Got Struggles? It might be normal.

February 3rd, 2016 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

Learning and Growing from Struggles

Life is hard and anyone who says it isn’t has not lived very long, does not know very many people, or is delusional. Something I really dislike to hear when I, or friends, have struggles are those trite sayings like, “What doesn’t break you, makes you stronger.” Who says?


Yes, we do learn, and hopefully grow, from struggles; usually we learn about ourselves and our needs and boundaries. We may also learn about others, their needs and boundaries. However, I want to look at the issue first from the other direction.

It isn’t until we have had struggles that we really appreciate life. Life is hard, but life is also good, and the good things do not come with easiness, but they are almost a kind of By-product of the struggles.

Let’s take health: I, and several friends of mine, have or have had serious health issues. I believe it is not until you “lose” your health that you realize what a gift it is, and it is one not to be taken for granted. One friend had a stroke last summer and it was really scary, scary for her and for her friends and family. A few days ago, glowing, she said she was doing very well. And she meant it. Health is not a given in life. I have friends with chronic health issues, and the issues are “managed” but they do not go away. I myself had cancer ten years ago, and am still under the watchful eyes of my doctor for that. I do appreciate each day because I was ill.

Friends and family can also be hard, a struggle for many of us, especially expats. Friends, new and old, move away, if you are an expat, and your family is far away. Perhaps someone dear is ill, or even dies, and you are an ocean or two away. My mother passed on last fall, and I have other friends and neighbors who have died recently. I am certainly not the only person who has these hard experiences. It is part of human existence to lose someone. But that does not make the situation easier. Yet we start again, make new friends, open ourselves to new relationships, even as we say goodbye to the old.

Business and work can have struggles from time to time. Or it can even be a long-term struggle. Some entrepreneurs in start-ups know what I mean, others who are in the midst of mergers also know. We need to learn to be as flexible and positive as we can be without letting go of our integrity and our “whys” for being on the job in the first place. It is a hard balancing act.

So, what do we do in those struggles? We talk about our struggles and share them with someone who “has been there”. We admit our humanity and our frailty and our struggles, and then we pick ourselves up and get back in that arena of life. Because that arena is where real life happens.

And I don’t know about you, but I want real life, with all the struggle and the dirt. Because in that very struggle we find ourselves. Together.

Patricia Jehle


1 comment

  1. Doug says:

    Not sure I want “the struggle and the dirt” but will accept ’em if I have to!

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