Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. In Part 6 of this series, I would like to share some of the lessons that have helped me through my process and on my journey. These lessons have evolved out of my recovery process in seeking solutions to matters discussed in Parts 1-5 of this series. These lessons have not come overnight. Individually they have not provided “silver bullets”, “magic potions” or “quick solutions”. Instead, each solution has helped me to connect the “dots” of my experience and provide hope for my journey.
As shared in Parts 1 and 2 I grew up believing that I was responsible for other people’s feelings, needs and wants. As a consequence of not being able to meet many expectations, I believed that I did not just make mistakes, but that I was a mistake. Through my recovery process, I discovered that there were 3 rules that I needed to break in order to heal emotionally and spiritually. I needed to break the 3 rules, Don’t talk, Don’t Trust and Don’t Feel. To do so, I needed to become aware of why I was feeling like I was a mistake and where I ended and other people began as they related to me.
In my experience, I had to reach a point in my life that denying my reality was more painful than my need to deny my reality in an attempt to prove that there was nothing wrong with me. In my experience, I found that I had to grieve my reality through the process of moving through the 5 stages of grieving – Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. I needed to grieve my reality so that I could begin to accept my reality. What I also discovered was that as I grew in my acceptance of my reality, I grew in awareness. My ongoing awareness helped me to take a different action.
Below is a list of actions that my resolving and accepting my reality brought about in my life. What I share below is a work in progress for me. I have not arrived, but I am aware. Although brief, the bullets give me solutions to living life on life’s terms. The solutions have been birthed out of my struggle and commitment to my recovery process. As shared above, the solutions did not come overnight. The lessons that brought about these awareness’ and solutions came through hard work, a commitment to not giving up and trust in the process, a loving God and myself.
So that I could pursue excellence, instead of being driven by perfectionism.
So that I could do the footwork and let go of the outcomes of my footwork.
So that I could begin to trust the process, a loving God and myself.
So that I could see that my circumstances are a way to build me up, not to keep me down.
So that I could see that I am not my traumatic brain injury or my invisible disability.
So that I could see that disappointments and disillusionment that I experienced for many years as important parts of my process — to move me from one piece of the puzzle to another and in the direction of my destiny.
So I could find ways to use what I could do through my gifts, talents, and abilities in ways that would work for me for people who would want what I had to give.
So that I could accept my inability to do some things because of my deficits and limitations and stop berating myself for my inability to do those things.
So that I could live and explore outside of the box that societal stigmatization sought to keep me in through dismissing, discounting, patronizing, minimization and marginalization.
So that I could begin to love, accept and celebrate who I am as an individual who is living with residual deficits and limitations from the injury to my brain.
So that I could stop fighting against myself while defending the denial system that kept me believing that I was bad and defective because of the residual deficits and limitations from the injury to my brain injury.
So that I could break free from the denial system that kept me feeling like a mistake – because I was unable to not be affected by the residual deficits and limitations from the injury to my brain injury.
So that I would know when I was being bullied.
- So that I could be able to distinguish between whether a social group was good for me or not good for me. If I was being bullied by the group.
So that I could accept the things I can not change, change the things I can, have the wisdom to know the difference and then be at peace with that difference.
So that I could make peace with a loving God and myself.
So that I could stop being the identified patient – for more information, please read my 2 part article: Traumatic Brain Injury and the Identified Patient — Part 1, Traumatic Brain Injury and the Identified Patient — Part 2
So that I could begin to see life is a process, a journey not a destination.
- So that I could begin to realize that all I could do is the footwork and then trust a loving God with the outcomes.
- So that I could realize that my job is to learn “how-to” from various ingredients and then combine what “I learned” together to bake various cakes.
- So that I could begin to realize that there is no such thing as failure, only an opportunity to learn.
- So that I could see what I did not understand as switches on the railroad of life – that help to redirect my life to keep me moving in the direction of my destiny.
- So that I could begin to realize that what occurs in my life is meant to set me up, not set me back.
- So that I could begin to realize that the process (what I am learning) is more important than the destination (where I think I should end up).
- So that I could stop living for the “when” in life, so that I could begin to live in “now” in life.
- So that I could begin to see that my circumstances are not meant to keep me down, but they are meant to build me up.
- So that I could learn from the lesson of the caterpillar and the butterfly. The struggle is essential to be strong enough to fly.
- So that I could learn from the Elephant’s riddle. Achieving goals, one bite at a time.
- So that I would keep stepping up to the plate and not give up trying: Home runs, strikeouts (Babe Ruth) and light bulbs (Thomas Edison)
- So that I could begin to see achieving goals is like gathering ingredients and baking cakes
- So that I could begin to realize that multicolored threads (many times jumbled) being used to create a beautiful tapestry (my life).
- So that I could understand the parable of the “cracked pots”
- So that I could understand the power of identification, to avoid the comparison trap.
- So that I could share with traumatic brain injury survivors that there is hope. Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Don’t give up!!!
- So that I could begin to realize that it is not as important what happened or happens to me, as what I do with what happened or happens to me.
- So that I could begin to realize that there is no such thing as a happy victim.
- So that I could begin living beyond the box that societal stigmatization seeks to place me in through minimization and marginalization.
- So that I could be to see disappointment, discouragement, and disillusionment as an opportunity.
- So that I could begin to comprehend the principle of progress, not perfection.
- So that I could realize that my dreams and my destiny were not out of my reach because of my traumatic brain injury and invisible disability.
- So that I could learn how to trust my judgment instead of defaulting to other people’s judgment.
- So that I could learn how to harness my adversity, instead of feeling defeated by my adversity.
- So that I could allow my experiences to teach me lessons that prepare me for opportunities, that provide experiences that teach me lessons, that prepare me for more opportunities. I believe that collectively, my lessons, experiences, and opportunities are all pieces of my puzzle that are leading me in the direction of my destiny.
- So that I could make peace with my past, so that my past would no longer spoil my present.
- So that I could begin to realize that all I could do is the footwork and then trust the outcomes to a loving God.
- So that I could begin to realize that with all learning there is a learning curve.
- So that I could begin to accept that I don’t have to have or know the big picture to have peace in my life.
- So that I could begin to realize that the pieces of my experience will come together at the right time and in the right order.
- So that I could trust that the “dots” will connect forward.
To read Part 7 of this series, please click on this link: Part 7
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