Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt like everything was falling apart?
The job is at a dead end, the relationship is over and your emotional self is wrecked?
If so, then you might be able to relate to my past year. My life currently feels like one big lucky break, but just a few months ago I felt like I was on the verge of losing everything.
Painful portions of life can help us grow in positive ways we never imagined. I learned to reconnect with a deep well of love and support. Through my struggles, I was bestowed with the opportunity to make positive changes that helped me to become a more whole and self-loving person.
Here are six gifts we can receive from difficult situations in life.
“The spiritual journey goes beyond hope and fear, stepping into unknown territory, continually moving forward. The most important aspect of being on a spiritual path may be just to keep moving.” ~ When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron.
When we truly reach our breaking point, and we feel like we have nothing external to grasp, like our successes, money, personal sources of pride, or other ego-based attachments, we have no choice but to keep walking, bear down, and focus on the essentials.
As we meditate, pray, and/or call on a higher power to seek out strength and truth, we can find inner peace. When my world crumbled, I was able to return to a center, or spiritual connection, and find a source of humble strength that cannot be shaken by external circumstances.
When we are fearful of losing everything, we try to hold onto and be grateful for the things we do have. We have no choice but to be grateful for a meal, or a smile, or a moment that has meaning.
During my hard time, I found myself spending every session as therapist to my clients alive, engaged, and extremely grateful that I had yet another opportunity to help them. People gave me the privilege of allowing me to share in their journeys of heroism, pain, resilience, and healing. I did not take this for granted, and realized how much I love my job.
Gratitude is something we can all practice daily. If you stop to think about all the things that are going right, you will not only increase your happiness in the moment, but you may find you have more for which to be grateful, than you realize.
There is nothing like extreme discomfort to help push you in the right direction. Part of the issue with my life at the time was that I felt stuck, and unable to move forward. However, I realize in retrospect, that I wasn’t even sure what my direction was. But then something strange happened—it was almost as if all of my failures led to my perfect path.
I wasn’t having success in areas that might have been options for me such in my career or relationships. Those didn’t work out, but as a result, I landed in the life I live today. Once I made the decision to embark on the next journey, it was as if the job, friendships and even living situation just literally “fell in my lap.”
Take heart; when things fall apart, your destiny is being shaped in another direction, one that is better suited to you, and your greater purpose on this earth.
My default coping mechanism has been to run from things that were hurtful to me. However, during my trying time in life, I was forced to look in the mirror and take responsibility for unresolved feelings and behaviors. Inner work is necessary when we face “roadblocks” that keep emerging for us in life. I engaged in some self-work with a therapist. As a result, I finally feel free from negative feelings I had been burdened with for many years.
5. Self Respect:
I learned through my romantic relationship falling apart, and problems at work, that I compromised my self-respect, and let important boundaries slip, in order to try to get people to like me in both personal and professional realms.
In ways I hadn’t even realized before, I was disrespecting myself. However, I learned that by not standing up for myself out of fear, I may have prolonged the inevitable, but it didn’t change the outcome, and I hurt myself in the process.
When we have respect for ourselves, we allow our authenticity to be seen by the rest of the world. By choosing not to compromise our self-respect for another, we increase our self-esteem. This internal shift naturally attracts healthier partners, and patterns of treatment by others, into our lives.
6. Deeper Relationships:
Asking for help leads to deeper and more profound connections with others. People have more in common than it seems on the surface. When we are honest about our pain, and share our vulnerability with others, we realize that we are not alone, and thereby open ourselves up to the love that is present all around us. We feel more connected, and more fulfilled in life.
If you are open to the gifts that heartbreak can bring, you can become “rooted,” graceful, and steadfast in your strength. Stay open to meaning in the heartbreak, and know that the lessons you receive could be the ticket to living a deeply meaningful and soulful existence.
Author: Bonnie King
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Siddhant Guwande/Pixoto