By: Cristina Trette
How many times have you heard the story about someone embarking on a total life change upon the heels of illness, injury, divorce, or death?
The great motivator, Brendon Burchard, talks publicly about how a tragic car accident served as a catalyst for him to start living a life that mattered with love. The inspirational speaker, Klyn Elsbury, goes big towards dreams every single day, while simultaneously fighting Cystic Fibrosis.
I don't mean this flippantly. Klyn walks her talk. She eats, breathes, and sleeps authentic positiveness and love, combined with a relentless go for it attitude, which is magnetic.
I had dinner with Klyn last night, where I was able to dip into inspiration. I left feeling excited and ready to do life and love differently. At the same time, I wondered, what the heck has taken me so long?
I used to work as a massage therapist within a chiropractic clinic. Most of my clients had experienced significant accidents or injury and battled ongoing physical pain. The early physical recovery time tended to coincide with job loss, breakdowns in relationships, a period of poor health, addiction, and emotional darkness.
It was not until after they had been down in the trenches, and stayed there for awhile, that they finally made the changes they needed to make and committed to a life of wellness, service, and meaning, for example.
Similarly, I watched a video the other day while researching substance use disorders. A gentleman spoke of how his addiction broke up his marriage. His wife had begged him to quit drinking but the more she pushed, the more he drank. Eventually, she left him and took the kids.
During the divorce process his world collapsed. He almost drank himself to death.
The divorced finalized, and his wife got custody.
This was what woke him up. It took losing everything for him to do the hard work and make the change.
Eventually, he was catapulted into sobriety and effectively managed his depression. Today he is enjoying great health and has a girlfriend he likes. But his wife has remarried and he only sees his children on Sundays. He misses his family like crazy. Not a day goes by where he does not wonder what would have happened if he had quit drinking ten years ago. Why did it take losing all that he loved in order for him to wake the heck up?
Researchers in the field of Positive Psychology have coined the term Post-traumatic Growth which refers to the phenomena that living through adversity can ignite people to positively transform their life, sometimes in radical ways.
And yes I find it to be brilliant that we can harness all of our power and strength to build and recreate after life has us dropped down so hard. This is particularly true when trauma, and devastation takes place where the impacted individuals have absolutely no control over the situation such as with illness, innocent death, abuse, natural disasters, and other tragedies.
But many of us do not experience terminal illness, devastating storms, war, or famine in the literal sense.
Instead our tragic-ness is self imposed.
How many of us have lives, relationships, careers, and families - that in reality - are pretty darn good but we don't see it or we are not grateful for it? How many of us numb ourselves through indulgence in affairs, sweets, coffee, alcohol, drugs, porn, food, or work? How many of us yell at or tear down our spouses and children and the people we love the most? And how many more of us trudge through life, in a mild state of miserable, not depressed but not happy either. Yes, perhaps we have moments of joy or even bliss. But for the most part, we live pay check to pay check, literally and figuratively, just to get by.
Does tragedy have to happen in order for us to climb out of the ditch? Do we need to lose the love of our life or experience terminal illness in order to take the reins on our lives - and make it worth living - and then some?
Do we really have to get knocked around hard before we can wake up?
I know that I don't want to wake up ten years from now with endless regrets, wishes for do-overs, and should haves. Heck, I don't want to wake up tomorrow and feel that way.
Thank you Klyn Elsbury for helping me see that the dreams I still have, and the small daily transformations I want to make, I am going to go after them, starting today.
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