When the struggle can be your best friend

My mom told me a story the other day of an egg in their chicken coop that happened to be hatching as my dad walked by. The baby chick seemed to be struggling, and true to form, my dad couldn’t help but help – so he broke open the shell just a bit to help the chick get out. The baby chick did get out, but instead of it thriving, it got sick and died.

OK, that’s a sad and morbid story but it has a point, I swear. 

Come to find out, what gives a baby chick strength is its struggle to break out of the shell. During this process, the chick gains little chick-like muscles and develops enough strength to survive on its own. When the struggle is taken away, the chick doesn’t gain the needed strength.

I found this a very fitting and humbling story for my life these days – a fitting theme that often times,

the beauty is in the struggle, the perseverance, and persistence in life,

 

even though we tend to glorify our accomplishments and “wins” – these are often not the most important.

Sometimes, I think things AREN’T supposed to work out. Not all relationships, businesses, jobs, etc survive, but that’s OK – because they probably served another purpose, a lesson we were supposed to learn and then move on from.

I also just got done reading a book called “Travels” by Michael Creighton – (which, by the way, is a brilliant book, and if you haven’t read it you should!)

He talks about his experience climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He describes how they were warned, several times, that when you get near to the top many of the guides will offer to push you, and if this happens, you should not accept the help.

It seems kind of silly to refuse help when you may be struggling and at your weakest point, but what he describes is that it often does more harm than good. You need to struggle through it yourself, you need to give yourself time to acclimate. I am no expert in climbing, but in general, YOU need TIME and YOU need to ensure that you have enough strength to continue on – someone pushing you up the mountain at this point is basically useless.

This is so like life.

**DISCLAIMER** I think that working together and getting help is often necessary and helpful! But no one is actually going to do it FOR YOU. Support from friends, families, therapists, etc. is often needed and NECESSARY – I have had tons of help and therapists along the way –  so please, seek help if needed!

What I am saying, though is that no one’s going to push you up the mountain, and if they do, it only lasts for a brief moment.

I often wish for an easier way, but then I realize that all of the hardships that I have been through have made me who I am.

 

I sometimes want to curse myself for being someone who lives in their head much of the time, EVEN after I’ve learned to just “let it go” so many times – I still find myself in a whirlpool of thought much of the time.

But the thing is, having to fight this tendency in myself has actually made me stronger than I ever could have imagined.

 

To constantly be in thought, to have battled anxiety (for lack of a better word) and had failed relationships,

stagnant businesses,

felt homesick more than I want to admit,

often wondered if I’d made the right choice in life,

had to mend many relationships, especially with my family where I once was bitter,

swallowed many humble pills,

still haven’t met many many big goals I have in life that oftentimes makes me feel like a failure,

bought plane tickets to the wrong cities,

bought plane tickets on the wrong day,

slipped and fallen in the pouring rain in front of entire restaurants,

spilled food and drinks on me at restaurants,

said many stupid things in front of important people or in general made myself look like a fool in one way or another while living abroad when I barely know the language –

all of these things have made me stronger.

 

Some are a bit more serious than others and of course,  and there’s much more. But the point is this: If I hadn’t experienced these things, if I hadn’t made mistakes and gotten back up a million and one times, I would not be the person I am today. I would not be as strong as I know I am now – and getting stronger every day.

Embrace, accept, persist, and commit.

Embrace the struggle.When you do this, you will then watch yourself grow. At least that’s what I’ve found.