Life Doesn't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

Life Doesn't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

It's my choice to decide how to react, what to perceive and how intensely I care about certain things more than others.

Ryan Fan
Ryan Fan

"Life didn't change. God changed me."

One reader said this quote in the Tim Keller book, "Walking with God through Pain and Suffering." I thought it powerful at the time, but I've been thinking more about them: the sentiment has become more true since I read it. Often, we cannot change our circumstances, but we change the way we react in the face of them. In the case of a Christian, God changes how we weather, think, and react to circumstances, especially hard and excruciating ones.

I have been taught and have written before about how gratitude is the best way to compensate for resentment. I, too, am grateful for every mistake I've made in ways that I have wronged others, and am grateful for every way I have been wronged. But sometimes I slip, and when I do, it helps to realize that those slips are merely growth pains in a path and plan for spiritual formation. It helps to remind myself of the sentiment, also, that "life doesn't get easier, but you just get stronger."

Resentment in our lives comes from things not going as we originally planned them. Maybe losing control isn't such a bad thing, because we'll never have life go completely as planned. We can only react to what happens, and every challenge isn't a hurdle, but a re-directing into another place we didn't know before.

The actual quote, put more eloquently, is from Steve Maraboli, popular radio talk show host and author of "Life, the Truth, and Being Free," is that "life doesn't get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient."

It is true that things don't get easier, but we just become better equipped to deal with them. With more familiarity to the same difficult challenges, we fear those challenges less, learn from our mistakes, and ready up for the next storm.

I remember the first time I ran in 25 degree weather as a freshman in high school with my cross country teammates in New York. I wore a T-shirt, basketball shorts, and no gloves, running 11 miles through the snow with my friends. I knew immediately that I made a terrible mistake: by the end of the run, my entire body was read, my hands were so dry they were bloody, and my coach went up to me and said, "what the hell are you doing?"

Things did not get better in the next couple of days. In fact, it got even colder. I made sure to wear a sweatshirt and sweatpants, and since then, I've been well-prepared running in the cold, rain, snow, or whatever condition there is. One time, my friend and I ran in the middle of Hurricane Sandy, heard the loud snap of a tree, decided it was a terrible idea and sprinted back home.

In the words of Brianna Wiest of Thought Catalog, "every experience we have is inherently neutral. That's hard to grasp when things seem so changed. But things simply are, no better, no worse." A common saying is psychology is that a situation is never good or bad. It just is, and we personally evaluate and decide to assess valence to that situation. Most things aren't as simple as good or bad; they're both.

Time does not heal all wounds. I believe that is a misconception: time is a resource with which we heal our own wounds, through which God gives us the strength. Life often moves very slowly, and in my experience, life doesn't change as fast as we like, or at least I like. But it is in experiencing pain that we know what joy is, because emotions are all relative to each of us.

Wiest puts it best, and continues in saying that "we start to realize that we are only as grateful as we were once without. We are only as accepting as we were once exclusive. We are only as happy as we were once suffering. The change that happens is a change in perception."

She goes on to urge us to just let things be and not extrapolate meaning and assumption from our circumstances. "We'd find that the majority of our angst and frustration comes from allowing ourselves to the whim of other uncertain means. We'd realize that things only matter as much as we decide they do."

I've asked myself a question recently, in that my life hasn't changed that much, and I still endure the same level and manner of suffering: so what? So what if people judge and speculate about you? So what if many of your friends betrayed you? So what if life isn't the same? So what if it's gone in another direction and I've had to adapt?

It's my choice to decide how to react, what to perceive and how intensely I care about certain things more than others. I still haven't made the decision as to what matters to me and what doesn't, but God has given me the insight to realize that I am the one in control of my own life, no one else. "Our lives are genuinely the result of however we perceive them," Wiest ends. "For better, for worse, for now, for always."

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.

Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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My Experience Getting The Nexplanon Implant

Why I got this form of birth control and what you need to know if you are considering it.


There are many different reasons for a woman to be on birth control; whether it is to prevent pregnancy, regulate periods or clear acne, each woman uses birth control for different outcomes. Although there are many opinions surrounding birth control, it is an important subject for women to be educated on in order for them to individually make the best decision for their health and lifestyle.

There are many different forms of birth control, both hormonal and non-hormonal, including the everyday oral pills, the IUD, the patch, the implant, the ring and many more. The most common hormonal contraceptives include the hormones estrogen and progestin, or a combination of both, and each hormonal combination can affect every woman in a different way, so as a disclaimer, my birth control experience will most likely differ from every other woman's.

I have been through a rollercoaster of side effects, emotions, and changeS for more than two years due to being on and off of birth control pills. Finding the right combination that reaped the side effects I could handle was difficult. I was on an estrogen-only pill for most of my freshman year of college which cleared my face, did not effect my weight and had good physical benefits for my anemia. Although I couldn't complain about the physical side effects, I decided to stop using this form of birth control due to the anxiety it caused.

Many women struggle with a change in mentality because of birth control hormones and although it can be manageable, there are so many other options and combination of hormones that can allow for a happier mental state. After months of research and conversations with my gynecologist, I decided to go on Nexplanon, which is a small hormonal implant that lasts up to three years.

The main reasons I chose the Nexplanon implant were how it would affect my anemia and mental state, as well as the reliability of not having to worry about taking a pill the same time every day. This decision was not made lightly because Nexplanon is not a form of birth control that I can stop taking or remove easily since it is surgically placed beneath the skin. Nexplanon contains the etonogestrel hormone which, because of its location, releases a low dose into the bloodstream over the course of three years.

The side effects concerning menstrual cycles vary from no bleeding at all to light spotting and even to heavy bleeding. Every woman who receives the implant has a different chemical balance in her body, therefore a doctor cannot accurately predict the patterns and side effects that will occur within a recipient of Nexplanon.

The insertion procedure involved my doctor marking the area where the implant would be placed, sterilizing the location, numbing the area with an injection and inserting the implant with its corresponding applicator. The only painful part of the procedure was the numbing injection, which could be compared to a bee sting lasting five seconds and after that, there was no feeling in my arm. The implant was placed in my non-dominant arm due to the bruising and pain that would be experienced during the healing process. The day of the insertion, I experienced the most pain due to the discomfort of the bruising and sensitivity of the area, but every day after that, my arm recuperated very quickly.

Overall, I made the right decision for my mind and body by choosing to get the Nexplanon implant. If you are experiencing any mental or physical side effects that you do not favor, talk to your gynecologist in order to discuss changing your birth control method, or if you are considering starting birth control for the first time, do your research and make sure you make the right decision for you.

Every woman will experience different side effects on the same forms of birth control, so make sure to never judge a method on reviews because your body could react differently. Birth control is not a subject to shy away from due to the benefits it yields on young women, especially in college, and starting or switching birth controls for the safety and happiness of your lifestyle is always an option to consider.

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