Some recent events in my life have me looking back on the last three years. It has been quite an eventful time in my life. When I scroll back through my blog, I realize how much of my life has been consumed with some considerable struggles and yet here I still stand. I’m gonna say I am pretty damn impressed with myself. I’m still not perfect, but I wouldn’t be human if I was. (And where’s the fun in that… right?)
I am a testament to the fact that you can have some serious PTSD from past events (even in childhood) and rise up and say: I am going to be a loving, almost normal, functional adult. (I say almost normal, because I really don’t believe there is such a thing as “normal”.)
I think there are some necessary secrets to becoming a person that can look back on their “tragic” life experiences and say: I’m grateful because these experiences have made me who I am today.
Without going into the details of my past (trust me, you don’t wanna), I’m going to try and share with you the turning point in my life that really made me wake up and realize that all my experiences culminated in making me a loving, empathetic, yet no nonsense gal that can carry a load of shit on her shoulders and still walk away a decent human that can wake up every morning grateful for another day.
That turning point is the few days right before my dad passed away.
Now I hope that you don’t (or didn’t) have to go through a tragic experience like your dad passing before you wake up and realize that you are amazing and are not defined by your past experiences. I regret that I didn’t fully realize my potential until that moment, but I am grateful it came nonetheless.
My dad told me my whole life that I could do anything, be anyone I wanted to be. He taught me as I struggled in the early years of my marriage that happiness doesn’t come from outside of me. That if I was unhappy, it was because of something happening within myself, and the sooner I learned that, the happier I would be. I just couldn’t let go of everything that was happening “to” me and I felt that if I could just get everyone else around me to be decent and treat me better, I would be happy. I was almost paralyzed with anxiety at the time. I was barely getting myself to work. I was hanging by a thread. My dad continued to work with me and support me right up until the moment he left this earth. (He must have been incredibly patient (a saint really) to do so, and I am so grateful that I had him, if even it seems like too short a time.)
What I haven’t told you yet, is that the entire time he was teaching me to be a happier person, he was battling cancer. For over ten years he battled the evil, all the while helping those around him, no matter how terrible he felt. Eventually the chemo that cured him of one cancer, gave him another, leukemia, and he ended in the hospital miles from where I lived at the time. I called him up to wish him a happy birthday (he was in the hospital undergoing treatment on his birthday) and told him that I loved him. I told him I wished that I could do something to help him. Be there to give him a hug, but the distance made that impossible. He said, “You CAN do something for me. You can take care of yourself. That’s all I need for my birthday.” I promised him that I would.
That was our last conversation. My dad passed away soon after that phone call. And I worked hard to keep that promise to my dad, and I still do… everyday. You see, my dad had the secret. Not once did I ever see him miserable and give up. Not once did I see him wish that people around him treated him better. What I saw was a dad that would get up after having a chemo treatment and move a new neighbor into their house. (Those of you who have had chemo, or have seen someone go through it, know how impossible this task is.) I saw him give selflessly my entire life, and I don’t know why it took me until his passing to realize that the secret to being happy, the secret to being a survivor of life, is to be the person to give. To be the person to discover people’s strengths, and help them know them for themselves.
I guess what I want to end this blog with is this: If you believe that life is happening to you, life always will. If you believe that life is happening for you, it always will. Instead of becoming frustrated with life events, sit back and ponder the lesson life is teaching you, and the strength that can come from learning the lesson. It’s inspiring to know that it is my decisions, and not my conditions that determine my destiny (modified from Tony Robbins).
Back when I was struggling with life I hadn’t heard of mindset, or the law of attraction, but this learning is all around us today. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take advantage of it.
May we all be more cognizant about self talk, and how we respond to those around us. May we always look for the strengths in others and ourselves, and lift those around us, as we journey down the road of life.
Enjoy the Dance! ;D