When I was 21 years old I was told by a doctor my brain might not work again the way it used to. Yes, you read that right, not my arm, finger, or toes, my brain. The thing we all rely on to get us through our day to day life experience. The thing that allows us to be human.
My college years were filled with overconsumption of booze, unintentional living, and a lack of appreciation for life. I was constantly thinking about the future trying and playing out the rhythm in my head of, “I’ll be happy when”. You know how that goes, maybe you’ve even caught yourself doing it. I’ll be happy when I have the relationship, the job, the trip around the world. I’ll be happy when I have the likes and validation on social media.
Things are different now, but I can’t say that it changed gracefully. You could imagine falling off a bike, landing yourself in the ICU for a week because of internal brain bleeding, and long term memory recovery was a bit of a wake up call. It was less of a gentle nudge, and more like a dramatic and literal whack across the head.
Thankfully, this happened for me which is I why I don’t believe in failure. This was one of the best things I’ve ever gone through, and it was completely my fault. Hardest, yes absolutely, but truly it taught me. Had I not experienced this I may not now appreciate the days like I do. I may not do the mindset and healing work I do with people in my entrepreneurial business. I may not appreciate actually looking out the window and watching a blue bird flying around in the yard. I may not truly believe in myself like I do now.
I can’t say this is the only lesson that I experienced that helped me grow to where to living life intentionally, but it was pivotal. When this happened, I was angry at myself, I was mad, I was ashamed I had done something so stupid that may have cost me my future. If I hadn’t been intoxicated and had cared a little bit more about myself, it never would have happened. But, would I be where I am now if that were the case?
That’s a question I may never know the answer to, but honestly I don’t think I need to.
Our ability to look at the experiences we have in our life and grow from them is completely in our control.
It’s available to us if we so choose.
So that thing you did recently that you’re not super proud of, have you given yourself a chance to ask where the growth lies? Have you allowed yourself to explore what you might learn from it?
The relationship that didn’t work out, how might you show up differently next time? What did you learn about relationships that you have to gain from this experience?
That business thing that didn’t go the way you hoped, did it show you how to have relentless tenacity? Did you keep trying?
Sometimes the hardest things we go through, are the most meaningful.
The more we put emphasis on what we did, the less we give ourselves an opportunity to take the situation and change it. Guilt and shame have no place in our growth. We can reflect and acknowledge there’s a better way and likely even a lesson underneath, but when we relish in the fact that we did it or that it happened, we stay stuck.
So yes, at one point in my life I was an over-consumer who made a reckless mistake, and I couldn’t be more grateful that part of me taught me something powerful that helped mold me to who I am today.
What’s molded you to being the person you are?