We all say we want a stress-free life. However, a life without stress would be meaningless. Living in a utopian world would eventually cause people to realize that maybe things are a little too perfect. In the Barbie movie, Barbie realizes she can’t live in paradise forever. In the Bible, Eve has to bite into the Forbidden Fruit to know the truth of the world. While hardships can be wildly unpleasant at times, they’re part of the human experience. The lows of life allow us to appreciate the highs of life. In this article, we’re going to share some of the lessons that having hardships teaches us about life. So, if you’re going through a tough time, these are the lessons you can use to frame how you pick yourself back up.
What Having Hardships Teaches Us About Life
1. You can overcome anything
Remember the last time you hit rock bottom? You didn’t think you had it in you to survive that but you did. And no matter how chaotic and stressful this moment is for you, you’ll claw and climb your way out of this too. Every problem is solvable and every obstacle is climbable. Your grit and perseverance will get you through anything in life. Think about your situation from a different lens, and ask yourself, “What can I do today to make tomorrow a bit better?” It’s not about hoping tomorrow will be a great day. It probably won’t be if you’re going through something terrible. It’s about slowly chipping away and working towards a different storyline in your life journey. You’re not a quitter, you know. You want to be one, but it’s not in your nature. You’ll overcome this monstrosity of a situation.
2. How to build a better life
In every stressful situation as the tension builds up, there’s always a moment of clarity. It’s the epiphany that you realize that helps you bust out of having hardships in life. When the light at the end of the tunnel guides you with that amazing thought, you’ll now know how to build a better life for yourself. The mistakes you made in the past weren’t good calls. But let’s be honest, lessons are only learned in hindsight. You need to rethink your life so you don’t end up here again. How can you build a better life for yourself with all the lessons you’ve learned up to now. Focus on developing new habits like daily kindness, respectful interactions, guided meditation, and surrounding yourself with better people. Doing those things will help you ensure you stay on the right path.
3. You never know what people are facing
Having hardships is a blunt force way to push you to be more empathetic with people. How many times have you given someone a hard time not realizing what they were going through? Maybe you made their lives harder because you didn’t scratch beyond the surface of their situation. When you have a downfall or moment of suffering, it’s easier for you to remember how important it is to be empathetic with people’s situations. Just as people don’t know what you’re going through right now, it’s important to realize you don’t know what they’re going through either. Having hardships keeps you humble and kind because it’s the reality check that we all have to overcome obstacles at one point or another.
4. You need to know who to turn to
The older you get the better you become at realizing who is good to go to for what type of problem. Maybe you realize venting to your mom about your spouse only creates a bigger wedge between you and them. So, you turn to your spouse for conflict resolution instead of a third-party who will always blindly take your side even when you’re wrong. Not everyone can provide you with emotional support. Sometimes, the people we want support from don’t show it to us in the way we want or aren’t honest enough to assess the situation for you to actually resolve the problem. Understanding who to go to is an important lesson that having hardships teaches us about problem-solving effectively. The people with the best intentions sometimes lead you to the worst outcome.
5. Kindness goes a long way
If you’re currently hanging out at rock bottom, challenge yourself to do one good deed every day from now… until you die. Everyday, scan your day to look for opportunities where you can uplift someone, cheer someone up, or make a difference in someone’s life for the better. Be kind to others, even when they aren’t kind to you. Why? Because you teach them what kindness looks like because if they aren’t kind, it’s likely not many people have truly shown it to them before. Be so kind when you’re having a bad day that you spend the whole day doing small gestures that make people feel good all day long. Before you know it, you’ll realize you have much fewer hardships because you focused your attention on the positive aspects of life rather than all the problems that are happening around you. Plus, kindness solves most problems.
Hitting rock bottom can be a painful experience. But if you use that time to be introspective, reflect on how you can improve your behavior and actions, and focus on how to make life better for yourself and everyone around you, you’ll make good use of your time at rock bottom. Pull out a piece of paper to draw yourself a better version of your life going forward. Or take some time to play with lego to build a dream for yourself and channel some creativity. When you’re at your lowest low, finding a spark that helps guide you out can be tough but it’s not impossible. And if you whisper “hello” at rock bottom when you think you’re alone, you’ll hear someone say hi back because people really do struggle more than you realize until it happens to you. Use each other for support as you build anew.
