My son likes to play the same radio station all day and night.
Hence, I keep hearing the hook line: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” After enough repetitions, wherein I nodded in agreement, I thought again.
The concept is wrong. And somewhat damaging.
It is a propagated myth that assists people in their attempts to feel proud when they struggle. Since pride is a desirable emotion this response contains the possibility of cementing us into the role of ‘overcomer’. Thus we must seek things to struggle against and overcome. It is like treading water in the story of your life.
In truth, anything that almost kills you leaves you needing to heal, which is a weaker state than being healthy already. Thus, challenges big enough to bring you close to death (or wishing for it) make you weaker than you would have been without this painful interruption in your life story.
True, if you are able to overcome without becoming habituated to overcoming, if you were already strong before the near death disabling incident happened, and you choose to embrace the unexpected information your experience presented you with, you may indeed appear stronger. This is because you are choosing to grow more perspective and, hence, sophistication as a result of the incident.
Understand, though, that is because you are already strong; strong enough to make the most of it.
Therefore, I would like to rewrite the hook line into: “What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker, unless you use the new experiential knowledge to pole vault yourself into awe-inspiring greater horizons of understanding.” But it probably won’t catch on. Truth is seldom as catchy as propaganda.
I’m saying it anyway:)