Recently a friend asked a question that many of us who have experienced a brain injury have asked at some point in time, “Have you ever thought about what might have been if you had not experienced a brain injury?”.
I thought his question was relevant to many of us asking, “Why?” and What Might Have Been?; that I decided to write this article to share part of my answer to his question.
I wrote an article in 2007 called the Flight of the Butterfly, in which I spoke about the development of the butterfly from the pupa to the larvae, to the caterpillar, to the cocoon and then to the butterfly.
In that article, I spoke about the need for the butterfly (in the cocoon) to struggle to strengthen its wings. Apart from the struggle to strengthen its wings, the butterfly would fall to the ground to die or be eaten. Apart from that struggle, the butterfly would not be able to fly to fulfill its mission. The mission for which it was created.
The butterfly’s experience speaks to me in its struggle. Apart from struggle, I too would not be able to fulfill my purpose. The purpose of which I have been created.
I have also come to realize that my brain injury served to be a switch on the railroad of life. Although my life was traveling down a tract of life, the impact of my traumatic brain injury served as a “switch” to lead me down an unintended track of life.
A track of life that would reveal new possibilities to me. A track of life that I would have not otherwise traveled. A track that would help me to find my way to create a good life for myself and fulfill my destiny.
As I accept, my reality becomes more real. The reality that I can and can not do because of my traumatic brain injury. The reality that I longer have the ability to fulfill what might have been, if I had not sustained a brain injury. Consequently, I can stay stuck focusing on what I unable to accomplish or begin to look for ways that will work for me.
I can stay stuck by staring at the door that has closed to me or I can begin to look for the door that is opening for me. By looking for the new door, I begin to realize that I have choices. Although I am faced with frustration and disappointment I do not have to stay stuck by what I can not change.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller
By realizing that I have choices, new possibilities become reality. By realizing that I have a choice to look for the door that is or is set to open for me, By doing so, I am given hope. Hope of what might be, instead of focusing on what might have been, if only I hadn’t sustained a brain injury.
Gaining acceptance of my reality is and continues to be – at times – a long journey from the “what if’s “ in life. Embracing the reality that my life has been and continues to be impacted by a brain injury is a struggle at times. But what I need to remember about the experience of the butterfly, is that my wings are and continue to be strengthened. My wings are being strengthened through struggle and the work that I am putting into building on my lot in life.
“Regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it.” Zig Ziglar
Acceptance is a very HARD pill to swallow, especially when I want what is out of reach. But the good news is that I can build upon that acceptance. I do not have to remain feeling stuck. By accepting what is, I am able to stop fighting against myself. I am able to cease from striving and I am able to let go of outcomes. I am able to experience the possibilities of creating hope in my life. And in the process of creating hope in my life, I am able to stop focusing on what might have been – if I had not experienced a brain injury – to what can be because I experienced a brain injury. On June 16, 2015, I launched a second website in which I share what has helped me to stop focusing on what might have been so that I could create a good life.
I would invite and encourage you to visit Create a Spark of Hope by clicking on this link: Create a Spark of Hope. Simply scroll down the website to read articles from each of the below categories. As you do and questions come to mind, please send those questions to me. I would love to hear from you. All questions are good questions. All comments are welcomed.
Not Giving Up
“I was told over and over again that I would never be successful, that I was not going to be competitive and the technique was simply not going to work. All I could do is shrug my shoulders and say, ‘we’ll just have to see.” Dick Fosbury (Olympic Gold Medalist. Inventor of the “Fosbury Flop” High Jump Technique)
You have my permission to share my articles and or video presentations with anyone you believe could benefit, however, I maintain ownership of the intellectual property AND my articles, video presentations, and eBooks are not to be considered OPEN SOURCE. Please also provide a link back to Second Chance to Live. In the event that you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions. I look forward to hearing from you. More Information: Copyright 2007 – 2021.