If you’ve overcome these 9 challenges in life, you’re tougher than most (according to psychology)

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Some challenges in life have a way of shaping us and making us tougher. It’s these challenges that mold us into the resilient, capable individuals we are. 

With each obstacle we overcome, we add another layer to our strength and fortitude, turning us into the people we’re meant to be.

So, let’s see what challenges in life often make us tougher than most, according to psychology. Through my personal experience, I’ll try to paint a clearer picture. 

1) Loss 

Psychology recognizes that loss, whether it’s the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or another significant life change, can have profound effects on individuals. 

One theory that helps explain this phenomenon is the concept of post-traumatic growth (PTG). PTG suggests that you can experience positive psychological changes as a result of coping with highly challenging life circumstances, such as loss.

And sure enough, losing someone I deeply cared about rocked me to my core. Not having them in my life anymore left a void in my life that I struggled to fill. 

Over time, I learned that grief isn’t something you just get over. It’s a thing you learn to live with. 

Still, I carry their memory with me every day, finding comfort in the moments we shared and the impact they had on my life.

2) Failure

Just like loss, failure can also shape us and make us tougher. While failure is often seen as a negative experience, research in psychology suggests that it can lead to personal growth and resilience in many ways.

Personally, failing at something I poured my heart into was a hard pill to swallow. It made me question my abilities and if I was on the right path. 

But through that failure, I discovered resilience. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and approached the next challenge with renewed determination. Failure wasn’t the end—it was just a detour on the road to success.

Each time we face failure and push through it, we strengthen our resilience muscles, making us better equipped to handle future challenges.

3) Rejection

While rejection can be emotionally challenging, research and theories in psychology suggest that it can also lead to growth and resilience.

Being rejected stung. It made me doubt my worth and whether I was deserving of love or success. But again, after some time passed, I realized that rejection wasn’t a reflection of my value. 

It was simply a mismatch of expectations or circumstances. I learned to embrace rejection as a natural part of life and an opportunity for development.

If you look at it that way, you’re almost looking forward to it because you know you’ll eventually come out on top stronger and smarter. 

4) Betrayal

From a psychological perspective, betrayal can lead to feelings of shock, anger, and sadness. It also suggests that betrayal can have long-lasting effects on our mental and emotional well-being. 

Plus, betrayal can impact our ability to trust others in the future, making it difficult to form new relationships or maintain existing ones.

Discovering that someone I trusted had betrayed me cut deep. It shattered my sense of security and made me question who I could rely on. 

On the flip side, it also taught me the importance of boundaries and insight. I became more cautious about who I let into my inner circle. From that point, trust was something to be earned.

5) Loneliness

Loneliness is a complex and deeply human experience that psychologists have extensively studied. 

It’s not just about being physically alone but can also occur even when surrounded by others if we feel disconnected or misunderstood.

Feeling alone in a crowded room was a recurring theme in my life. It seemed like no matter how many people surrounded me, I still felt isolated. 

But in those moments of solitude, I found clarity. I learned to enjoy my own company, cherish the quiet moments of reflection, and develop a deeper connection with myself.

Despite the negative consequences of loneliness, psychologists also recognize that it can serve as a signal for change. 

It can motivate us to seek out new social connections, strengthen existing relationships, or engage in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.

6) Illness

Wow, it’s been a tough road with loss, failure, rejection, betrayal, and loneliness so far. But with illness, it only becomes tougher, right?

If something can profoundly change us, it’s battling with a serious mental or physical disease.  

Although I luckily never had a more serious disease, I had a fair share of challenges in this regard. For instance, last year, I couldn’t stop coughing for two weeks straight, day or night. 

Every 5-10 seconds, I’d cough violently, and that honestly felt like hell on Earth. It tested my strength and resilience in ways I never imagined. 

I spent more than 10 days in bed, sipping on water every 10 seconds because that was the only thing that helped, even if just a little bit.

That whole ordeal also taught me the importance of self-care and seeking support. 

I discovered a newfound appreciation for my body and mind, recognizing their resilience and capacity for healing. I still think about this horrible experience every week.

7) Uncertainty

Uncertainty is a strange one. Living with it was like walking on shaky ground. I never knew what the future held, and it filled me with anxiety. 

But amidst the uncertainty, I found moments of serenity. I learned to focus on the present, to embrace the unknown as an adventure waiting to unfold instead of a source of fear.

From a psychological perspective, uncertainty refers to the lack of predictability or clarity about future events, outcomes, or situations.

However, uncertainty isn’t inherently negative. In fact, it can also serve as a catalyst for growth and adaptation. 

Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as the opportunity mindset, which means you’re basically embracing uncertainty as a chance for learning, exploration, and personal development.

8) War 

I hail from Croatia originally, and we went through a devastating war at the beginning of the nineties. I was only 7-12 years old when it happened, and it left a deep impact on me, as it did on most of my fellow countrymen. 

Wars expose people to traumatic experiences, such as violence, loss of loved ones, and displacement. 

These traumatic events can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

But going through war makes you tough as nails, plain and simple. When you’re thrown into that kind of chaos, you don’t have a choice but to toughen up real quick. 

You learn to roll with the punches, adapt to whatever comes your way, and keep your head up even when everything around you is falling apart.

9) Injustice

Witnessing and experiencing this injustice ignited a fire within me. It fueled my passion for standing up for what’s right and fighting for change. 

But it also taught me patience and perseverance. I realized that change takes time and effort, but it’s worth it to create a more just and honest world for future generations.

Be the change you want to see in the world, right? 

Final thoughts 

Life can be tough, no doubt about it. We all face challenges like losing someone we love, failing at something important, or feeling rejected or betrayed.

But even though these challenges can be super hard to deal with, they also give us a chance to grow and become stronger. 

Think about it like this: when we face tough times, we learn stuff about ourselves that we didn’t know before. 

We figure out what really matters to us, who we can count on, and how strong we actually are.

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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