I've heard it said that hardship makes people strong. I'm not really sure about that, though. It can, after a while, make people strong if it doesn't totally pull them under. I've been told that what I've went through over the course of my life has definitely made me stronger, stronger than I think that I am. I don't know, though. I feel like scars give you vulnerabilities. Sometimes, if those scars aren't healed, they only form cracks on your heart, making them more susceptible to bleed once again. Sometimes, hardship can wear away at what a person is especially if it's repeated and if you don't put down another layer of sediment (coping skills or an inner well of strength) to prevent that from happening. If they just shove all of their inner problems under the rug and don't deal with it, it can just come back to bite them in the ass again and even stronger than before. It can weaken their foundation (if there was even a foundation to begin with). And thus, it affects them even if they haven't dealt with it.
I do agree that hardship plays a large part in forming who we are, especially when we are young when it happens. It can teach us a lot even if it does so in an incredibly hard way. And that is bound to affect you even if it's in the littlest ways and you haven't connected the two. It can change your personality and the way that you view the world. Sometimes, it can make you into a better person but sometimes it can make you into an even better one.
It's amazing how much some people can go through and how much that they can handle. The human spirit is so often incredibly resilient and it has an incredible will to live. Some incredible things can be birthed from the darkness in ways that can be hard to imagine. So many turn it into a positive, using their experience to help others or to channel it in some form of expression. Sure some people crumble and break but so many rise up and say, "I survived this and I haven't let it defeat me." That, at least, shows that it's possible for people to heal and for humanity to get better.
It's not an easy thing (hence the word). It doesn't feel pleasant and it can feel like too much. But there's hope from it, some silver lining. There's the beauty in overcoming, in rising up after being knocked over. We may not be able to choose the lot we get in life or the hardship we get but we can choose how we react to it and how we make to it.