TED Conversations

Scott Seigel

HCS

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

How has enduring some extreme hardship profoundly impacted your life?

Twenty years ago, the death of my best friend allowed me to cry after the Army had "trained" it out of me. Recently marital separation has caused me to evaluate and refocus my life on deeper, more valuable things than pleasure, power, status and wealth. Voluntarily living to serve and care for others transcends logic and selfishness. It's benefits far surpass self-serving forms of love. Whether you are "paying it forward," "doing as you'd want others to do for you," or "creating good karma," personally making the world a better place probably benefits the doer most of all. Furthermore, the more you're willing to endure and suffer, the better the result.

+10
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 7 2012: The hardship I've been through is that of being bullied severely in school. Most people to whom I say this tell me that it is a small thing, but it is not. For very long bullying has crippled me in my social life and my own development. It nearly broke me. I wanted to be like everyone else but I couldn't, because of what had been done to me.
    But when I went to college things changed and I noticed that there were people who didn't give up on me. Gradually I grew back into myself. Now I have become myself again, this may sound stupid but it is how I feel it. I have learned to be myself and although I am still a little crippled I feel I can meet the world eye to eye at last.
    I know that I will always have trouble with dealing with certain situations because of the bullying. But rahter then letting the memories control me, I have learned to use them and my weaknesses of the past have become my strength. Despite my problems with facing groups I have now a teaching degree and even though people made me believe I was stupid I will graduate as a history major this year.
    I turned the memories that haunted me into my motivation. That's how hardship changed me: I learned to see hardship, not as problems, but as opportunities.
    • thumb
      May 7 2012: Beautiful Kim, what an encouraging comment! Pursue things that give you wings. I hope you love teaching as much as I do. One of the best things I've had occasion to teach is that bullies come in all shapes and sizes. I like to teach my classes (and smaller groups) to stand up to bullies. Fear, both social (rejection, ostracism, ridicule) and physical (personal welfare & property safety) are the tools bullies use. The trick is two part: empowerment and compassion. First I prepare and equip the majority of students to respond with unity and confidence (solidarity) whenever they see injustice. Next, I teach them to have compassion, (by understanding the insecurity of bullies), rather than to escalate things (by rejecting and/or assaulting bullies right back). This is NOT typically encompassed within standard, best practices. It takes a bit of confidence on the teacher's part too!
      • thumb
        May 7 2012: Excellent point Scott!
        Those who bully others are insecure. As soon as everyone is aware of that fact, the bullies will lose their power/control.

        Glad you have the confidence to teach what you are teaching Scott...it is needed in our world:>)
        • thumb
          May 8 2012: Ausum Scott!!
          loved you description and it conveys your student do love the way you teach them!!
      • May 8 2012: Scott,

        your comment on empowerment and compassion reminded me of a small incident I witnessed when I was studying to get my teachersdegree. As part of our education my school had us guide mentally challenged teenagers through the capitol. None of my students had ever been to Brussels and had many prejudices against begars ("they are all frauds and they spend their money on drugs and alcohol). I disagreed with them and I was a little upset that they looked at beggars this way since I knew what it was not to be accepted. So I talked to them for most of the day about the problems that beggars faced. Even though they listened to me I did not have the impression they were actually learning something from it.
        However, when we were having lunch in a hamburgerrestaurant (we let the kids choose) I noticed that they were consantly leaning towards the window onto the street, as if they were watching 2 beggars that were sitting there. After lunch I asked them what that was all about. They told me they had given half of their lunch to the beggars.
        That was a proud moment for me as a teacher. :)
        • thumb
          May 8 2012: Thanks Kim! We teachers have a great job indeed. :-)
    • thumb
      May 7 2012: Dear Kim,
      Bullying is a horrible experience. I watched my son be bullied much of his school life because he liked music, theater, literature, and things that did not seem to "fit in" with the other "guys". It was painful to observe, and painful to him as well. It is NOT a small thing Kim. Bullying can indeed cripple people, and we have seen many suicides caused by bullying.

      You say..."it nearly broke me"....."nearly" is the operative word my friend. What you say does not sound "stupid" at all, and I'm grateful that you shared this information, because it is so needed in our world. When you can meet the world "eye to eye" as you say, you are NOT crippled at all.....remember that.....believe it.

      What I observe in my son, is that because of the bullying, he is a very considerate, compassionate, empathic person. He realized the ramifications of bullying, and does not repeat that behavior. It seems that you recognize this as well.

      I believe that understanding gives you more strength to deal with others AND yourself, So, how about believing totally in yourself? You are very wise in knowing that your "weaknesses of the past have become your strength". Actually, what happened in the past was not YOUR weakness, but rather the weakness of the bullies....do you see that?

      Kim, you are VERY WISE to see challenges as opportunities. My respect to you my friend:>) I wish I could give you MANY thumbs up, and I am only allowed one:>)
      • thumb
        May 7 2012: Colleen is right, Kim, here's another thumbs up from me :-D

        Colleen, thanks for sharing this. It's no coincidence than the words "teen" and "mean" rhyme. What teens need is to be attended to, heard and challenged. They are NOT children and we err terribly in coddling and condoning immaturity in them. They are also not fully adults. In order to call greatness out of them, we need to help them stretch and grow. That means they need to push their limits. The question is which ones. If we neglect to lead them, selfishness prevails. But we mustn't discourage their curiosity either. Each teen is a unique jigsaw puzzle. Our job is helping them figure out how to make their pieces fit together to create the best picture of who they will become. So many bullies mess up the other kids' puzzles because no one has yet helped them solve theirs.
        • thumb
          May 7 2012: Scott,
          You've said a LOT here that is not specific to only teens.

          We all need to be attended to, heard and challenged. We all need support and encouragement as we stretch, grow and maybe push our limits. We all need to figure out how to make the pieces of the life experience "fit", and it is a LOT better if we can do it as teens, rather than wait untill we are older!

          True..."so many bullies mess up the other kids' puzzles because no one has yet helped them solve theirs". Unfortunately, this very insighful statement applies to adults as well!
    • May 9 2012: I can relate Kim. I had no self esteem, I now like to say I checked it at the door when I was born. I lived most of my life afraid of who I was. This resulted in being severely bullied, not having boyfriends, financial struggles, feeling isolated, beating myself up mentally daily, I could go on and on. The sad thing is I continued living with this perception of me as nothing, even after those around me saw me as successful.

      The wonderful thing,I was brought to a space 5 years ago where I thought I was going to lose everything, my family, my home, my money. When I was in the darkest space I felt bliss (weird I thought) I began a journey of self exploration where I learned to feel love for myself and let myself shine. This led me to developing fully my intuitive abilities and I now help others heal their own self sabotage. I am now the person I only used to dream I could be.
    • thumb
      May 14 2012: Kim, You'll make a fantastic teacher because you will teach more than history - you'll teach kids about respect and being open minded and open hearted about other people. If you hadn't suffered at the hands of those insecure bullies, you may not have learned the life lessons you so obviously have. Good luck :-)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.