“It’s in the struggle itself that you define yourself.” (Pat Buchanan)
It is easy to do the right thing, when seas are calm. It’s easy to be friendly, kind, cheerful and sweet, when the path before you is wide and easy to navigate. It’s easy to have a bright outlook when everything around you is coming up roses. It is only when the boat rocks, when the path is strewn with boulders, and when everything is coming up weeds that a person’s true self is revealed.
I know for myself that when times are good, and my life is relatively calm, I can exhibit all of the ideal characteristics I want for myself. I am patient, kind, loving, tolerant, understanding, dedicated, and so on. But, when times get tough, I have to remind myself not to become edgy. I have to remind myself not to take on attitudes that are expedient, but rather to stay the course.
It is the trial, it is the fire that burns away the façade and leaves behind the real structure.
In my own life there have been times when faced with trouble, that I allowed myself to become someone I didn’t want to be. I became surly, impatient, and sour. I couldn’t see anything but the difficulty I faced, and I allowed IT to shape ME.
I have learned that when I stay true to who I am, when I keep to my principles and core values, I will always be more successful and will overcome the obstacles. That doesn’t mean I don’t still stumble on the rocks. I am human and make my fair share of mistakes. But, armed with the wisdom born of trials, I know that the sooner I get back to who I want to be, rather than slipping into someone else, the sooner I will right the ship of my life.
Today’s quote reminds me that it is through struggle, and difficulty that I define who I am and what I portray to the world, and to myself. There are always struggles. The seas don’t stay calm for long, the boulders are always around the next corner, and weeds spring up much faster than roses. There are opportunities on a daily basis to refine and hone who I am into who I want to be.