What doesn’t kill you and why is it supposed to make you stronger?

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, originally phrased “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger” is a quote attributed to the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. You know, the one who talked about the abyss gazing back? That dude is just a bundle of laughs.

I’ve always hated that saying. Because it isn’t always true. Sometimes what doesn’t kill us just breaks us down even further before we eventually can’t take any more.

What I do believe is that what doesn’t kill you can reveal an inner strength you didn’t know you had. That has been especially true for me. I’ve had my fair share of bumps in the road over the course of my life. If my emotional psyche was a vehicle it would probably be a tank due to the number of metaphorical head-on and broadside collisions it has taken and survived.

A lot of times I have found myself certain that life was doling out more than I could handle, but somehow I managed to keep on keeping on. And if you ever find yourself feeling at the end of your rope it is important that you know you’re not alone. But there are ways to combat these feelings of desperation and helplessness.

  • Reach out. Your family and friends love you and would hate to know that they could help but you didn’t give them the chance. They really do want to be there for you, and you wouldn’t be burdening them with your problems.
  • Purge/share/channel your feelings. For normal people I mean join a chatroom or get a diary. There are chatrooms dedicated to every imaginable issue, full of empathetic listeners who understand your struggle. Diaries are great, not just for documenting your feelings for later reflection, but also for helping you to understand what it is that is going on in your mind.  For writers (those attempting to masquerade as normal people) I mean channel your feelings.  Use that pain.  Give it away.  Share the burden with your character.  By writing your inner anguish as if it belongs to someone else it helps you to distance yourself from those feelings.  And as the character overcomes those struggles, so too do you.
  • Distractions! Crank your favorite music and do every chore you’ve been neglecting.  Go outside.  Get out of your home/condo/apartment/isolated hut on the top of a mountain and do something!  Watch something funny on tv. (As I’m currently watching The Handmaid’s Tale this would be a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ situation)
  • Hire it out.  I cannot stress enough the power that is therapy.  A completely neutral party whose sole purpose is to tell you the truth and help you work through your issues?  Everyone on this wacky sphere we call a planet probably needs/needed therapy at one point in their lives.


No matter what you’re going through, know that the pain doesn’t last forever.  There will be happier times ahead.  You can do this!

Bye for now!

One thought on “What doesn’t kill you and why is it supposed to make you stronger?

  1. Great advice! I use it frequently and it has yet to fail! Thanks for the reminder. PS…I love you! A

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