Emotional Wellbeing


Mandy Kloppers

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger



 What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

It’s a common saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”,  that adds a touch of positivity and optimism to enduring hard times in life. To some extent it’s true – facing challenges in life does teach you skills and can help you to become more resilient. The problem with modern day life though is that for many of us, what “doesn’t kill us” never goes away. Instead of a challenge that comes along, stretches you to your maximum coping capacity and then disappears, modern day life leaves us in ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode indefinitely. Being in this anxious state consistently is unnatural and exhausting for the body’s defenses, eventually causing exhaustion and facilitating anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

We are bombarded by information on a daily basis, information overload is never ending. We are ‘on call’ for longer than ever before – we can be reached at work and at home, day and night,  and through a variety of methods – emails, mobiles, the internet…Then there’s the reality of living in an imperfect world where we have to justify many injustices in order to cope with what goes on around us. Taxes, traffic jams and expectations from others and from ourselves. It’s no wonder that many of us seek drugs, alcohol and other forms of escapism to get a break.

Having the foresight and wisdom to know when to walk away is essential if you want to make yourself stronger and not weaken yourself to the point of no return. Facing stress for too long causes mental, physical and emotional fatigue – leading to indecisiveness, desensitisation and apathy. Powerlessness leads to “learned helplessness” – a state where you pretty much give up on yourself and accept “what is”.

The main message of this post is to evaluate your challenges. Know the difference between the challenges that will help you grow and empower you as a person and the challenges that will chip away at your resolve and your sense of self and happiness. An ongoing stressful situation will undoubtedly end up leaving you feeling so empty that you no longer have the strength to resolve the situation.

I see this often in unhappy marriages, miserable jobs that people hate but that they go to day after day and it many other scenarios where people have given up their power of choice and accepted their unhappy existence. Well, you know what? You don’t HAVE to accept anything. You can, step by step, change your situation and move towards a life that you feel happier with.

What doesn’t kill you doesn’t necessarily make you stronger, it can lead you to becoming disempowered and feeling helpless. The length of time is critical. Let something negative continue for longer than a year and you are asking for trouble. If you need help doing this, get in touch with a counsellor or therapist to help you create some goals and put a plan in place to get there.

Slowly does it as long as it’s in the right direction.

Mandy X

Photo by CJS*64 A man with a camera

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