Social media paints a picture of how wonderful and perfect everything is all the time. It has become a place to put our best foot forward and celebrate winning at life. It can be easy to think that the grass might be greener on the other side, but I promise you everyone has a story and striving for perfection is an unrealistic expectation. Now you might be thinking to yourself, "What does this girl know about struggling and rock bottom?" Well, I want to start by telling you about my rock bottom.
When I was in my mid-twenties I had a career, a husband, a dog, and all of the things I had dreamed of as a little girl just short of the white picket fence and the children playing on a swing set in the front yard. After being married for a year, it became apparent that the relationship was coming to an end and I was faced with divorce. I was crushed. I felt like a failure. I isolated myself for fear that someone might be able to tell I was divorced just by looking at me. I deleted all remnants of my failed marriage from the Internet and social media and I only shared my story with a few close friends and family members. I felt like I was the only person my age who was experiencing this as I scrolled through Facebook watching everyone else get engaged, married, or announce a new baby.
I tell you this not for sympathy or to have you console me, but to empower you to pull up your boot straps and overcome whatever it is that is holding you back.
So how did I bounce back?
1. Forgiveness. When something bad happens to us we have to learn to forgive ourselves for the things we don't know and be proud of ourselves for learning and growing from the negative experiences that happen in our lives. As I said earlier, perfection is an unrealistic expectation. We can not hold ourselves to the expectation that we already know everything, we are always learning and that is okay!
2. Choose Love Over Judgement. When people judge us, it is really just a reflection of their own insecurities. I was so afraid that people would judge me when they found out I was divorced, and you know what? Some people did. They judged me for "giving up so easily" for "not taking marriage seriously" and for "not being able to keep a marriage together." It used to really make me defensive and upset that someone would assume any of those things. Today I am at peace with what happened and I choose love over judgement. I love my journey up to this point in my life because every experience in my past has shaped who I am today. I love everything I have learned about myself along the way. I love the way the Universe puts me back on track when I veer away from my path.
3. Make a List. We can lose ourselves in the emotions that follow a negative experience. I know I did. So I made a list of everything that made me who I am, everything I enjoy doing, and everything I hoped for my future. I kept the list somewhere where I could see it often and, when I was ready, I started incorporating those things that made me a person I was proud of back into my life.
4. Leave the past behind you. You wouldn't wear the same clothes you wore 10 years ago - would you? Then why do we feel it is okay to wear our negative experiences like badges of honor and allow them to plague our present. We need to learn to let go of those things we can not change and expect more from our present and future because from those past experiences we are wiser. The definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. We must learn from the things we have done that did not give us the results that we wanted and adjust our actions accordingly.
5. Be Kind to Yourself. We are our own biggest critics at times. The next time you are putting yourself down think about how you would talk to a friend who was in your shoes. Now imagine you are talking to that friend. The way we talk to our friends is usually way nicer than the way we talk to ourselves. If we talked to our friends the way we talk to ourselves do you think we would have a lot of friends left? I'm going to go ahead and guess that the answer to that is no. The way we talk to ourselves matters. So the next time you find that you are being hard on yourself, remember to acknowledge the things that you're doing right, learn from the things that didn't work out as planned, and be proud of yourself for trying.
I have no regrets and I am thrilled with everything I have been able to learn about myself out of all of my experiences, good and bad. I think the Universe was trying to get my attention by showing me my "rock bottom" because I wasn't listening. I was living in the future, trying to control my life, and expecting perfection. None of those things were getting me closer to happiness, which ultimately was what I wanted. In the end I had to hit rock bottom to get back on track, pave my path, and be able to truly appreciate real happiness when I found it.
If you are going through something similar and you want to chat about how you can start overcoming obstacles so you can start living the life you are meant for, fill out the form below and let's set aside some time to put together a game plan! I know how hard it is to go through it alone! I've got you girl!