Back in 1888 (over 100 years ago), philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously uttered these words:
“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”
Only in German, of course. But you get the idea.
You’ve probably seen this quote before – maybe on a mug or a motivational poster in the break room.
My point-being? This sentiment still rings true today.
Of course, sometimes, life can be tough. And yes, sometimes, we can’t see the wood for the trees. But believe me when I say – it’s these hardships (and your grit) that make you more resilient than the average person.
In other words, you’re stronger than you think.
Do I have your attention? Good. Let’s jump right in.
1) You have tried (and failed) at something
We all have goals and ambitions. But unfortunately, they don’t always work out the way we planned.
You found this out the hard way.
Perhaps you turned a hobby into a business, applied for a big promotion, or took a gamble on a risky investment.
Whatever it was, you gave it everything, only to fail. Maybe you even lost it all – house, money, car.
Well, not everyone can say that they tried (and failed).
Instead, their aspirations remain a fantasy. Something they think about when they’re stuck behind a desk twiddling their thumbs and pondering “what if”.
But not you – you took a chance and gained some valuable life experience along the way. Knowledge you can use the next time you decide to follow your dreams.
When all is said and done, you were brave. Now – at least you can look back on your life and say, you gave it the old college try.
Most of all, you’ve come face to face with failure and survived to tell the tale.
2) You have suffered a loss
Losing a friend or loved one can be one of the most painful and gut-wrenching experiences you’ll ever go through.
It can make you feel empty, numb, and a whole heap of other emotions. Honestly, there are too many to mention here. Mostly, though, it’s difficult to accept that you’ll never see that person again.
Ultimately, everyone deals with loss differently and at their own pace.
Sadly, death is an integral part of life. After all, we all have an expiration date. But knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.
No matter how much you plan for it, or whatever your beliefs, nothing prepares you for what you’re about to face. And until you’ve gone through it yourself you’ll never understand what it’s like to truly grieve. It changes you – for better or for worse.
The thing is – life goes on.
It’s hard, I know. But if there’s one thing you’ve learned from this experience is that life is finite, so you shouldn’t waste a minute of it dwelling on the past.
Go on that world cruise, say yes to that blind date, and make the most of the time you have left.
It sounds cliche to say, but grieving is a process. It gets easier with time.
3) You have overcome a health issue
Finding out you have a serious illness or injury can be a hard pill to swallow. Like grief, it can feel as though something has been taken away from you prematurely.
Not only that – it forces you to acknowledge your limits. Mostly, it’s a reminder that you’re human not Superman. It’s actually quite humbling.
And by pushing through the pain and overcoming those obstacles (physical and mental) it gives you a whole new perspective and appreciation for life.
It’s almost like you’re reborn. You’re full of gratitude for the things you do have and the people who were there for you when you needed them most.
4) You know what rejection feels like
There’s a reason heartbreak is the subject of so many songs, books, and movies. We’ve all been through a breakup at some stage of our lives.
But let’s face it – the first one is always the worst.
I remember when it happened to me, I felt like the world had crumbled beneath my feet. At the time, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get over the pain of being rejected. And I was worried I’d never get another chance at love.
But the truth is – I did.
It took time and a whole lot of crying (and I mean loads), but I managed to pick myself up, move past that loss, and get on with my life.
Finally, without sounding too much like a corny Country and Western tune, it taught me that I was stronger than I realized.
5) You have been betrayed
Life is tough enough without getting stabbed in the back by the people you trust the most.
Perhaps it was a close friend, a loved one, or someone in a trusted position. But either way, that betrayal stung like crazy.
Because the truth is – you weren’t expecting it. You didn’t have an inkling. In fact, the idea of someone intentionally double-crossing you was the last thing on your mind.
How you deal with that betrayal, though, well, that’s the real lesson here.
Sure, you could sit around sulking. Or you get all angsty like a rebellious teen.
But ask yourself this – how’s that going to help?
Instead, you took that experience and used it to your advantage. You not only learned to think before blindly trusting someone, but you realized that not everyone thinks (or feels) the same way you do.
By turning that negative into a positive, you’re not only stronger but wiser too.
6) You moved to a new area all by yourself
Not everything on this list is gloom and doom, I promise. Something which brings us to our penultimate item…
Life experience comes in all shapes and sizes and that includes moving.
Whether you’re setting up home a few blocks away, starting over in a new city, or permanently swapping time zones – everyone can agree that relocating is stressful. And that’s not factoring in kids and pets.
In fact, it’s a resounding “yikes” from around the globe. Divorce coming in a close second.
But the good news is?
Well, it can teach you a lot of life skills (e.g. adaptability and organization). Not to mention make you tougher and more resilient in the process.
It’s also given you a sense of self-efficacy.
7) You have traveled alone (at least once)
Finally, let’s finish this list on a high note.
Travel can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever undergo. And when you give in to that wanderlust, there’s a whole world of exciting new foods, smells, sights, and people to encounter along the way. It’s eye-opening.
But truth be told, there’s nothing quite like solo travel.
Why? Well, let me explain.
As philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”. (This time it was actually in English – he was American).
What I mean by this is – that when you’re alone, it gives you time to think and reflect. Think of it as a voyage of self-discovery and an opportunity to broaden your horizons.
Not only are you pushed out of your comfort zone, but you’re forced to make decisions for you and you alone.
Be it choosing where to go and what to eat by yourself. Or more practical life lessons such as time management and budgeting.
Ultimately, it puts you in the driving seat. All the while, it makes you a stronger, more capable individual.