It’s a simple yet powerful question that can elicit large amounts of pain and despair.
It’s also a question that can totally liberate you from fear and anxiety if you are able to change your relationship with how you respond to it.
When you take the time to curiously explore the answer to this question, and frame it within the context of your growth and development as a human being, you gain a unique awareness of hardship and pain that makes you a bit more bulletproof. I am going to share a story with you about how I took the worst that ever happened to me and instantly made it one of my greatest sources of strength, joy, and motivation.
It’s my hope that you can apply the same unique perspective adjustment to the big source of pain in your past to unlock your true potential for growth and happiness.
When I was 22 years old, the most important person in my world was diagnosed with an aggressive form of triple-negative breast cancer.
I felt powerless as my sweet, loving mom was systematically dismantled by harsh treatments and invasive surgeries. I supported her and cared for her as best I could, but 14 months of intense fighting proved too much for her already worn down body.
She passed away a few days before Christmas, and losing her shook me to my core.
I spiraled into a deep depression after she died, and for years I struggled to make sense of her death. I felt lost, hopeless, and frustrated, and to help cope with these painful emotions, I tried every trick in the book.
Therapy, medication, drugs, alcohol.
Nothing gave me the peace, clarity, and understanding that I was desperately seeking, and I carried an intense amount of emptiness and doubt with me everywhere I went.
For the longest time, I did everything that I could to separate myself from the finality of what had happened to my mom.
I could easily tell you that her death was, in fact, the worst thing that had ever happened to me. What I could not do, however, was explain how it truly impacted me. I knew it hurt and I knew it was scary, but I couldn’t fully understand its role in my life because I refused to look at this event in regards to the big picture of my journey.
Everything in my world literally shifted, however, when I stopped running and truly investigated how the loss of my mom set certain things into motion that moved my life forward in incredible ways. When I opened myself to the possibility that some good could have in fact come from my mom passing away, I began to see how incredible my life truly was.
I was reluctant to view the positive ways in which my mom’s death impacted me because I thought at some level, it would mean I was a bad son or that I missed her less.
Once I realized that was total BS and allowed myself to explore the impact of this event in its totality, I realized that the worst thing that ever happened to me was also one of the most beneficial occurrences in my life. That may sound crazy so please follow me here.
When my mom died, I was instantly forced to acknowledge the preciousness (and shortness) of life. Losing her lit a fire inside of me, and I constantly felt this sensation to leave my comfort zone in pursuit of something more. It was scary and exhausting (and even frustrating) at times, but I felt this omnipresent need to make the most out of my time here on earth.
This has manifested itself in miraculous ways in my life, and I know I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the series of events that my mom’s death put into motion.
When I finally gave myself permission to make peace with the hardship in my life, my world completely changed. As a primitive survival mechanism, we as humans are wired to avoid pain and discomfort, but this programming can rob us of the true beauty that is unfolding all around us. I am urging you to challenge this temptation to stay comfortable and safe.
Boldly embrace the painful aspects of your past, allowing them to initiate you into the strongest, fullest version of yourself.
When you do this, you make yourself unstoppable. When you can use even the worst events in your life to your advantage, your journey becomes beautifully empowered in a completely unique way. You were put on this earth to live an incredible life, so lean into the hardships of your past and allow them to become your faithful allies on as you build your best self.