In her bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert told her story of self-discovery in which she spent a year journeying through Italy, India, and Indonesia.
On how people can go on a journey of self-discovery she notes:
The last thing I ever wanted to become is the Poster Child for “Everyone Must Leave Their Husband and Move to India In Order to Find God.” … It was my path—that is all it ever was. I drew up my journey as a personal prescription for solving my life. Transformative journeys come in many forms, though, and often happen without people ever leaving home.
As Scott Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire note in Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, “knowing loss, struggle, suffering, and defeat is crucial to the positive disintegration process and acts as a catalyst for personal growth, creativity, and deep transformation.”
Rather than something to be avoided or denied, it is the hardships and challenges both internal and external — that make us beautiful.
Making the best out of difficult experiences, Marcus Aurelius advised, is the key to turning adversity into advantage.
As Elisabeth Kübler-Ross famously wrote in On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families:
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.