How to Develop Your Character: Embrace Your Crosses and Challenges in Life With Enthusiasm

Pillar III: Embrace your Crosses and Challenges with Enthusiasm

The very idea of embracing a “cross” or challenge may seem ludicrous, however doing so has invaluable benefits to one’s personal character development. When you adopt a positive perspective of the purpose crosses and challenges have in your life you will yield invaluable benefits. One of the most valuable keys to living from the heart is constant self-improvement. In order to be shaped into our best selves, we must learn to embody Pillar III of the Seven Pillars of Life outlined in Gifts of the Heart.

Consider the poem below:

Sickness and sorrow come to us all,
But through it we grow and learn to stand tall—
For trouble is part and parcel of life,
And no man can grow without struggle and strife,
And the more we endure with patience and grace
The stronger we grow and the more we can face.
And the more we can face, the greater our love,
And with love in our hearts we are more conscious of
The pain and the sorrow in lives everywhere,
So it is through trouble that we learn how to share.

-By Helen Steiner Rice

As the poet so eloquently states, “the more we can face, the greater our love” Trouble, heartache and pain have many negative implications but there are countless positive benefits to these challenging life occurrences in our life. Here are some of the greatest benefits to embracing your life’s crosses and challenges with enthusiasm:

Balance: Crosses and challenges are a reminder that life is full of ups and downs, embracing this truth helps you to lead a life that is not blurred by mountain top vision nor disheartened by the blindness of the valley.

Compassion: When you embrace you own crosses and challenges you are better equipped to help others because you can identify and empathize with their pain.

Determination: When you endure what some would call long-suffering, the product of determination becomes written on the fabric of your character.

Direction: Difficult times help clarify for you what is most important in your life.

Patience: When you wait and trust for the best outcome while bearing crosses and challenges, faith is practiced and patience is cultivated and nurtured.

Purpose: Difficult times can often reveal your true purpose by illuminating what you were created to do regardless of your current state.

Resilience: Experience with adverse circumstances and negotiating the tough times makes it easier to bounce back when you are hit by hard times in life.

Strength: Muscles are strengthened through exercise. Likewise, going through adversity strengthens your character.

Wisdom: Learning provides knowledge and bearing crosses and challenges in life is very educational. When you embrace your crosses and challenges in life with enthusiasm, wisdom is obtained through suffering and you will know when and where to apply your life’s accumulated knowledge for favorable solutions in your life.

When you live by Pillar III you will begin to see noticeable changes in every area of your life. Embrace your crosses and challenges in life with enthusiasm because in the end they will make you stronger, build your resilience, and develop your character.


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