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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Learn that "What Doesn't Kill You..."

There's a catchy, New Age-y expression that you've probably heard: "What does not kill me will make me stronger."

I wish it were always true.

Like many such expressions, it doesn't quite hold up under close examination.

I know lots of people, good people, spiritual people, who have been crushed by unfortunate events. They do not become stronger, but rather are defeated, and wither away.

The only thing we can say for sure is: "What doesn't kill you will leave you alive."

Yes, it's a tautology. But there's hope in its latter half. Because if you are alive, there is a chance, a glimmer of a possibility, that in fact you will overcome a tragedy and move on the better and stronger for it.

I guess what bothers me about the expression is that it makes this "benefit," this rising above the vicissitudes of life, sound automatic.

It's not. To use the vernacular, it can be damned hard work.

So remember when the stuff hits the fan that there is a chance of coming out better on the other side, but it may require some effort on your part. Sitting back and saying "Tra la la, I'm going to be stronger after this" is not necessarily the best way to grow.

Give it your all.

You'll be happier.

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