Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Marines are trained to surmount all obstacles, a teaching that greatly helps them when in the turmoil of battle. This notion is ingrained in the Marine mantra: “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome” (USMC, n.d.) a mentality that enables soldiers to cope with hardships, be of a spiritual, physical or mental nature. I believe, that irrespective of who you are and what you do, your capability to apply this mantra to a hardship is the key to resolving.
I believe in embracing hardship. I believe in hardship’s inescapability, and in its dogged persistence in shaping me. And while facing hardship in one’s lifetime is ineluctable, how I deal with it isn’t, and embracing hardship as such has guided me through life and helped me grow. Now, the idea of embracing pain and hardship may seem masochistic to you. Hardship isn’t something you usually welcome with open arms into your life. But hear me out.
I learned the importance of “improvising, adapting, and overcoming” hardship from a very young age. Throughout my life, I experienced and witnessed more hardships than most people have. Needless to say, these experiences had an impact on me, and still do to this day. But not in the way you may think. Rather than letting those experiences victimize me, I decided very early on to embrace my scars and see them not as a curse, but as an opportunity for growth. To acknowledge my hardships as an invitation to improvise, adapt, and overcome.
Having experienced those hardships and still carrying them with me today hasn’t stopped me from pursuing my goals; au contraire; having this holistic mentality has made me stronger and has enabled me to grow as a person, ignite true and good healing and stay determined rather than discouraged.
So ironically, I view my painful past as a gift that has enabled me to become stronger, grow as a person, and have a different outlook on life. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “Calm seas never made a good sailor” (Roosevelt, n.d.). I believe that life isn’t meant to be a calm “sea” where we experience only good things and sail on without difficulty. The purpose is to sail through rough waters and experience those hardships of life in order to learn from them and master them through improvisation, adaptation, and overcoming. For me, it has integrated itself into the person that I am today. My hardships are simply what makes me, me. The struggles that I face, the barriers that I need to overcome, they all build into making me a better person.
So I carry these hardships, both fatally and ordinarily with me. And I believe it to be a good thing. For every scar I bear tells a story. And while I may never rid myself of those scars, simply knowing that they’re a part of me and embracing them as such has enabled me to walk through the hazardous walks of life more surely. And while I may still walk through life restlessly, I believe that I am fortunate to have encountered, felt and continue to commemorate those life experiences, both the good and the bad.