We’ve all heard the quote, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”, coined by Fredrich Nietzche sometime in the late 1800’s. Many of us have uttered these words during challenging times in our lives. Some find the sentiment so profound they even tattoo it on their skin as a constant reminder.
What does it mean though?
Do we have to face hardships, pain, strife, or struggles of the physical, emotional or financial sort in order to tap into some magical inner source of fortitude and strength? Must we hit the depths in order to find out ‘what we’re made of’?
Or does Dwight have it right?
If that strength is in us to begin with, why must something nearly kill us in order for us to find it? Why can’t we simply uncover and tap into this strength through doing, thinking, and being positive, healthy, happy?
I recently saw another quote that said:
“Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.”
Okay, so now we may be onto something.
It’s perhaps less about something nearly killing us to show us how much strength (and good?) we have inside us; and maybe more about looking at who we are and how we are both in good times and in bad.
While I may not have everything, I know I have more than most. And for that I am immensely grateful.
I have my health, an amazing family, beautiful friends who enrich my life, and more stuff than I know what to do with. Above all this though, I know I am loved.
So, while I may not have everything, I have so very much. And I hope that my attitude reflects how fortunate I feel, even during the difficult moments that make me feel more Nietzsche-esque.
At the end of the day, I think the best any of us can do is to try to live a life we will be able to look back on, years from now, and feel proud of. And I hope that the strength we acquire along the way doesn’t leave too many battle scars.