hardship was. But it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be the strong, ambitious, steadfast and goal-oriented woman I am today without my struggles. The struggles I’ve overcome are exactly the reason why I can handle everything that’s thrown my way these days, and I’ve learned not to be ashamed of them.
I know that as you read this, you’re thinking of the obstacles you’ve had to barrel through too, and that as you read this you’re wondering just how different you would have been without those obstacles. Let me help you figure that out. Here are a few reasons why your struggles are actually your crowning glory:
Being pushed down is the only way you can learn how to get back up.
Navigating life would be impossible if you didn’t know how to get up and brush off your failures. If you never faced a hardship you had to fight to overcome, you would have no idea how to handle any of the problems life hurdled at you. Many moments in life are undeniably an uphill battle, but viewing your struggles as your fuel instead of your roadblocks helps you build momentum.
Your struggles give you a chance to see who is really there for you.
Though learning how to fight your demons is something we all need to learn, we should also remember that we never have to do that alone. When life gets particularly hard and all you want to do is crawl into the deepest corner of your bed and weep in the dark (maybe with some ice cream), the people who come to your rescue are the ones you know will be there by your side no matter what. Your struggles are the absolute best at weeding the irrelevant people out of your life.
Remembering the difficult times makes it much easier to appreciate the little things.
Living through your darkest times makes even the smallest sliver of light seem like a beacon of hope and happiness. The hardships make it easy to appreciate a beautiful day, a nice compliment, a smile from a stranger, a thoughtful gesture and so much more. Your struggles will start to teach you that kindness is often taken for granted and should be fully appreciated.
When you finally have a moment of victory, everything before makes it seem so worth it.
There is never a final victory or final failure in life. You will constantly triumph but you will also constantly fall flat on your face. But when you do have those many moments of accomplishment and acknowledgment, you start to realize that all the energy that went into fighting, pushing and downright surviving these struggles meant something—it was worth something. My all-time favorite quote is, “Perfer et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim.” Translated from Latin, it means, “Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.” When you have your moment of victory, you’ll know this was right.
Who’s to say that my cyber nuisance hasn’t gone through hardships worse than mine? Maybe he has, but life isn’t a game of who has it worse—who wants to win that game anyway? What matters most is what we’ve learned and taken away from those hardships.
And don’t forget, Broncos, you aren’t alone with your struggles. For counseling services, please visit the Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) at the Health and Wellness Center (Bldg. 46) or at the Bronco Bookstore (Bldg. 66-116). For more information regarding counseling sessions, hotlines and resources, please visit the SHCS website here.