Sometimes Your Worst Times Become Your Best Times

Sometimes Your Worst Times Become Your Best Times

“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.

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22 Comments

  1. I am a huge believer in using a challenging time as a springboard for change. It can easily turn into the biggest growth of your life. However, it’s not always easy – so I definitely want to highlight that it’s not done “just like that”.

    Once you do hit the turning point though, it’s such an empowering experience. Surviving a hard time, and being able to turn your life around isn’t something you would always want to put on your resume, but it can actually turn out to be your most valuable – and transferable – skill.

    Thank you for this inspiring post!

    Reply
    • You are absolutely correct; it’s not easy by any means. It’s not just a flip of a switch. It’s a long series of small actions. Thanks so much for the comment Marthe!

      Reply
  2. Like you, I was also always on the go, not really giving myself some down time. The result was a chronic illness. It made me stop and re-evaluate my life, my goals, deal with some past issues, and then change my life so that it is more ballanced. I also try to focus only on important things in life and take better care of myself.

    Reply
    • Good for you Tita! It’s a constant self check-in. Thanks for reading :)

      Reply
  3. “Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” ~Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

    Reply
    • Love it Chas. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply
  4. I think things always make more sense when you look back on reflect on them. Probably because at that point you have greater knowledge of the whole situation.

    When I look back at tough times I’ve had, I realized that I gained something invaluable and I’ve changed for the better.

    ~Lea

    Reply
    • Completely agree! Thanks for commenting Lea :)

      Reply
  5. I have come to realize that I simply imagined most of my worst times; my growth and commitment to self has been largely through meditation. Parenting has educated me into honesty and persistence as well.

    Reply
    • I think you nailed it for a lot of things, that in of itself is a huge hurdle; eliminating the head chatter that makes things worse. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  6. Eric, thanks for sharing such a practical “life” article. One of my worst moments was being suddenly let go from my job in the financial industry, then discovered later it turned out to be a gift. I reconnected to a healthier me, and awakened to finally doing what work that I am super passionate about and absolutely love.

    Reply
    • That is so exciting Diane! Congratulations! When looking back somehow those dots connected. When in it, you just have to trust that they will. So happy for you! :)

      Reply
  7. Thank you for this article. Presently I am going through a period of homelessness which leads to a feeling of absolute hopelessness. On the positive side I am graduating on 1st July 2014 with a BA (Hons) in English Language/Creative Writing so I am considering my options as I realise I have many opportunities ahead. I am hoping to be able to get through this a changed and more spiritually inclined woman as I feel that my ‘attachment’ to material things led me to lose the little I had. Again thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • No, thank you Veronica and congratulations on graduating! That is a wonderful achievement! And yes, you have oh so many opportunities ahead. Best of luck to you :)

      Reply
  8. Excellent post. Some one said wisely, ” Trouble is like a pebble. Hold it too close to your eyes, it becomes too big and blocks your entire view. Throw it at your feet and it is just one more stepping stone on the pathway to your goal “.

    Reply
    • That is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  9. HI Eric
    Without question, all of the most profound positive changes in my life were a result of really crappy things happening. My father dying put me on my true path, and now I am living the exact life I want. A few years back, my income disappeared overnight and it was terrible, but it put my personal development work into overdrive and I came out on the other side making more money than I ever had. It can be hard to really make significant change unless we are being ‘forced’ in some way by circumstances that are so uncomfortable, we absolutely cannot remain in them.

    Reply
    • Kudos to you Kelli. That is wonderful! Your last line nailed it. Such a beautiful story Kelli, thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  10. Eric, my breakthroughs sometimes happen with little resistance, sometimes with more ;) Each tough moment is a springboard to greater things. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Eric,

    You hit the nail on the head. When it comes to transformation, it is not the circumstances in our lives that define us, but rather how we choose to see them and what we choose to do about them.

    I am reminded of this quote:

    “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”
    ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

    Good luck to you!

    Reply
    • You’re absolutely right. It’s realizing that we have a choice. Love the quote! Thanks so much for sharing :)

      Reply
  12. A springboard indeed Ryan! I appreciate the comment.

    Reply

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