I read this quote this morning by Gandhi. "Strength does not come from winning, your struggles develop your strengths, when you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength."
This challenged me to check my perspective to see how I was viewing my struggles and failures. Are you looking at your struggles and failures as disappointments or frustrations? If so, you need to change your attitude. Your struggles, hardships, and failures are what make you strong and develop character.
Think back to what you would be without the trials in your life, do you really want to be that person? I know, I don't. I am thankful for my trials because it gave me character and wisdom. I remember the day very clearly when my mom packed us kids up and left my dad and brother. I was devastated and thrown into a world of hurt.
I was almost nine at the time and didn't know how to deal with such big emotions. I remember being angry and bitter, and I allowed these emotions to control my life for the next three years. Needless to say, I didn't grow much during this time, but I do remember the day when I let it all go and forgave. This was so freeing! After that, I was able to have an amazing relationship with my mom and new dad, which wasn't so bad. In fact, he was pretty awesome, and I love him very much!
After I let go, I was able to learn how to deal with the anger and bitterness I felt. I learned how to turn this trial into a stepping stone. Today, years later, I am so thankful that I was allowed to go through this trial. I have learned so much, but the most important thing I learned was to forgive and let it go.
I have been able to use this lesson in all of life, and it has helped me to reach out to other children who are in the shoes I was in several years ago. I can cry with them and truly feel with them, and let them know the secret that helped me get through this tough time. I couldn't image how uncaring or sympathetic I would be without the trials I have been through. Because honestly, you can't truly empathize with someone until you've been there.
This summer I was faced with the loss of my brother and grandpa within two weeks of each other. That was hard and for awhile I was just going through the motions to make it through. Up until that point, I hadn't dealt with death on such close terms, and sad to say I didn't know how to relate to people who were dealing with the loss of loved ones.
I am ashamed to say that I was probably non nonchalant at times and even hurtful because I truly didn't understand what to do or say. Now that I have been there I understand the emotional roller coaster. I understand what is helpful, and what is hurtful. I wrote about that experience in this post. I am sad for the loss, but I am thankful that I was able to learn a lesson to help me be a better leader and friend.
I want to always learn something from every failure, every struggle, and every disappointment. I want to use these trials and turn them into stepping stones. I want these to make me stronger and a better leader of people. I don't want to allow myself to have a pity party or worse yet become bitter.
Bitterness only hurts me not the other person. I love this description of bitterness. It is like taking a poison and expecting the other person to die. People are mean at times, life is unfair, and accidents happen, but don't let that destroy your life! Don't let what someone did ruin you. Be the bigger person and let it go.
This is such an important concept to grasp if you want to live a blessed life. Change your perspective and turn your trials into stepping stones. Use them to help others in your shoes, don't let them stop you or worse yet, ruin you. Remember this, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it."
How are you responding to life.