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You don’t have to be grateful for your hardships

One of those platitudes that many people love to throw about about hardships is that they make you stronger.

These people are wrong. Perhaps they are well-meaning (oh dear), or perhaps they have not really dealt with significant hardship (double dear), but the fact remains that they are wrong.

You aren’t strong because you suffer, you are strong and you suffer.

Now, and I’m simplifying drastically here, I’ve found that most hardships fall into 3 categories. To mis-quote an old white man; some are born with hardship, some achieve hardship, and some have hardship thrust upon them.

People are born into difficult circumstances, or with an illness, say. Some fall into difficult circumstance or fall ill. Some are taken advantage of, displaced, abused or face some other thrusting of pain upon them.

The idea that you have to overcome hardship to become a better person is fatally flawed. It’s an excuse for the privileged to be bad people, and a way for them to keep the underprivileged in their place.

“Oh, you’re suffering? You have to overcome that yourself. If you’re given help, you won’t learn. I earned my success.”

Two people can be equally strong, but if one is bogged down by circumstance, and the other is not, which do you think will succeed faster?

Okay, sure, your suffering and your hardships make you who you are. If you grow up in poverty and it inspires you to use your strength to push yourself towards success or devote your life to helping others, fantastic.

But that doesn’t mean you should be grateful that you were born poor.

“Thank goodness I was abused, now I can be a good person.”
“I am a good person, and I have been abused.”
Which one of these makes more sense to you?

Being grateful for your hardship makes you placid. It tells others that you not only accept it, but welcome it.

Anybody who says you should be grateful is undermining the struggle you’ve been through and the things you’ve achieved.

Instead, look at your situation and get angry. Look at what has brought this hardship upon you and make it your mission to get rid of that thing.

Or, just survive. Sometimes that’s all you can manage, and that’s okay. Sometimes that’s more than you can manage, and that’s okay, too.

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