A decade ago, I hit rock bottom after experiencing many challenges.
It started at the tender age of eight with a near-death experience due to an unexpected illness. I had only a few hours to live when I was hospitalized and started treatment.
This traumatic experience would be the first of many other challenges that stole my insouciance and led to an existential crisis, a deep wound in my faith, and a search for meaning in life.
By the time I reached my late 20s, I felt I had lived a thousand lives and experienced so much. Perhaps too much. I had faced obstacles in all areas of my life that took a big hit on me mentally and emotionally. As I struggled to overcome them, I crashed and hit rock bottom.
Night after night, I curled up on my bedroom floor, sobbing over the unexpected and out-of-control events that had led me to such a dark place. Life seemed to be against me. I was fighting battles so much bigger than myself, and I had no idea what to do next. I felt small and lost. Mostly, I felt alone in my misery. I didn’t want to look weak, but I had finally hit a wall and couldn’t keep up with appearances anymore. My strength and motivation completely disappeared as the courageous person I once was became a shadow of her former self. I felt much shame.
I didn’t speak about this challenging period for many years after overcoming it. It made me feel so inadequate as an adult. Only the closest people around me knew about the turmoil I had experienced. However, with time, I realized there was nothing shameful about reaching rock bottom. It’s like a rite of passage, a phase in life, not the end of it. If you allow it, it can mark the beginning of a new chapter and a new you.
Rock bottom was a catalyst for great change in my life.
It broke me open as I grew tired of fighting change. The person I was up until this point had gone as far as she could, and it was time to let go of the comfort zone she held onto tightly, no matter how unhealthy her environment was.
Reaching my lowest point pushed me to look at the fears eating me up and preventing me from taking action. Being in this vulnerable state allowed me to get into a place of surrender and feel wholeheartedly all the emotions that I had bottled up for two decades. There was no more running away from the traumas of my past and the emotional turmoil that had taken over my life. I needed to face them all so that I could transcend them.
As I went within and did the introspective work necessary to overcome this crisis, I got to know myself better. I reevaluated my past choices and realized how and why my fears had kept me in despair for so long. I learned from my mistakes and gained a higher level of awareness. I was no longer going through life mindlessly. I shed the victim identity that had imprisoned me for so long and realized that how I saw myself played a crucial role in how I responded to the events in my life. As a victim, I crumbled down whenever the unexpected and unfortunate happened. As the hero of my journey, I felt empowered.
I always knew I deserved a better life than the one I had settled for. And rock bottom forced me to take responsibility for my actions, or lack thereof, in this case. I realized that life is full of choices, and the ones I make impact my path forward.
Undoubtedly, rock bottom was not where I was supposed to spend another minute of my life, so I asked myself the big questions: Who do I want to become? How do I want to live? What actions can I take to get there?
Reaching rock bottom allowed me to expand my horizons and rebuild my life on a stronger foundation. I read self-help books and found inspiration in others who had gone through similar experiences. I expanded my religious background to a more spiritual one and gained a higher consciousness, which helped me grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I identified the core beliefs upon which I wanted to create the following chapters of my life.
I gained much wisdom and understood I was exactly where I needed to be. As Tony Robbins often says, “Life doesn’t happen to you; it happens for you.”
Every event, even the soul-crushing ones, was for my greater good. There was no need to wallow in misery and self-pity when I could focus on the opportunities that every situation presented. This change in mindset was the key to transcending even the most awful situations. Yes, I could turn my problems into blessings, obstacles into miracles, and challenges into my greatest teachers.
It felt empowering because even if circumstances out of my control came my way, I now knew that my power lay in how I responded to them and took advantage of them. There was no reason to be frustrated and feel stuck anymore.
Eventually, rock bottom was no longer a shameful place. On the contrary, it was a place where profound changes happened. This dark period became a blessing in disguise and one of the most remarkable experiences in my life as I peeled off the old layers of myself that no longer served me and discovered a refined version of myself.
Because of it, I found a better way of living.
As it turned out, rock bottom is not the end of one’s life but merely the beginning of a new, wonderful one.