Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Gift of Obstacles

“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself, or treat what has happened as a gift.  Everything is either an opportunity to grow, or an obstacle to keep you from growing.  You get to choose.” 

Wayne Dyer said the above quote and I totally agree with it.  We do have a choice as to the meaning we put on everything that happens to us in life.  Nothing has meaning except for the meaning we give to it.  It’s a great quote to live by and to keep in mind whenever we’re going through our heavy-duty-life-doo.

That said, I also want to be clear that it isn’t always easy.  There are times when life can become so overwhelming that it’s hard NOT to feel sorry for ourselves.  I’ve been there more times than I’d like to admit.  In fact, I recently went through one of those times where I was feeling sorry for myself.  Some stress I was experiencing from various issues had become so overwhelming that I went into a dark place.  I couldn’t help it.  It was hard to keep from constantly crying. The darkness consumed me and I also became very quiet, which is how I deal with things.  That and doing a lot of stress eating.  If I could have eaten a brownie the size of an elephant, I would have.  But I also know that it will pass, so I’ve learned to embrace those moments in time and try to love myself even more.

One thing I have learned in life is that we may not always be able to see the gift of what we’re going through at that time, but if we can make it to the moment of hindsight, it can all become clear.  When I look back on my life, I can see how all the darkness I went through, no matter what it was, became a great gift.  Because I went through those things, it taught me to have so much more love, compassion, empathy, and understanding for others who are going through it.  I no longer judge others because I can say I’ve been there.  I even found that I became a stronger and better person because of those experiences, as well as gaining a great deal of wisdom that I can use to help others who are going through their own dark moments.

Sometimes people do need professional help whether it’s physical or mental assistance, and that’s perfectly okay!  It doesn’t mean that we’ll need it for long periods of time, but it can help us get through those dark times until we can once again see the light and get back to feeling like our better selves once again.

Christopher Reeve said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”  And Matshona Dhliwayo stated, “Your darkest experiences often lead you to your brightest fortunes.” 

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 16, 2016.

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