We’ve all heard this before:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
It’s not inherently or necessarily true.
So many things that literally or figuratively try to kill us don’t leave us better or stronger.
Cancer didn’t kill me. (Hooray!) Am I stronger? Certainly not physically. I trained with a trainer for several years after treatment ended and was never as strong as I was the day I was admitted to the hospital.
Still waiting on the potential long-term side effects. It’s only been 12 years, and those are estimated to kick in after 15 to 20.
I’m sure my gut flora was completely wiped out and may or may not ever recover. (There’s a growing body of evidence that gut bacteria are ridiculously important to our physical and mental health.)
Mentally stronger? Eh. Sometimes negative situations help you to learn and grow, and sometimes they give you PTSD. Life doesn’t need to be at “trying to kill you” level in order for you to learn and grow.
What makes us stronger? Productive challenges.
Things that are hard, that challenge us but aren’t off the deep end. Sometimes we can create these ourselves. Certainly life offers us ample options for growth.
The thing is: whether you choose to grow or choose to become withdrawn or bitter has little to do with the scope of the challenge.
So. Let’s get rid of this saying, shall we?