Can hardships make you a stronger or better person? Should you embrace hardships or avoid them as much as possible?
Adversity causes some folks to become better while others develop a bit of bitterness. The response changes from one person to the next. It’s a bit difficult to tell where some of the world’s most successful people would be if they hadn’t faced hardships.
Does everybody need hardships to become stronger?
Scientists and psychologists have conducted various studies to determine the impact of adversity on people’s lives. This topic of discussion is interesting on many levels. For example, it helps us learn why some people wilt under intense pressure in their lives. It gives us an insight impact of adversity in one’s life too.
Globally, some people grow in poverty, which is a form of hardship. Interestingly, they continue in hardship (read poverty) even in their adulthood. In that case, how has the hardship made them stronger or better?
You would expect such people to then help their families out of poverty and live differently from the way they did as children.
Additionally, some sports people face hardships in the form of career-threatening injuries. A significant number of them then recover and become better – probably buoyed by the chance to play or compete again. However, others never attain the levels they were in prior to the injury.
These examples show us that some people become better from hardships while others don’t.
Hardships strengthen coping mechanisms
Hardships sharpen your coping mechanisms. They make you more adept at handling similar hardships – or worse ones – should they arise.
Without these hardships, you probably wouldn’t know what to do in case you faced adversity. People who have never faced adversities often develop a poor ability to cope.
Hardships give you the experience to handle anything that happens in your life.
The adversity helps you to think optimally. They enable you to build the resilience needed to go through the severest situations without losing your mind. How you respond to the challenges depends on your perception of everything that happens. You could decide to take an optimistic approach and determine never to allow anything else to put you down.
Alternatively, you may say that such a life is not for you and decide to keep to yourself.
Hardships make you excellent encouragers
People who have faced hardships are able to encourage and inspire others who find themselves in similar situations.
The biggest encouragers are people who have been in the doldrums or down in the pit struggling to breathe. Such individuals are able to attract the respect of others, especially if they made better decisions and choices afterward.
What does religion say about hardships?
“Trials of the world are all heaven’s pearls” is an often used Christian sentence to comfort the suffering, meaning that there is reverse relation between the sufferings in this life and in the afterlife. From the Philokalia:
“Humility and ascetic hardship free a man from all sin, for the one cuts out the passions of the soul, the other those of the body. It is for this reason that the Lord says: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ (Matt. 5:8).
Buddha taught many ways to overcome hardships from the idea that suffering is a basic fact of life. To end suffering he suggested his followers to live by the rules of the eight-fold path.