Ray: I am what many people would consider to be “over the hill.” That’s right, I’m an old man. At the ripe old age of 27, I have already lived a full life. I’ve experienced love and heartbreak, success and failure, and even became a father. I’ve seen my elders get older and I stood by haplessly as loved ones passed away. I’ve graduated from a great university only to take jobs that had nothing to do with my major. In fact, I’ve even changed careers 3 times. I’ve seen best friends become strangers and new friends become brothers and sisters of mine. I’ve been robbed, cheated, and lied to. I’ve even done some cheating and lying myself. In short, I’ve seen a lot, did a lot, and have learned from it all. But after speaking with many different people, I have realized that too many of us go through life and ignore all of the beautiful lessons that God has intertwined in this wonderfully complex but brief experience.
There are so many different places I can go with this conversation but I think I’ll stick to a very important theory that has definitely held true in my life. I believe that there is no progress without a struggle. And while many people accept that as a truth, they often neglect the point of the struggle. The struggle is where the growth occurs. The struggle is where the lessons should be learned and where maturity is bolstered. The catch is, you really have to train yourself to find the lesson hidden within the struggle and apply it to how you live life. If you fail to do this, then you will continue to struggle with that particular part of your life and progress will come to a complete halt.
Take for example the case of the broken heart. Having your heart broken can be one of the most devastating life experiences one can endure. It requires that you first invest all of your being into a relationship with someone that you imagine someday being a life partner. And then for whatever reason, that relationship gets broken. Your trust, your happiness, your faith in all things possible is suddenly crushed and you are left there all alone wondering how you’re supposed to continue living (or am I speaking for myself?). Why would God allow such a sour and desolate mindset to exist and flourish in the midst of loss? Well, I believe events like this happen in order for you to grow and reach a level of happiness in the future that you never thought was possible.
Circumstances like broken hearts, death, losing a job, and many other events always lead to questions. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? How could I have avoided this? While every individual’s case is different, there are fundamental reasons to why these events happen. In the case of the broken heart, the first thing to notice is that you indeed are capable of experiencing love. There’s a reason that the phrase, “it is better to have loved and lost then to have never loved before” has lasted for hundreds of years. It’s true! Understand that you are built to give and receive love. And it truly is a wonderful thing. Just imagine a time when you can share that with the person you will spend the rest of your life with. Awesome.
But why the heart-ache? From my own experience, I can say that I have learned a great deal about myself while being heart broken. It made me think about all of the qualities about myself that drove love away. I was brave enough to dig deep and explicitly name those faults of mine which weren’t conducive for a successful relationship. As a result, I know that because of that experience, I would not allow those same problems to creep into my marriage (if that ever happens). Not only that, but I also realized what it was about my partner that caused me to act the way I did. As a result, I will most certainly avoid those qualities to the best of my abilities if ever I decide to settle down with a mate. Had I not learned those lessons, it’s very plausible that the two of us could have stayed together longer and missed out on living much happier lives with the people that fit us best.
The same theory can be applied to any other situation. When you take the time to find the lessons within a time of struggle, you will undoubtedly learn what it takes to move closer towards fulfilling your true potential in life. Also, many of the things you currently have need to be removed in order to make room for those things you need. In this regard, to struggle is to be truly blessed. You come out of it stronger, smarter, happier, and sexier than ever before.
Learn from the ups and downs of your life. Oddly enough, they ultimately teach you how to make your ups higher and your downs shorter.