It's difficult to come up with a list of hard-learned lessons on command, and it's late, so I'm going to cop out a bit and mostly share a poem that has always been meaningful to me.
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, Not the grief of a child
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
And after awhile you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth,
And you learn and learn...
With every goodbye you learn.
- Veronica Shoftstall
I think every lesson mentioned is something that I've struggled through at some point in time. And, in all honesty, I'm likely still struggling through many of the lessons to this day. But aren't we all struggling? I think a fact of living is that there will always be hard lessons to learn. They're not fun. Sometimes the hurt can seem overwhelming. But we really are strong. Wonderfully, humanly strong.