When I was in the depth of my depression, two summers ago, gratitude was far from my thoughts. I was so caught up in the drama in my life, I couldn’t see that there would ever be a way out. I felt like no matter which direction I went, I would never be happy, and I would always be hurting someone. I saw myself, deep down, as a bad person. These thoughts plagued me and I ultimately found myself dreading the rest of my life.
And only when it got so dark did I finally search for the light. I knew there had to be a better way to live. An internet search on “how to stay in the present moment” turned up a couple articles, which led to a couple books, that started to teach me about the power of my thoughts and my focus. The power of my beliefs, especially about myself. I realized that my negative beliefs about myself were taking a huge toll on my quality of life.
It’s been a year and a half since that day, the day I call my spiritual awakening. I never thought I would say this, but I’m now grateful for those dark days. If I hadn’t gotten so low, I would never have reached out for help. I would never have been willing to seek a different way.
It’s taken a lot of self study and persistence, but I now see myself as a person of value and goodness. I know I’m worthy of my dreams. I know I have great purpose. And now I try to keep in mind that, through any challenge, big or small, I can be grateful because these challenges are what grow me as a person.
My friend’s daughter, 9 years old, recently showed me a handout from her school – which has to be one of the coolest schools EVER – teaching kids the difference between a Growth Mindset vs. a Fixed Mindset. (Even cooler, the Growth Mindset is represented by the Force, and the Fixed Mindset is represented by the Dark Side.) The Growth Mindset sees learning and growth as a priority, and therefore sees challenge as something to embrace. The Fixed Mindset avoids challenges and gives up when things get hard. So great for kids, but we adults need this reminder too!!
As I sit here writing this, I just moved to a new city, in a new state, and I’m worried about money. I’m looking for a job, trying to change directions in my career. I’m getting divorced. I’m learning things about myself that I haven’t been willing to look at before. It can get ugly! I’m stumbling…stress eating…feeling insecure. But I’m also remembering how those darkest days were what made me turn my face to the light…and now how I praise that period of my life as the catalyst for so much positive change. I know that these challenges I face now, are the forerunners of becoming prouder of, and more in love with, myself.
My definition of spiritual growth is getting closer to my own true self – the unconditional love at the core of who I am. This love helps me make decisions, helps guide me to the right relationships, shows me my purpose, and makes me feel fulfilled. This is the gift in the garbage. This is why growth, and therefore challenge, is so important.
My message is this: Every one of us is good, valuable, and worthy of our own greatest potential. You are worthy of the love that you already are!! Embrace your challenges and the growth that is coming…you are SO worth it!