In “Freckles,” Gene Stratton Porter wrote, “We never know the timber of a man’s soul until something cuts into him deeply and brings the grain out strong.” We are all faced with controversy, difficulties, challenges, and heartache at times in our lives. This is the way of being human.

Very often we are faced with life’s pain and find it hard to understand why are burdened with the pain. In Man’s search for meaning,” Viktor Frankel said that suffering is a call to meaning. We cannot grow as human beings without experiencing pain, however difficult it is to understand at first. Very often we can only see this with hindsight.

A practical exercise would be to write down a painful experience you have experienced in the past. What were your initial thoughts, feelings, and actions to deal with this? Perhaps you felt resentful and bitter. With hindsight, can you find meaning and lessons in these experiences? If so, write them down.

If someone had to ask me today if I would like to “rewind” my past excluding the difficulties, hurts, and challenges, I would answer with a firm “no.” It is those experiences that shaped and moulded my character today.