Early in my coach training, the founder of my school, Bruce D. Schneider, said: “Are your painful experiences stumbling blocks or stepping stones?”
I thought about this for quite a long time. No two lives are the same and the impact of each experience we have makes us different. So the question becomes: How do we allow the journey to determine who we become? That depends on whether we shrink versus adversity or approach it with unbridled curiosity and open mindedness.
Can you embrace challenges as lessons to help you grow? If so, then the best of you will find its way to the surface. Otherwise, the self-doubt, hurts, and fears will stack themselves into a messy pile, creating a wall so thick that it holds you back from your hopes and meaningful dreams — should you even dare to dream them.
Life evolves and takes many detours. We are the sum of our experiences, actions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and viewpoints. Based on our choices, they interplay to shape how we show up in each moment and define what we can become.
Every day there are choices to make. Do you follow the consistent path of least resistance by being a people-pleaser or a doormat? Can you garner the strength to find your voice, speak up, and set boundaries? When old wounds are opened, do you overreact to the situation?
Whenever you push out the sides of your self-made box, even slightly, the ability to expand your horizons gets easier. The results progressively lead to overall more satisfaction, enjoyment, fulfillment and, ultimately, tapping into your life’s true purpose.
So how can we release what is holding us back from living an optimal life? Many people are able to start the process by being a student of life, viewing it as something that is happening for you, not to you. That’s a great start. Also forgive yourself of what you think you should have done or not done, said or not said. Bless the road well-traveled regardless of its knots, twists, and turns. Be flexible to alternative routes. Learn to treat yourself with respect, kindness, and value. Know gratitude and safeguard your positive outlook and joy.
Most importantly, learn to love yourself again.
By Donna J. Spina