And success is made up of a bunch of lessons learned from failures.
The screw-ups, break-ups, surgeries, traumas, illnesses, natural disasters, losses, and accidents, are all woven into the tapestry called life. They are not events we want to happen but they do. And the best way to come back after any one of them is to learn and grow from it, not bury the feelings that go with these experiences.
Because if your feelings are covered up and buried, you get stuck in a really raw place for a lot longer than you need to.
This is where we build resilience
By feeling our feelings and learning they won’t kill us if we let them in, reflect on them and then watch them lift because all feelings are temporary. The intense feelings last 60-90 seconds. And when they lift, you can distract yourself. The trick is to learn to let them in first.
When my son was depressed and doing drugs, my life was chaos and I was desperate, helpless, and sad but with each calamity, and there were a lot of them, the initial feeling of shock was always the same but with each experience, recovery happened more quickly. Embracing humility and building resilience weren’t my goals but these character traits were the result.
I learned to pick myself up from the mud, wash off the humiliation, apply a bandage to the hurt, and move forward.
For five years, our family was chaos. And I was an emotional wreck as I watched my kid self-destruct despite all the barriers we threw up and the help we hired.
I hated what we were going through but I had no choice but to go through it. I was not going to abandon my child. And the experience changed me in so many good ways. Not that I saw that at the time.
The string of imperfect days stretched out into years
And in that time, my son would be diagnosed with anxiety and depression, become addicted to drugs, and kill himself in 2015.
That five years of agony from 2010 to 2015 looked like a picnic by the ocean with chocolate cake once I lost my son. I never even imagined an ending so horrific or pain so unbearable.
What’s surprising is that as bad as it all was, and it was brutal, it wasn’t all bad. It was hard to see the good things happening around me, and to be grateful for what I did have and I learned to make sure those wonderful moments were savored and tucked away in my memory bank.
I learned to be in the present, to stop projecting and hovering over a future that had not happened. Because even if I predicted everything that did happen, pre-worrying about it has never helped anything.
These are the skills I learned because the desire to find a path forward and thrive again was my bait.
Real life is messy, beautiful, ugly, and then beautiful again.
A perfect life? If you define it by all that we endure then yeah that’s a perfect life. Because the definition of a “perfect life” as being flawless doesn’t exist.
Life has struggles. That doesn’t make life “bad.” Those hard times just make it easier to recognize what’s good.