Life is a series of wonderful and messy events. One after the other. We embrace the wonderful, but what about the messy? The hard or the tragic?
I recently spent time with a gentleman who reminded me why we’re better off confronting the difficult stuff with the same willingness as we do the wonderful.
This gentleman had been horribly abused as a child. And these experiences shaped his life choices for many years, choices that self-inflicted further suffering and hardship. He has since embarked on a healing journey that requires him to face his trauma head-on. But, when asked by a confidant what his own part was in his abuse, the man began to get very angry. He exclaimed that he was a mere child and how could anyone say he had a part!? The confidant gently replied that his part was in holding onto the abuse for so long. After a little reflection and great strength, the gentleman said, “Yes. That is true”.
Healing from our traumas is an incredible exercise in acceptance. We do not need to dismiss an act of injustice or cruelty to accept responsibility for our own well-being. Rather, when we insist that the healing is up to us, we regain any power that the trauma tries to rob us of. Confronting the parts of ourselves that hold our trauma, from poor coping mechanisms to harmful thoughts or belief, grants us decision making power. The abuse of this man’s childhood was out of his control, but the totality of his life is wholly up to him. Health and happiness are choices we make every day. The choices are not always easy, in fact, they rarely are, but at least the choices are ours to make.
I do not minimize the horrible things that happened to this man and many others. Nor do I minimize the horrible things that have happened to me. But I have found that true peace and empowerment comes from working through the messy. And, sometimes, undoing the choices others have made for us. Knowing that we play the primary role in cultivating our own well-being. Not the person or people who wronged us.
This week, let’s really take ownership of our lives and do something that moves us closer to well-being. Even if it’s scary, even it’s hard. Perhaps that’s having a difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding, practicing forgiveness, going to that support group, or simply having the discipline to meditate for 5 minutes every day this week. Freedom from the hard stuff is ultimately up to us. We are the authors of our own story. So decide what story you want to tell.
Unconditional Love, Accountability, Community
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community