The 10 Truths About Struggle Strength Through Struggle

The 10 Truths About Struggle: Truth 4 of 10

July 13, 2023
Boulder Crest Foundation

Why We Struggle Poorly

When we struggle, we need training, not treatment.

Military people fundamentally believe in one thing: that human beings are malleable and designed to grow and evolve. I work for a retired Navy Bomb Disposal Technician, which is widely considered to be the world’s most dangerous job – and that’s before you count the fact that while they’re disarming bombs, people are trying to kill them. Bomb Disposal Techs believe that with good training, it’s very easy to disarm a bomb. They believe that people can be trained to do anything under extreme circumstances.

The problem is that no one trains us on how to live, no one teaches us how to struggle.

Help seems to come only after we’ve reached out for it. Most only reach out after they’ve hit rock bottom and are mentally and emotionally at their most compromised. For those who do reach out, they find our current system dictates that there is something ailing these men and women which must be diagnosed and treated. This treatment approach uses a combination of drugs and talk therapy designed only to help someone feel less bad, rather than offering a proactive approach about how to struggle well and grow.

Ultimately, that symptom management approach seems to set veterans and their families up for never-ending need.

That they would always be reliant on some sort of help to function that likely includes a fistful of pills with nasty side effects. When we do this – when we diagnose people, or give them diminishing labels, or call out every single symptom and give people a pill for every problem – they take their foot off the gas. They stop moving forward. They remain stuck in hopelessness and despair thinking that the best they can hope for is that today will be less bad than yesterday. They become diminished versions of themselves. This is what we at Boulder Crest Foundation call “learned hopelessness.” This is not what people want, no matter how difficult their lives are. People want fulfillment and connection. They want purpose and progress. They want growth, love, and peace.

When we treat people as if we believe this is possible, it becomes possible.

Posttraumatic Growth gives you the opportunity to claim a new label – a label that proclaims that you’ve been through really tough times and you didn’t simply survive, you thrived. You thrived not in spite of, but because of your experiences.

What the military and first responder communities taught me is that we need go beyond treatment and TRAIN people – not just when they’re struggling but before they even start – to learn how to build a life that’s authentic, fulfilling, and purposeful – a life that might not have been possible any other way.

Be Well. Do Well. Struggle Well.


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