When I lost one of my loved ones all of a sudden, suffered serious injuries that rendered me unable to walk without numbness and pain, struggled with harsh politics at work, and found out that I was no longer able to pursue my sporting dreams all at once…I wanted to end my life.
For nearly a year, I took over an hour to get out of bed for work and binge ate every single day. I begin to put on weight and started cutting off contact with my closest friends. On weekends, I would lock myself up in my room and refused to engage in proper conversation with my family. I had given up on myself. I thought that I had overcome depression years back but I found myself slipping back into my suicidal self, hopeless and distraught over my situation. When I had finally made the decision to step out again, COVID hit our shores and we went into Circuit Breaker.
Being stuck at home gave me more time and space to really evaluate life. The one question that kept coming to my mind was this: What good can possibly come out of my pain? There were so many things that I was still bitter about and so many hurts that had yet to be healed and dealt with. They kept me up at night and stirred so much in me that I would pour out buckets of tears every night. I could not understand why nothing seemed to be going right for me no matter how hard I was trying.
Over time, with a little help from books and pals, I was able to arrive at a better place. Some lessons that I got along the way still stick with me and I thought that they might be of help to some of us who are going through a challenging time in our lives.
Suffering purifies our hearts and prunes our character.
Up till the series of unfortunate events that happened in my life, everything seemed pretty smooth and easy for me. What I did not realise was how complacent and discontented I was becoming. I was starting to take many things for granted and would only be consumed with wanting the things that I did not have. My drive to achieve more drove me to develop a coveting heart that was ungrateful. Even though my parents and close friends tried to warn me about it, I would brush them off with entitled remarks that would send their eyes rolling to the moon and back. I was also becoming so much more prideful in spirit as I saw myself to be more capable than most of my peers and even those above me in age and position. I had little respect for people and thought of myself highly. In my eyes, I was invincible.
Going through the pain of having parts of your identity stripped away from you does more for you than it does to you. For me, it opened my eyes to areas of my life that needed to desperately be changed along with showing me who my true friends and family were. I begin to take a step back and listen to the advice of elders in my life as they shared nuggets of tried and tested wisdom with me. In the process of doing so, I gained mentors for different aspects of my life who have tirelessly held me accountable in each of them and forged even stronger bonds with my family and friends. The biggest breakthrough came when I found liberation from past bondages that I did not even know existed in my heart. I was able to break free from deep-seated insecurities that manifested themselves through my pride and constant need for validation, and I learned to be grateful for every single moment that I got to pursue my dreams again knowing that it could possibly be my last.
Misery can be your step to experiencing a Joy that is eternal.
When I was able to live freer and be present in every moment, I experienced joy for the first time. I had been so used to pursuing happiness that my emotional state was constantly turbulent and erratic with mountain highs and valley lows. This time, I was able to understand the strength that joy could offer; a strength that sustained me for the long run and gave me peace. It did not mean that I was any less driven, because I grew even more motivated to get up and running after my dreams again, but it made me a lot more grateful for what I have.
Therefore, I can proudly say that goodness can definitely come out of misery and suffering. That’s only if we allow it to. With the right help, you can find joy and peace in the midst of challenging times.
You are not alone. All will be well.
Just believe and keep walking onward.