Turning the Curse into a Gift
Losing my mom at the early age of 11, to her mental illness, was devastating for me. I couldn't hug her or touch her because she was the one emotionally hurting me (due to her illness). Not having that motherly support throughout my childhood was something I fought hard with.
My mom taught me such incredible life lessons that the newly her was a contrast I couldn't stand. I wanted the old her back. I wanted my mom back. I just needed her hug. But I was disgusted with her mental illness and didn't know how to reconcile my feelings. As a result, I rejected the reality, then came the depression, then when depression didn't change the reality I started having suicidal thoughts. I just wanted out of this picture. That spiral down was extremely hard. I lived inside it for close to a decade before I hit rock bottom. At that point there was only live or die left. It took tremendous work and a lot of years to learn how to accept what I didn't want and to find beauty in it - the gift, or even miracle, I now call my life.
When we don’t accept our reality, for any kind of reason – it’s not what we want, life dealt us difficult cards, or we are dissatisfied with the options we have – we suffer. It can be as small as a restaurant messing up our reservation, a friend letting us down, a promotion we didn’t get, or as big and difficult to accept as losing both legs, someone dying, and everything in between. Our suffering comes from not wanting to accept the reality that’s in front of us, or wanting to avoid a displeasure, because it’s not meeting our expectation.
Normally when we resist the reality we get depressed, because the reality doesn’t change. We feel hopeless and trapped. We don’t want any of the options we have. We try to avoid pain. Yet the only thing that can change is our attitude towards the situation. The road downhill from there is paved with pain and suffering. If the issue is small – we let go fairly quickly and move on, unless we are spoiled. But if the issue is big, the question left is who will break first - us or the reality, and at what price? Since the reality won’t most likely change we are left with two options – either get even more depressed and eventually suicidal thoughts will start as a defense mechanism, or surrender and accept the new reality. But how do we surrender? How do we jump the depression part?
We accept with love the new situation and accept that it is the new status quo, realizing that if we like it or not, it is here to stay. We give up feeling sorry for ourselves, the pity party and blaming others or life for that matter, for what happened. We give up the conversation of ‘life isn’t fair’ and ‘why me?’ Or in other words, we own the new reality fully, whether we like it or not!
This is part of the attitude of what I call - super positivity. Super positivity is like a super power we can tap into that puts us above difficult situations giving us an emotional sturdiness, and a different outlook on life and the challenges we face.
Then, we start to look for the gifts that are hidden inside the difficult situation – past or present. If not for my mom’s mental illness I wouldn’t have had, for example, this incredible ability to understand our emotional human structure, or to develop such a high level of somatic intelligence, i.e. emotional intelligence which is understood through the soma, the body. Overcoming such a difficult situation made me courageous enough to believe that I could concur any goal or stage, including TED, if I just put my mind to it.
Would all of this make me want my mom to get sick? No. But that’s a choice I was never given. What I can choose is how I see the things that enter my life – chosen or not. Focusing on the gifts that we receive allow us to notice that we have developed in an area that wouldn’t have otherwise developed, as a compensation. I have counted to-date +50 such incredible gifts that truly enrich my life.
What happens over time as we start to be thankful for the gifts, is that we start to accept and eventually love what we have. If you’ll work on it enough time, and decide that you want to turn this into a miracle, your life will become so emotionally rich that one day you will not change a thing about the past.
Challenges provide us with the biggest opportunities for growth if we just surrender to them. At times they provide quantum leap size growth.
On the other hand, dissatisfaction is about giving up responsibility – the responsibility for our own happiness and well-being – we get to blame someone or something and put the responsibility outside of us, plus play the victim. Depression, anxiety, stress and burnout start when we give up the responsibility for our well-being and circumstances. Imagine what will happen if being unhappy wasn’t an option? What needs to happen for us to dance well between the two worlds of enjoyment and responsibility?
Enjoyment is our innate state when we are born – we seek only pleasure and we cry when we can’t get what we want - our body somatically knows. As we grow into childhood we seek play all the time. We are not concerned with tasks, to do lists or responsibilities, we just want to have fun. But when we grow into adulthood we change the intention – we focus on being productive, efficient, responsible, mature… It’s not that these are bad qualities, they are fantastic. But the mistake is when we think we need to be playful or serious, rather than be playful and serious. This and this, rather than this or this. There is time and place for everything and the trick is to find the right balance. At the end of the day, happiness and satisfaction are based on pleasure and meaning, which are central to our well-being and joy of life.
If the content of this article resonates with you, and you feel like you need help implementing these insights into your life through structure and practical tools, have a read of the Power of Enjoyment retreat in Morocco – designed to equip you with powerful tools for experiencing enjoyment and super positivity in your day to day life. Not only will we teach you this unique knowledge collected over 20 years of study, but also how to build self-discipline throughout the program, sending you home with a 60-day plan of action, so you will keep strengthening that emotional muscle and integrating this knowledge into your life.
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