I have also created a video presentation of this article to share the information with individuals who learn through watching and listening. To watch and listen to the video presentation, click on this link: Why and What Might Have Been because of a Traumatic Brain Injury Video Presentation
Recently a friend asked a question that many of us, who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, have asked at some point in time.
“Have you ever thought about why and what might have been?” “What might have been if you had not experienced a brain injury?”.
I thought his question was relevant to many of us who ask, “Why?” and “What Might Have Been?”; and decided to write this article.
Write this article to answer their question.
I do not know why I was chosen to sustain a traumatic brain injury
In 2007 I wrote an article, “Flight of the Butterfly“. In this article, I used the illustration and development of a butterfly. I spoke about the stages (pupa, larvae, caterpillar, and time in a cocoon). The final stage of development was highlighted. Apart from struggle, the developed butterfly, encased in the cocoon, could not free itself.
Although we may feel limited (encased) because of our traumatic brain injuries, we can struggle to strengthen our “wings”. The wings of our destiny to free ourselves. Free ourselves, by learning to use our passions to live through our gifts, talents, and abilities.
Apart from using its wings to set itself free, the butterfly would not be able to fly. The butterfly would otherwise fall to the ground to die or be eaten. The butterfly’s experience speaks to the need for struggle. The butterfly’s experience speaks to me. Apart from struggle, I too would not be able to fulfill my purpose.
The purpose of which we have been created, to “fly” and not “fall to the ground and die”.
A “Switch” On the “Railroad” of Life
I have come to realize that my traumatic brain injury served to be a proverbial “switch”. A proverbial switch on the railroad of life that pointed me in a direction. In a direction that I would not have otherwise traveled. A “track” in which I could learn how to use my gifts, talents, and abilities in ways that would work for me.
A “tract” that would lead and guide me to my destiny.
“In my experience, I have found that it is not as important what happens to us, but how we respond to what has happened to us.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
As I learn to accept, my reality becomes more real. The reality of what I can and can not do because of my traumatic brain injury. The reality that I no 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 am unable to accomplish or I can begin to look for ways that will work for me.
“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
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.
“Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless and add specifically your own creation.” Bruce Lee
Following Your Heart
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, I am given hope. I am given hope by what might be, instead of focusing on what might have been, if only I hadn’t sustained a traumatic brain injury.
“Regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it.” Zig Ziglar
“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)
So If you have people in your life who are telling you to give up, don’t pay attention. Keep looking for your own “technique”. The way that will help you to achieve what you see as important and valuable.
“Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs