No Other Choice

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a situation? And then realized you had to just put on your big girl panties and get ‘er done? Yeah, me too. And I must say, despite my belief to the contrary, I have always made it to the other side. Often by the very skin of my teeth, but I still survived. And invariably, I have found I learned something useful in the process. Sure, sometimes it’s to make sure I hydrate before hitting a trail – hiking or wine – but nonetheless, a lesson was learned. And I’m better for it.

The above quote showed up in my Facebook feed a while ago and the thought has resonated with me ever since. The more I think about it, the more I realize there’s a lot of truth in the statement. It reminds me of the old wives tale that a broken bone mends back stronger. No idea if that’s actually true, but for our purposes let’s assume it is.

We all know life isn’t easy. I guarantee that even those that look on the outside as if they’ve lived a charmed life have faced adversity at some point in their life. It’s true that some are dealt tougher hands than others, but the principle doesn’t change – like fire refines gold, hardship creates strength. Don’t believe me? Let’s dive into an actual example.

After the birth of my children, I went through a time of physical suffering. After entirely too many doctors, tests and several months of struggling, I was finally diagnosed with a chronic condition. Instead of it being an easy fix, I learned that it’s something I will always have to deal with. I know, not the best news in the world, but for me it has actually been a benefit. Seriously. My illness has made me stronger in several ways. Here’s just a few:

  • In the process of being diagnosed, my faith grew.
  • My diagnosis led to me making positive changes in my life.
  • I’m better at saying “no” to things I don’t really need to do.
  • My nutrition is better.
  • My weight is under control after a 35+ year battle with it.
  • I’m physically stronger because I need to exercise to manage my condition.
  • I’m more empathetic towards others. There’s nothing like an “invisible” illness to teach you that you never really know what someone else is going through.
  • I’ve used my experience to aid others in coming to terms with and managing other chronic conditions.

I have my health struggle to thank for every single one of the above things. I am truly stronger because of a journey I had no choice in initiating. I’ve been asked if I could go back and relive life absent this struggle a few times. It’s taken me a while to get here, but I can honestly say that at this point I wouldn’t choose to do that. Too many good things have come of it. I’m far from superwoman, but I’m building strength with each step I take on this path. I didn’t pick the path, but I’m dang sure going to navigate it, learn from it, and try to help others along the way.

Thankfully I am surrounded by like minded women. Some of their stories would bring you to tears, but there’s not one of them that needs or wants pity. They are stronger for their struggles. Just like I am.

If you’re feeling like your story isn’t one you would choose, I hope you have a little glimmer of hope after reading this. Need some help finding your way on the path to strength? Hit me up in the comments. I may not be able to help, but I may know someone that can. Lifting the weight of life is a lot like that of lifting in the gym – it helps to have accountability and support. You deserve that.

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