Embracing Life’s Challenges: How Problems Shape Us and Inspire Others

October 30, 2023
Vanessa Angela Sugianto is a 20-year-old girl from Indonesia who is in her second year of university, at Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University. She is interested in mental health matters, and it was grown by the active support and action of her good university friend who introduced her to Be There Certificate. At the moment, she becomes the leader of the Students Journalistic Organization in her faculty. Moreover, she also has actively participated as the committee for some events. In addition, she was the 1st runner-up in an essay writing contest in the 2nd Asian University Virtual Friendship Games 2022.
This story took place in Indonesia

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Have you ever watched the Aladdin movie? If in this life, suddenly, you had a chance to have that magic lamp, what would you ask for? Would you ask that you face any problems in your life? Yes, life might be perfect if we did not have any problems in it, but is it possible? I am afraid that it is not since problems are inevitable things we must face in this life, but somehow, I would say that ‘problems’ are the magic tool given to us to grow our character and enrich our experience in this life.

Maybe your problem prevents you from reaching the dream you’ve had since you were a child. On the other hand, maybe you have worked hard and nearly see your success, but something messing up your plan suddenly appears in the most critical time, so you end up losing everything you have built. Perhaps, it just happened, and when you remember it, it still feels dark, dismaying, scary, and suffocating – so suffocating that you want to find a way to escape. Or, maybe you think that those problems happened due to your own mistakes, blaming yourself which leaves the feeling of uselessness, pain, hatred, and frustration in you hearts. If those things are related to your condition right now, your emotions are valid. It’s okay to feel that way for awhile and just let it all out.

I would like to remind you of one statement that my good friend said to me when I was down: “Problems always have an expiration date.” There must be a rainbow after the rain, as well as the light after the dark. Therefore, having problems is actually okay, even if it is your failure. Just remember that everyone makes mistakes, and that’s normal. Never ever let your problem keep you stuck at one point for a long time because having a problem does not mean that you are at the end of everything. Your future really exists as long as you don’t surrender to your condition. Following it, although you have experienced bad things, even if one of them was caused by your own deeds, it is always possible for you to fix your condition.

For example, when I was in my second year in junior high school, I struggled with mathematics. I clearly remember that when my report card distribution day of my 8th grade first semester, my homeroom teacher told my dad that my math score had decreased severely impacting my average score. At home, I felt so disappointed and helpless. I felt frustrated and asked why I was like that. Why was my score bad although I had tried to learn with all of my might? However, after some time, especially with the support of my family, I accepted my condition and I was introduced to a mathematics and science course with excellent tutors. Starting from that day, I was also determined to change my fate by allocating my after-school time which was for me to learn and revise my math lesson three times a week. This was the start of my life-changing moment. Slowly but surely, I ultimately understood this math lesson and worked on math problems well. More than that, what made me joyful was my math score miraculously improved by the next report distribution day, and it was even it was the highest among my classmates.

From this experience, I learned, “Nothing is impossible.” Then it can be similar for you, after passing your dark moment full of tears and scars, you get a story, like mine. You can use and share your story to inspire others about your struggles, failures, and success. Maybe, that is the purpose of our lives, to use painful things as blessings for others. By doing that, you can even utilize this Channel Kindness platform to share your life stories.

If you think that your problems finally lead you to a negative and depraving long-term emotional state, it is truly okay for you to seek help. Remember, that you are not alone, and it might be better for you to share your burden with others so that you can get support to mitigate the things you feel. For example, if you live in Indonesia, you may contact LISA Helpline, the suicide helpline and prevention service in Indonesia.

I want to wish congratulations for those of you who have successfully passed your big problems, as those anguishing and challenging moments bring you to this moment where you have the real you. The stronger you. You should be proud of that. Ultimately, you can also help others, as maybe people surrounding you feel overwhelmed or depressed while facing their problems.

You can be someone’s friend by supporting them. In doing so, you may take action to learn about mental health and how to support others with the Be There Certificate. It provides the 5 Golden Rules to help you recognize when someone’s struggling with their mental health, how to support them properly, and how you can help connect someone to the professionals who can help. By doing so, hopefully, this world can be better, filled with an inclusive community caring about one another’s mental health especially supporting one another in facing their respective life problems.

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