I believe that many times in various situations you have heard the saying “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!” Many proudly pronounce it when they talk about some challenging life experiences and feel important, useful and productive because they still managed to resist the force of life that tried to destroy them.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, this has nothing to do with any real trophy, but rather a “mantra” that people successfully deceive themselves with and, unknowingly, avoid facing their weaknesses and lack of life ambition. Or, in other words, the classic story of trying to present our flaws to ourselves and others as virtues!
To illustrate more clearly what I mean, let me share with you an example from my own experience…
At the beginning of elementary school, I had an experience that created tremendous fear and resistance to the idea of going to the dentist. After that experience, whenever I felt a toothache, I would fool myself that it would stop. With time, the tooth would start to hurt harder and I would take the pain pills and believe that the thing would still calm down and that everything would be fine. This “process” would be repeated until the pills could no longer help me and I would be forced to visit a dentist. Due to the long delay, the dentist would conclude that it was necessary to remove the nerve because I delayed the repair for too long.
The above situation has happened to me several times and what is interesting is the fact that after the very traumatic process of extracting the dental nerve, I would feel brave and proud of myself for enduring it all and successfully overcome intense fear.
But, let’s ignore the weird “movie” in my head and pride in myself and be realistic. The reality is that my fictitious feelings of pride and courage served as “tools” that helped me avoid coping with my fear and the trauma I was experiencing. Looking realistically, even a small toothache indicated to me that it was necessary to visit a dentist. That’s all there was to do − and nothing else! Everything else I would do was a reflection of my “blindness” and, from my current perspective, my lack of ambition to handle things and live with full lungs.
In other words, I was not at all a hero who wasn’t “killed” by life, but a fugitive from myself!
In the book Total Coaching, author and coach Patrick Williams, beautifully expressed a thought that deeply engraved itself in my mind when I first read it:
“Life constantly sends us INFORMATION and MESSAGES. When we don’t pay attention to them, they become LESSONS. LESSONS we don’t learn become PROBLEMS. And if we avoid facing the PROBLEMS, they become CRISIS. If we do not approach CRISIS closely, they begin to create CHAOS in our lives.”
If at any point in life you have experienced complete “CHAOS”, however this “CHAOS” manifested in your life, instead of being proud of yourself because you are after all “straightened” and did not allow it to “kill” you, try to analyze the above by asking yourself the following question:
“What is it in me that prevented me from clearly hearing the message that life sent me on time and what am I actually running away from?”
As you ponder on this question, don’t judge yourself, but be open to truly gain insight into your own weaknesses from which you may be running away from – because only when we become aware and accept our weaknesses do we bring ourselves to the opportunity to turn them into strengths!
Only when we become aware and accept our weaknesses do we bring ourselves to the opportunity to turn them into strengths!