It was about two years ago when I first heard the word ‘sisu’. The weird thing was that after I heard it, it kept cropping up in conversations. I tend to be a person who doesn’t ignore coincidences or recurring messages in my life so I looked into the meaning of this ‘new-to-me’ word.

The word ‘sisu’ dates back hundreds of years and originates from Finland. Sisu is a life philosophy that allows us to persevere through difficult times and come out stronger on the other side. It is deliberate and extreme courage in the face of adversity.

While the word may be new to you, the concept surely isn’t. If you’ve faced difficulties in your life or accepted challenges which seemed impossible, you’ve experienced sisu. The word came up again recently as I was becoming certified in applied positive psychology and reminded me of another powerful concept – post traumatic growth. I have experienced a good amount of trauma in my life and while I know there are things that affected me in painful and negative ways, I also know that I would not be where I am without the pain, trauma and growth I’ve been through.

I believe our experiences can (and always do) teach us something. What we choose to learn from our experiences and what we choose to do moving forward is up to us. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to go when we are feeling stuck, frustrated and stressed. The good news is there are ways to ‘deal’ with the hardships AND enjoy, grow and flourish beyond a neutral state of being. Tapping into sisu is easier than you may think. But, it can be painful sometimes. What’s the old saying? “No pain, no gain.”