An idea that resonates within me is how much I have been able to help people through sharing of experiences in my life. That act of working with people, listening to them, and giving them encouragement, perspective, and tools to hopefully move onto a better path gives me an amazing feeling. It gives me pride to be able to have turned around so many negative events that have occurred in my life into positives and then use them to instill not just hope, but real change and progress in others. It isn’t even about me. What makes me feel good is seeing that light bulb go off for others and them being encouraged and inspired, as I once was, to make those changes and make their life what they want it to be.
I am not a psychiatrist. I am not a psychologist. I am not a miracle worker, a prophet, or a messiah. I don’t have formal training. I am just a normal guy with a lot of baggage and a desire to make the world a better place after I leave it as opposed to how I found it. It makes me feel like I have a real purpose in life. Like I am actually doing something that has real merit. The comical thing is that we put value in our lives on tangible things – how much did I make in salary, how big is my house, how luxurious is my car, I produce this many units, sales, product at my job, etc. Is this really what life is about?
Sometimes selfishly, when I feel down, I think that the irony and cruelty of this world is that I have helped so many people, but yet, I can’t help myself. I haven’t found the things I am looking for and maybe it is likely because I am not entirely certain what that is. But, then, I consider all I have accomplished. No, I don’t mean college degrees or work related activities. I am referencing adverse and negative situations in life. Some, dealt to me by fate, and some, dealt by my own hand.
– been a victim of physical abuse
– been a victim of mental and psychological abuse
– been kicked out of my own home – twice in fact – and including on my 17th birthday
– been betrayed by individuals whom I trusted and called family
– been divorced
– had a gun pulled on me twice
– defeated an anger problem – admitting I have a disease and it is something I will have to live with and work to control the rest of my life
– watched myself completely bottom out in late 2011 and early 2012 – watching everything I ever wanted go up in flames in a matter of six months
– seriously considered committing suicide in the time frame mentioned above because I saw no out, no means to continue, and no reasons to continue. Not only did I feel like I had nothing but I felt like nothing.
And, each time I’ve fallen, I’ve picked myself up and pulled it together. Then I fall. Again. And, again. And, again. But each time I fall, I get back up. Somehow. Someway. It wasn’t God. It wasn’t Jesus. It wasn’t my family. It wasn’t my friends. It was me.
I’ve sat and suffered in silence. I’ve gone to bed with a knife under my pillow – worried that I would be killed during the middle of the night. I’ve cried. I’ve begged. I’ve bargained. I’ve pleaded. I’ve screamed. I’ve felt sorry for myself. I’ve blamed others. I’ve lashed out in anger. I’ve asked “why.”
There is no “why.” This is the life I have. These are the cards I’ve been dealt. It just “is.” I’m not being rewarded. I’m not being punished. I’ve had a lot of damage inflicted on me. I’ve inflicted a lot of damage on myself. I’ve likely inflicted damage on others.
Someone very close to me told me that bad things happen to me because “life knows I am strong enough to take it.” While very poignant and admirable, I can’t imagine it is true. We all go through trials and tribulations. How we choose to deal with them is what builds character. I’m not a quitter. I’m not a complainer. I don’t make excuses. I make mistakes but I learn and grow from them. I falter and I struggle, daily, and I will fail and I will fall. But, I will never stay down. I will get back up and I will do it for myself.
I have the right tools. I have the right mindset. I can build bridges even if they have been destroyed before. I can’t change the past but I can change the present and the future. Specifically, I can change my present and my future. It can be what I want it to be.
I can be a victim of whatever I want – abuse, society, unfairness, others. It is an easy route. But, I refuse. I am a victim of no one and nothing. Am I a survivor? Sure, but anyone living is a survivor. That’s not good enough and way too clichéd. I am more. I am a proponent – for hope, for dreams, for courage, for integrity, for honesty, for character, for rebuilding, for improvement, for forgiveness, and most importantly, for growth.
To you, the reader: Don’t wait for tomorrow. There may not be a tomorrow. Don’t rely on others. Use your own power to light your way.
Find the will. Find the courage. Find the strength. Find a way.