“Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.”

Via Kate Bartolotta
on Sep 16, 2012
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 Once upon a time I broke my leg.

No big deal. Lots of people do.

For me, it was one of those defining moments where we decide how to look at life. Do we hide from pain or do we face it? Do we accept the present moment, or avoid it and distract ourselves from it? I decided, then, that I wanted to learn from the hard things in life. I realized that I would rather feel pain, than feel nothing. I would rather be weathered and shaped by life than closed off and unaffected.

Sometimes I still forget. I want a break. I want a do-over. I want to distract myself when something hurts. I want to think about the good moments instead.

But if I do that, I’m missing out. We can’t ever get to that right time where we have perfect balance and every thing is smooth sailing. We only have now, whatever it happens to be.

And that, in itself, makes all the difference.

Right now, we have the opportunity, the perfect space to be completely present. We have it over and over, and so often—we miss it.

Right now, my hair is wet from the shower. My feet are freezing. I’m hungry but I’ve waited so long post-workout to eat that I can’t figure out what I want and it’s making me grumpy.

A few minutes ago, I caught myself mumbling as I dressed, rolling over a past unhappy moment over and over in my mind. Then, I heard my children playing in the other room, laughing hysterically at something.

I looked out my window and saw a family of deer in my woods. I stood still and noticed my wet skin, goosebumpy and shivering. I listened to my children laughing. I realized the pain that I was causing myself in that moment wasn’t even real. This isn’t to say that we don’t have painful moments, but often “the most difficult times are the ones we give ourselves.”

When we look at and cling to the past, it’s mostly our perspective, our imagination, that we let affect us—with pleasure or pain. When we long for the future, for some other thing than right now, we are doing the same thing. Whether these projections make us feel good or bad, we’re missing out.

We need to be fully present, right now.



About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven. She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. Kate's books are now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.


12 Responses to ““Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.””

  1. Heather says:

    Pema Chodron is wonderful. I once read, "When everything falls apart"….it is like a bible on how to live. The ride is never over….so the poem is very fitting……Once we think we have it all figured out, "bam"..right in your face…or you think you can deal with this and that…so I have come know and believe let life happen….it is the best teacher of all.

  2. […] “Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.” (elephantjournal.com) […]

  3. Venessa says:

    You don't need to escape from a problem rather face it and get affected, then only you will know how to get out of this problem. It is very difficult to judge a problem by just seeing others getting into it.

  4. My divorce. The passing of my beloved Lab. Years of dealing with my difficult grandmother. Blowing my knee out. All the most beautiful growing points for me. All my teachers. The “good” times also teachers, creating gratitude for the “bad” for balance and a big, fat window for awareness.

  5. […] “Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.” (elephantjournal.com) […]

  6. Chantele says:

    My defining moment was about 6 inches lower, I completely understand. Thanks for sharing Kate.

  7. […] us “real.” It’s when all of our defenses and pretenses are worn away by life. It’s when we have allowed ourselves to be affected by all of it: What is REAL?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day… “Does it mean having things […]

  8. […] “Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you.” (elephantjournal.com) […]

  9. […] is there, standing guard, infusing your backbone with her power—and the first (and every) time your heart breaks and you have to peel yourself off of the floor, she is the invisible force of grace that keeps you from falling over […]

  10. Keepingitreal says:

    Thank you so much for this. You are right that life gets hard, but staying present is important. I think I will bookmark this page and read it whenever I get lost.