“Even your worst times have value and can become, in retrospect, your best times.”
– Andy Andrews, The Noticer

I remember a year ago, the pounding, the darkness, the pain that I was feeling. I felt like I was about to rupture. I had it all locked up tight within me, the feelings, the stubbornness, pride, ego, humility; my truth.

I got to a point when it felt like my heart was beating and pumping outside of my chest. The stress and anxiety were taking a toll on me physically, all stemming from my emotional baggage.

The pain was damaging not only myself, but the relationships and connections around me. I thought the longer I could hold it off and keep pushing it down the more likely it would go away. As I suppressed it only festered.

This point in my life was the lowest and I knew I had to do something about it. I knew slowly but surely I had to crack the exterior of my being to be able to fix what was brewing inside.

How?

How would be the journey of intentional self growth. It was a commitment I made, to me, to take care of myself first. I was the priority. I realized that if I am not my best self, I can’t give my best self to others, to those that need me most; my wife, my son.

I committed to the process.

Though, I couldn’t tell you the process in detail, but I think it’s a level of intent with a mixture of deep desire to want to change that sheds light on the opportunities to take action on. The most important, though, is taking action.

I knew I wasn’t going to be given this key to turn and all of a sudden I would change. I knew it was going to take work, discipline and trust in the process; the journey.

This combination began to shape the lens in which I saw things; the opportunities. An opportunity presented itself when reading a book and listening to a podcast that would forever change my perspective and mindset I had on the source of all of this darkness.

It was discovering the in-between moments, slowing down and embracing the mundane.

See, up until that point I was in constant motion. I was always working and rushing towards the next big thing without noticing that my life was essentially becoming a blur.

I discovered how this very moment is a narrative to my story; my life. And at that point I realized how out of tune I was with both myself and the present moment. I realized how I was simply going through the motions.

This was ultimately the discovery that would open the door and nudge me towards self growth.

The transformation in which occurred had simply changed my life. The lens in which I saw things had shifted.

I now see the external circumstances, the failures and mistakes, that were causing such pain and stress differently. I am grateful for them. Without them I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to change, to reinvent. In fact, those exact circumstances are still in my life today, the only change, however, is how I choose to see them.

Part of this journey is instilling intentional actions that support self growth. Actions that act as a spring board in becoming a better version of yourself than you were the day before.

Committing to this journey I was slowly able to crack open the vulnerability vault; to dust off the deep and dark pockets of who I was. The things that have been suppressed and festering for so many years.

I began to quietly expose those things, through self reflection, journal writing and meditating. As this part of the journey unfolded, seeing my failures differently, being vulnerable, focusing on the present moment, the weight was gradually lifting off of my shoulders.

The more I exposed my vulnerabilities, the more pockets I began to discover within me, the freer I felt.

The pain in my chest has subsided. The stress I was used to carrying has vanished. It’s all because of the way I chose to view my failures. It’s all because I tossed my ego aside and started owning my mistakes and accepting my flaws.

It’s all because of the in-between moments, the present moment, the moments that are ultimately defining our lives. The very moments that are writing our story.

Committing to a journey of intentional self growth is trusting in the process. It’s trusting that the pain you expose will lead you to growth; to a better version of yourself than you were the day before.

It’s trusting that the work you put in on your best days, will be your compass for your worst days. It’s understanding that this is a journey, a journey that travels through both mountaintops and low valley’s.

Take care of yourself first; spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Choose, and want, to connect with yourself on a daily and consistent basis; through reading, reflection, writing. It comes from within, from the soul, from the heart.

Take care of yourself first so you can truly give to others later, the best way you can and know how. To make a difference in, and be part of, something much
larger than yourself.

Looking back at your life, is there a failure or mistake that has changed because you now see differently?

Photo by José Manuel Ríos Valiente

Eric Ungs

Founder of the Unless You Care Project. Writing about an intentional journey of self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of The Unless You Care Manifesto; 10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life. Get your free copy here.

Latest posts by Eric Ungs (see all)