“We can do hard things.” Most of us are likely familiar with this adage. It’s a mantra we’ve seen on social media, texted to friends, or even spoken to ourselves in moments we’ve needed a little boast.

I have it scripted on a cute wooden plaque in my apartment. When I first purchased the plaque, I understood the phrase to motivate me to work harder or longer at whatever challenge I was facing. But over time, my appreciation of the phrase has changed.

Years of healing physically and emotionally have helped me to reframe the message I hear in the phrase, “We can do hard things.” There was once a time when my willingness to do hard things was rooted in my desire to prove myself to others—to signify I was smart, talented, hardworking, or worthy. In those times, “We can do hard things” was a direct challenge for me to rise to the occasion and stretch myself.

Now, when I see that plaque I know I am capable, I don’t need to prove it to anyone, and I can do hard things. And I can also choose to take a break when I need to. I’ve learned that getting through difficult times is sort of like an art form—sometimes I need to show up with grit and tenacity and sometimes I need to step back and rest up, so I’m better prepared for challenges.

This week, we have a set of articles that talk about various challenges and how we learn, grow, and ultimately get through them. A Dating Unscripted piece shares how a difficult conversation about money deepened a woman’s relationship with her now-husband, as well as reshaped some of her beliefs on the topic. Another article discusses what a children’s book can teach us about getting through difficult times, and another writer shares a roundup of escapist reads when you just need to forget about your worries for a little while. In our “Life in” interview series we hear from one woman on managing the difficulties of living in Shanghai during the COVID-19 pandemic.


When you are facing difficult times, what helps you to get through them? Let us know here