4 Harsh Truths that Will Make You Stronger (365 Days of Spirited Living — DAY 333)
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
— Marcus Aurelius
If we could get away with it and still maintain our sanity, most of us would be content to live in a fantasy world. Why not? There would be no problems. We get to live in a castle. We eat perfectly cooked food. Servants wait on us hand and foot. We ride on white horses and kiss princes and princesses. Good deal, right? It’ll probably feel good for about a week, maybe a month, but after a while, we’ll grow tired of that life.
Luckily, we don’t get to live in fairy tales or fantasy worlds. We get to live in real life which is imperfect yet totally perfect for us as humans. It gives us both struggle and strength and everything in between. The real world is harsh without apology and yet it causes us to discover some powerful truths that make us stronger if we listen.
Here are four of those harsh truths that will make you stronger:
1. The world owes you nothing at all.
The world is not in the least bit indebted to you. There are billions of people on this planet who, for the most part, want some of the same things, are trying to get to some of the same places, and don’t really care about you or what you are doing. You might be the smartest, brightest, most beautiful, most generous person on the planet, but if you’re not using your life for the benefit of helping at least one other person, you are owed nothing for merely existing. And even if you did more than exist, you would still be owed nothing for merely doing your part to make the world better.
Most people will not tell you this, but they will certainly behave this way. The world stops for no one and it certainly does not owe anyone anything. You basically have two choices: You can throw a pity party for yourself and waste precious time being angry with bitter at the world. Or you can get a grip on life and go out into the world and do some good. You can imagine what the most fulfilled people choose to do with their lives and what the ultimate result is for them and decide if you want the same thing.
2. Your actions, not your words, determine who you are.
Words are extremely cheap. They are often spoken into thin air, go in one ear and out the other, quickly forgotten, and rarely ever meaningful. People, even good, well-meaning people, talk all the time about how bad things are and how things should be or could be different. But talk matters very little unless it is backed up by action. You can sit around all day and complain about the world or put your hand to your chin and conceptualize about some utopia that doesn’t exist, but nothing will change until you get out there and put all your good ideas into action.
Good intention, just like words, is extremely wonderful. It is very beautiful in many ways. Everybody wants other people to have good intentions. But unless those intentions are coupled with action, it means nothing at all. What you do in life says a lot more about who you are and what kind of character you have than what you say.
3. Nobody is going to waltz into your life to rescue you.
We all like to fantasize that one day the guy or girl of our dreams will just walk into our lives, or the job we’ve always wanted will simply fall into our laps, or that we’ll wake up and everything will suddenly be perfect and wonderful. When we don’t like the way things are going or are looking to make a change in our everyday lives, we unrealistically hope that someone or something magical will just come along and deliver us from our miserable lives. The truth is, life doesn’t work that way. If you want your day to be saved, you have to be the one who saves it.
Nobody is responsible for rescuing you from your miserable life. There is no cavalry or some special person that is going to come to your house on a white horse and save you from all your troubles. You can dream about, wish for it, think hard about it, and cry about it all you want. It simply isn’t going to happen. If you want to see positive change in your life, you have to be responsible for doing the work to make that happen. This means shaking the dirt off your own armor, getting on your own white horse, and being your own hero.
4. Those who complain must learn to embrace their complaints.
There are two types of people in the world: those who bitch about everything and those who are grateful for anything. The things you complain about are yours to keep. They’re your babies; you get to hug them, talk to them, hate them, and love them. They also get to make you miserable on any given day. You can spend your whole life complaining about how you don’t have enough time or enough money or how no one is giving you a chance and how you had a terrible upbringing as excuses for not following your dreams and reaching your goals. Of course, everybody has at least one thing they can point to as a roadblock or a setback.
But therein is the difference between those who point fingers and those who put their fingers to work. The more you complain about your limitations, the more you find that you have them around. The more you use your limitations to do some good for yourself and the world, the stronger you find yourself becoming. Strong people ignore excuses that they could even make about themselves and choose to put their best foot forward, embrace the situations that come their way, be strong, and succeed.
“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
— Maya Angelou