“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

That seems rather cliché, doesn’t it?  Yet, the maxim by an 18th century philosopher has been used everywhere, even in the form of modified song lyrics.  Some people scoff at this saying, “if I break my leg, will that make me stronger?”  Well, in analyzing this, there are two different kinds of strength: mental and physical.  Physical strength, the obvious kind of “strength,” is just as it sounds– power and agility.  But mental strength, the overlooked and often forgotten kind, is unarguably more important.

Mental strength is the voice inside you.  It is the will of you and your conscience, fueled by determination and tenacity, to try harder and be better. It pushes you on to accomplishing things you never thought possible.  It is the driving force that compels you forward: “You can do it.  Stay strong.  You’ll get through this.  Persevere.”

Additionally, people who scoff at Nietzsche’s words overlook the figurative meaning of “dying.”  Dying, just like strength, has physiological and real-life attributions.  In the tangible sense, once someone is dead, they are no longer alive.  But mentally, a person can “die” when they lose their will and conviction to push on– their will is crushed, defeated.  They become “dead” inside.

“I can’t do it.  It’s impossible.  I’m just going to give up.”

“What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.”  Yes.  Every struggle, every battle we overcome will make us stronger.


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