Hardship is a Wise Teacher

Hardship is a good teacher. When we face challenges that test our limits, we learn valuable lessons. I came across this journal entry I made while my husband was deployed in 2010 and I found it to be as applicable now as it was then. And I believe it is applicable to your life as well.

This month has a been a whirlwind of late nights, restless sleep, an endless task list, chores forgotten, frequent frustration and yes, a few tears along the way. It has also been a time of tremendous personal growth, increased confidence, support from family and friends and a heightened appreciation for the beauty of an imperfect life.

Lessons Learned:

  • It’s the small everyday comforts that make all the difference – my constant canine companions, my children, the aroma of morning coffee, the soothing taste of freshly brewed tea, a home that I feel comfortable in, scented candles, stirring music, flowers in bloom, wildlife outside my window and supportive family and friends.
  • I need to ask for help – support is available, but people won’t know what I need until I am willing to ask.
  • I cannot do everything – it is physically impossible with the 24 hours each day maintain current responsibilities while adding new ones. I have withdrawn from some volunteer activities and paired down my load.
  • I must lower my expectations – it’s all right if the floor isn’t vacuumed every day, if the windows don’t get cleaned this month, if the cabinets don’t shine, if the cars don’t get washed and if the dogs didn’t get their bath. Cereal can be an acceptable dinner as long as it is high in fiber and you add fruit. Life is too short to beat myself up over being unable to meet unrealistic standards.
  • I need to be gentle with myself and my kids – I really need to take time to be with friends and family. I need to be loving and engaged in their lives. Connection is like ambrosia for the soul. But time alone  is a must for me. Making time to be alone with my thoughts and get comfortable with my inner self is not a luxury, it’s crucial. 
  • I am capable of so much more than I believe – I have always been a fairly strong and independent woman, but I have surprised myself by stretching in so many ways that I never imagined possible. 

Stepping outside of my comfort zone when my world in turmoil is a very scary concept, but it is in that space of uncertainty where I will grow the most and where my best life resides. I wonder what else life has in store for me.

What wise lessons have you learned during times of hardship? How has facing challenge helped you grow?

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