Wiseacre (ewin) wrote,

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Whatever doesn't kill you...

My whole life hurts, today.

If I may be so arrogant as to trot out some hard-won living wisdom under the canard that "if it's hard-won, it must have been worth the winning"...

It's commonly said that we become strong through adversity.

This is absolutely and laughably false.

We become strong in the process of overcoming adversity.  Adversity, in and of itself, has absolutely no redeeming value, and continuing to breathe while adversity strikes you doesn't do you the maximal amount of good, either.  You may survive, sure, but there are states of "alive" which the human animal can endure that nobody would willingly choose.

What strengthens us is overcoming adversity.  Which bears as little resemblance to "survival" as finding a lifeboat does to being washed ashore.  When you experience trials and tribulations and discover strong friendships that get you through them, or inner strength that keeps you from going nuts... when you are forced to deal with yourself because all of your illusions have been stripped away, and you seek deep healing for your issues because you've been given no choice... when you seek assistance from a higher power (or an inner power) and find that it has come through for you... that is when you come out of an issue stronger on the other side.  Strong in love, strong in faith, strong in self-respect.

When you lift weights and injure yourself, it does diddly squat for your muscles.  You have to lift weights to the point where your muscles are damaged, but also they have to heal to become stronger.

You do have to lift those weights in order to get those muscles, just like you have to endure trials to gain life muscle... but that doesn't mean every drop of sweat that ever beads on you was intended for your benefit.  A lot of it is what you make of it, and a lot of it is just how heavy it was always going to be.

There are countless masses of people in this world who have been hit with adversity and flattened by it.  In a way, it's comforting that you're not actually supposed to make it out of life alive; makes it less lonely, the fact that life IS going to eventually kill you.  I still recall an old friend of mine who said that she had nursed both her parents through sickness and into death... she told me, "It was something I could only do one time.  If I had to do it again, it would kill me."  In a way, it was a mercy that she only had two parents to die on her.

The main reason I want to make this point is this:  the majority of the world's human monsters can, in fact, point to some terrible thing or some series of terrible things that had happened to them in life.  Things which they never overcame.  The vote is still out on whether you can create bad people or not; perhaps the ability to power through things is the iron-hard fact inside you that determines your destiny.  I couldn't say for sure.  But the fact remains that there is little in life more dangerous than someone who has been kicked around by life and who has never risen to realize their own power, strength, and responsibility.  Far more people are evil through delusion than through malice.  You'll get knocked sideways plenty by people who firmly believe they're doing nothing more than defending themselves... I'd say 99.99999% of the time.

Conversely, there is nothing on this earth more awesome and beautiful than someone who has risen above horrific things in order to continue to do good.  People like this are magnetic; their strength is so utterly authentic and gorgeous, you just want to glom onto them and learn everything there is to know.  People like this are an argument for the human race.

Most of us fall somewhere in between the two.  We're most of us both a torment and a savior of humanity.  I think the second makes the first worth it, but I have some strange ideas.

In the meantime, though, you have a weighty responsibility in this life:  overcome your adversities when and wherever you possibly can.

You won't manage it with all of them.  Some of them will leave you tired and damaged forever.  That's life.

And do not ever, ever, EVER say to someone, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."  What doesn't kill you, often takes a bite out of you that you feel forever.  But that's okay.  Don't go around believing that the mass of hurts in your life is supposed to have smelted you into steel by now.  It's patently untrue.  The steel comes from your soul, not from life's problems, and some of us just have better refineries than others.  That's also life.

Just overcome your issues wherever you can, as hard as you can, and help others do the same, because we can always use more strong people.
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