I’m at a point in my life where I look for wisdom in all things. “All things” includes the circumstances, both good and bad, that surround my personal and professional lives with each waking moment. “All things” also includes personal struggles and conflicts that throw monkey wrenches in various plans I set for my life. I can’t say that I have more difficulties in life than the next person, but right now, some of my challenges are very present and need considerable attention. Wisdom is teaching me that my focus shouldn’t be on living a strife-free existence, but on channeling the attention struggles require in ways that positively impact personal growth.

I’ve heard the cliche “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another” throughout various chapters of my life. It resonates very strongly now, but not with any tones of defeat or victimization. I see it now as more of a resolve to persevere with obstacles that present themselves. In another period of my life, I would have spent more time asking why things happened, or asking the infamous “why me?” question. In those times I felt like the universe had some sort of vendetta against me, that it was punishing me unjustly with the difficult things that I went through.

But here’s what I realize now: no matter who you are, and no matter what your circumstances or lot in life, there will always be something to navigate through. And, like the saying goes, if it’s not this “one thing”, there will be another one just as difficult, if not more so, to deal with. It’s inevitable, and that’s just life. The inner question to the universe and yourself has to shift from “why me?” to “how will I get through this?”

That places a very different value on struggles. It presents a mature notion of dealing with whatever is in front of you. Life will continue to present things that will derail your plans, be they plans for the day or plans in the grander picture. What I’ve learned to do is find strength in looking at what is being presented before me and choosing to deal with it, not wishing it away or avoiding it. I’ve also learned to value and regard my emotions about the present struggle and not let them consume me.

I’ve also found that there’s something about going through a struggle that is extremely clarifying. Even though it can be isolating (because you can feel like you’re the only one going through turmoil), it can be a time of serious self-reflection. The present challenges in my life have given me time to think about how I respond to circumstances that happen around and to me. They have forced me to check in with myself; I can’t honestly say that I would have taken the time to do that had negative circumstances not given me reason to. If things had always gone well, I don’t think I would have questioned my motivations, my goals, what’s worth fighting for, what’s worth my time, and what’s genuinely worthy of my energy. Now I have.

I’ve heard it said that things don’t become strong until they’re tested. I can attest to that as an entrepreneur, but I can also verify that as a human being. Going through hardships has made me much more focused, more open-minded, less reactionary and very sure of who I am and what I want out of life. And those things have made me stronger. So I guess I have to give credit to my personal tests and trials for being a better Breegan despite the pain, obstacles and unforeseen challenges I have endured. That’s the ironic beauty of struggle.

Our personal journeys won’t be all rainbows and butterflies. We will experience high highs and some very low lows. But all of those experiences, both good and bad, will create learning. That learning will foster wisdom, and wisdom will help guide you safely from this to that.

For now, though, have faith that you will get through this. Because you will. And so will I.

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