7. You can solve any problem
Experiencing hardships allows you to realize you can solve any problem. You might not like the solution to certain problems. However, the secret to happiness in life is to go with the flow. The more you try to resist your cards, the more likely that trauma symptoms will appear more drastically. Sometimes, you have to surrender to the idea that you don’t always have full control over an outcome. Still, all problems are fixable. And happiness can be found no matter how dismal a solution may seem. Letting go of everything you’ve had or known is hard but that doesn’t mean that you’re not opening yourself up to a brighter future.
8. Gratitude is underrated
When everything is going wrong and life is chaotic and someone says you need to be grateful for what you’ve got, you’re probably going to be annoyed. But that doesn’t mean a gratitude list or practice isn’t worth pursuing. Looking at all the things we’re still able to do, experience, and have access to on a daily basis will help us rewire our brain to think more positively. And that shift to positive thinking will help you mentally improve when everything is going wrong. It’s hard to have a bad time in life when our thoughts are focused on all the good we’ve had and that we currently have. So the next time you’re having hardships, make a list of all the things you have right now that you’re grateful for.
9. It’s important to self-reflect
In those life moments where you’re having hardships, it’s important to self-reflect. The ability to reflect on your actions and behavior that’s making life harder for you is crucial to your personal development. Learning what behaviors lead to negative consequences is a hard lesson to learn in life but it also prevents you from making the same types of mistakes you’ve been making. Asking yourself, “What should I have done differently in this situation? Why was my behavior so inappropriate and why did I choose to act that way? Or Why did I think being unkind was a good thing to do in this situation?” You’ll start to uncover habits and behaviors you’ve learned as coping mechanisms that are toxic or actually causing more chaos in your life.
10. Killing your ego is essential
We’re all encouraged to be ambitious and go after what we want. However, when our ego guides our goals we tend to put people down, step on others, and do some drastically bad behavior. And then, we reached the summit, burned out with burned bridges looking around wondering “why am I not happy right now?” And it’s because you’re alone. It’s like going on a road trip by yourself, the fun is the adventure in a car filled with family or friends. When you live an ego-based life you end up feeling utterly alone and angry at the world. However, if you chose to just focus on enjoying the journey with a spirit of wanting to improve yourself or your business or your career a little bit every day, when you reach the top, you’ll be celebrating with others in a triumphant fashion.
11. Going with the flow is part of life
In the movie Forrest Gump, the people who’ve experienced trauma all struggle to go with the flow. They resist everything that happened to them and go down an awful path until they learn to accept the cards they’ve been dealt. Forrest Gump experiences hardships as well, however, he accepts things as it happens. As a result, some pretty amazing moments happen in his life. There’s a belief that we need to go after what we want at all costs, bust down locked doors, and do whatever it takes to reach our goals. But life’s kinda funny. Sometimes, when you surrender and just walk into open doors and opportunities, you end up way better off than you originally planned. Acceptance is a hard life lesson to learn, but those who master going with the flow every now and then can end up having a wonderful life.
12. Rainy days don’t last
Sometimes, when it’s pouring rain on us we think it’s gonna last forever. The suffering and turmoil of having hardships overburdens us so drastically that we think we’ll never overcome what we’re facing. But rain clouds always float along in another direction with time. They go where the wind blows. Plus, a little lesson to realize is it’s just water. You don’t need to dance in the rain when having a hard time, sometimes sad moments are just for a moment to allow us to grieve what we’ve lost. But you really need to remember that better days can still come your way, no matter how much you’re struggling today. You just need to work a plan in a different direction and learn this lesson before moving forward.
13. You need to lose people to improve
In some cases, losing people you care about is necessary for you to end up a better version of yourself. Breakups can be a positive experience though they feel bad to us at the time. We might look at a divorce as the worst thing to happen to us, but as time passes, we learn to better love ourselves so much that we attract a higher quality love for us as well. Beyond romantic relationships, in life, we all die at one point or another. Losing a loved one is one of the most painful things we can experience. Yet, it serves as a reminder that our time is limited too and we should strive to live full and enriched lives.
While no one wants to experience hardships in life, they’re necessary no matter how unpleasant they may seem. Looking at the difficulties and challenges you face from another perspective that’ll help us in the future or better shape us into becoming the people we’re destined to become. Having hardships isn’t the end of the story for us, it’s just a chapter in a much bigger story that’ll play a role in our character development. What will we learn next? Luckily, there’s many life lessons you’ll learn along the way.