Write Your code here here LESSONS FROM A BOX OF DARKNESS By Zola Budd

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“Someone I once loved gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” - Mary Oliver

We are all obsessed with a heroic figure that will 'save' us from our circumstances or whisk us away on a white horse or supersonic jet to live happily ever after.

We abscond our responsibility to ourselves and selfishly wait for someone or something to rescue us.

This hero figure metaphor is more pertinent in Western cultures. It is applied to the male figure more frequently, for example, Batman, Ironman, Superman, and many more.

In many religions, we are brought up with God's image of a savior and protector. As soon as we reach adolescence, many realise this God concept does not suffice. We start questioning God instead of our idea of God.

Resilience is necessary to construct a new reality. It can be viewed as a class of phenomena characterised by good outcomes despite severe threats to adaptation or development (Marsten, 2001).

We all have internal strengths such as a passion for learning, creativity, intelligence, and spirituality. We also have external assets such as positive boundaries, church support, involvement in the community, social support, and positive peer relationships (Underwood & Dailey, 2017).

While competing professionally, I found it especially difficult to deal with failure, as I attached my identity to my performance.  My surroundings were outcome-based as well: performance was everything, to the detriment of self.

Only when I stepped away from running for a while, did I realise how much I love running and that I could use running to enrich and grow my spirit despite difficult circumstances.

It was not the competition or others who pressured me or spoiled my joy, but I allowed it to happen.

Therefore, even if you receive a box of 'darkness’ from whoever or whatever, perceive it as a gift and learn and grow from it. It is your choice, and nobody can take that away from you.



Marsten, A.S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56,227-238.

Underwood, L.A., & Dailey, F.L.L. (2017). Counseling Adolescents Competently. SAGE: Thousand Oaks.


DATE: February 2024  |  DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog is accurate at the time of publication. STADIO reserves the right to change the content due to changes in legislation, as well as for market requirements and other reasons.