Sometimes life just smacks you across the face, and everything lately seems to be going awry. You could be faced with a mountainous workload, personal life issues, or a challenge you just can’t overcome. A bunch of things keep going wrong, and suddenly your life is like a game of Jenga, and one more wrong move might make you want to fall to pieces.
To add to that, we live in a technological age in which we are constantly connected to other people. Consequently, we are bombarded with social media’s highlight reels edited to perfection and filtered to the max.
According to HealthLine.com, Oscar Ybarra, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, notes that, “Even if individuals are aware of the ‘curated’ nature of many online platforms, they nevertheless feel like, ‘How am I stacking up?’ compared to what these people are presenting.”
Too often we are too hard on ourselves. We are our own worst critics, and we can never quite fully reach that level of satisfaction with ourselves. What we actually achieve is not always up to par with what we aim.
My whole life, I was a soft-spoken, meek girl who was painfully shy. In school, teachers and classmates alike knew me as quiet. I listened more than I spoke, and was always content with being on the sidelines.
But of course, once I got to college, I couldn’t just stay in my shell forever. College forced me to go out of my comfort zone. I fell headfirst into an introvert’s worst nightmare: a whole new environment where I didn’t really know anyone.
I think my shyness was attributed to a lack of confidence, a fear of being perceived negatively by others. But with time and much effort, I can say I have I gotten better. I have a close-knit group of friends whom I cherish dearly, I am not so afraid to participate in class anymore, and I can speak up for myself, though sometimes it proves to be difficult.
The comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
Whenever I think back to how I used to be, I remind myself that we are perfectly imperfect. That is the beauty of humanity. Humanity is endearing in its vulnerability, lovely in its flaws and warm in its sensitivity. After all, "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all." (The Emperor, Mulan).
The Grand Canyon endured centuries upon centuries of nature wearing away its tough exterior. Look how erosion in the form of water, wind and rain had crafted its hardiness into one of the most beautiful wonders of the world. Its strength and endurance is highlighted through its vast array of earthly tones. Now it stands as a glorious product of all that it has weathered.
In the face of adversity, sometimes the most trying situations are the ones that we need. God does not give us anything we cannot handle. These situations craft and mold us into more beautiful, better versions of ourselves. Though the wind may chill us to the bone, we must weather the storm, and, as Maya Angelou said, “Still, I rise.”
Kristel Domingo is a sophomore nursing major from Edison, NJ. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.