When I learned I would need to have open-heart surgery within the next 2-3 months, it felt like the worst time of my life.
I thought, Why me? Why is this happening to me? This isn’t fair.
This thought process continued after I made it through the surgery thanks to the capable surgeons at the Mayo clinic.
Why do I have to go through this recovery? This surgery messed up my mind. I can’t believe this.
Thoughts upon thoughts tried to outrace each in my mind.
My mental health absolutely tanked.
But, perhaps, it tanked for a reason. Maybe I had to go through depressive episodes and extreme OCD symptoms to learn what they felt like, to learn what I could one day share with others.
Why am I telling you this?
I’m sharing this with you because you never know what will come from the worst times of your life.
What I’ve often found is that the worst times of my life become the most important times of my life. They mark turning points during which I switched onto a new track. They mark monumental pivots. Trajectory changes.
And the same could be true for you.
Think about the worst things that have ever happened to you.
How did they change your life? What did you learn from them? How did they strengthen your resolve.
It’s likely that you learned some of the most important lessons of your life during those experiences. It’s probable that they shaped your character.
Of course, it’s totally possible to go the other way when bad things happen to you. It’s easy to convince yourself that you were the victim of unfair circumstances and that you will always be the victim.
But wait–you also have the power to change your mindset. You always have the power to reframe whatever it is you’ve been through. You get to tell your own story, to shape your own narrative.
After I had open-heart surgery, I was stuck for a while. My life was put on hold as I was mired in the physical and emotional recovery of it all.
The emotional recovery took years. It wasn’t easy.
But that experience taught me something about myself. It made me realize that I was–and am–stronger than I ever thought possible. That horror can always be transformed into hope and renewal. That, even during the most troubling times, I can always inch my way forward.
If I can make it through, you can too.