Everyone faces at least one life challenge. No one, or at least no one that I know of, sails through life without facing some type of difficulty. When you reveal the challenges you have faced in your life, you allow others to connect with you.
Explaining Life Challenges ≠ Pity Party
Some people avoid writing about their difficulties and life challenges out of fear that they’ll leave a legacy of a whine fest, or worse—they’ll become the object of unwelcome pity. Of course, that’s a personal decision. However, with a little care, you can write openly about your life challenges without whining.
Write about a challenging situation you found your way through
Luckily, not all life challenges are permanent. How you found you way beyond difficult circumstances or situations often becomes a defining factor of your personality, or at least gives insight into the person you became. Even life challenges that are not all dire or serious can make us wiser. Think back, did you have what you thought was an insurmountable problem that simply turned out to be a set back? Include these circumstances in your writing. Such life challenges could include educational setbacks, job loss turned into a career change, overcoming disease, bankruptcy, etc. How difficult was your journey? Who helped you through? From where did you gather strength?
Write about how you cope with on-going situations
Life challenges often involve life taking us on a path that we had not planned on going down. Devastating events can set a turning point in life—memories and stories are literally divided into before and after the event. Have you been presented with a life challenge with which you’ve had to make your peace? How have your found strength? What helps you cope? What would you like family members to understand? Such life challenges can include a child with a disability, loss of a loved one, or devastating medical diagnosis. (Hint: if you’re dealing with loss, Navigating Grief has many helpful writing and journaling tips.)
Life challenges are often invisible to others. You can’t always tell what people struggle with by looking at them. According to the Invisible Disability Association, 125 million people suffer with a chronic disease but many of these people look and act “normal.” Do you have a disability with which you cope on a daily basis? Sharing can not only help you connect with others with similar problems, but can also help your family and friends understand what makes you tick. Go ahead and describe how coping makes your life different. Include the things that you wish other people understood. The list of such life challenges can include emotional illnesses such as anxiety or depression, ADHD, learning disabilities, chronic pain syndromes, arthritis, etc. (The Invisible Disability Association also has great resources.)