I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve survived a turbulent childhood, drug and alcohol addiction, relationship problems, and more. I’ve been there, done that, and gotten all the t-shirts. Now, I have a life where I wake up generally happy all of the time. I’m excited and fulfilled by what I do every day. All in all, I have a pretty damn good life.
So how did I deal with all of the pain in my past, and come out the other side the way that I am? I let the pain shape me. I let it fuel the person that I became. As Maya Angelou would say, I didn’t become who I am despite what I’ve been through, I became who I am because of it. I used my pain to create the person that I am today, but before I could do that, there were a few things that I had to do. If you’re dealing with pain of your own, pay close attention to this article; the following suggestions could mean the difference between a happy, fulfilling life and crippling depression.
Accept Your Pain
We have all, at some point in our lives, had to deal with something that caused us a great deal of pain. On a long enough timeline, everybody does. So why are some people able to walk through it, while others are crippled by it, letting it destroy their lives? The answer lies in acceptance.
There was a time when I tried to deny the pain that I was feeling. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I was feeling, well, anything. I thought it was a sign of weakness. For many years, I used drugs and alcohol to try and escape what was going on. Eventually, that addiction ended up causing even more pain. I had reached a jumping off point, where I knew something needed to change.
Over the next few years, I spent time really looking at what was going on beneath the surface. I looked at everything that I had been through, and came to accept that there was no point in denying the pain that I felt. Once I let myself feel that pain, I finally felt like there was hope for a better life.
So don’t deny your pain. Don’t try to hide it from yourself or anyone else. Let it come to the surface, and feel what you need to feel. The only way out is through.
Understand that You’re Not Alone
If there’s a name for it, someone has done it, experienced it, been through it…you get the idea.
One of the things that helped me greatly was to find people who had been through the same things as me. The two most powerful words in the English language are “me too.” This is why support groups work so well. They’re full of people who have been through what you’ve been through, and have gotten out of the place where you are.
Seek out people who are like you; people who have similar experiences. Find out what they did, and do that.
Use Your Experience to Help Others
This is why I became a life coach. With everything that I’ve been through, I knew that my experience could benefit others.
Along your journey you will meet people going through what you’ve been through. Talk to them. Share your experience, and tell them what you did to get through it. Overtime, you will realize that what you once thought was the worst thing that could possibly happen to you is quite possibly your greatest asset.
Express Yourself Creatively
Life coaching isn’t the only thing I did with my pain. I’m also a musician, and I spent over a decade in a band writing songs about the things that I have experienced. The music gave me a great outlet, and my pain fueled my creativity.
Maybe you’re a writer, or a painter, or a fellow musician. Use your pain to fuel your creative side. Let it guide your art.
Learn to Love Your Pain
I know, this sounds a little strange, but it’s true. With all of the people I’ve been able to help, and all of the art I’ve created over the years, it’s hard to see my pain as anything but an asset. I have learned to love every part of my story.
Instead of letting my pain keep me from living my life, I’ve used it as a stepping stone to happiness and fulfillment.