You’ve hit rock bottom? Congratulations! No, that isn’t a typo. I really do want to wish you a hearty congratulations.
You have lost your job, your heart has been broken, you have faced your worst fear. Whatever the case may be, it can be beyond terrifying to face a crisis that has turned your world upside down. In no way am I trying to poke fun at your circumstances or make light of your crisis. On the other hand, I do wish to share the silver lining with you. Often when we find ourselves confronted with our worst fears, we feel despondent or broken. Initially, It may be difficult to know which way to go, Your world has been torn apart in some way and now you must decide how to proceed. Well, this is the good news. With careful introspection, this is often the very best and easiest time to achieve growth. One of my former professors explained it as follows: When the brain becomes so overloaded with stress, even to the point of what some would call a “mental breakdown”, the thoughts, memories, and assessments of the world as you knew it, seem to go in free fall Our world as we knew it has ended. What happens next is that your preconceived notions about what could be done become jumbled, loosened, discombobulated.. What I’m saying is that your firm belief that one option was unequivocally bad or that another was the only way to go are suddenly reexamined. Your brain is literally “breaking down” all of the information in your head so that you look at it in new ways. It becomes EASIER to prioritize needs or establish new insights needed to problem solve. Have you ever deliberated on a situation unable to make a decision and then when crisis occurs, been able to see a new path or found it much simpler to prioritize what needs to happen? What’s more, another added benefit of hitting “rock bottom” is that this is often what it takes for us to make necessary change. It is quite easy to coast along when everything is smooth sailing and even easier to ignore or overlook issues that SHOULD get our attention. One common example of this is the addict who continues to use despite repeated offers for help and invariably finds him/herself in increasingly worse circumstances. As long as the addict doesn’t have to face the consequences, there is little motivation to change. Often it is not until one finds him/herself without any options left and there are no more safety nets, that he/she will grasp the severity of the situation. Most recovered addicts will tell you that it took hitting rock bottom for them to get better. But this doesn’t only happen with addicts, it happens with the vast majority of people. Sitting in this period of pain, facing uncertainty or failure with available options, forces imperative core work and the opportunity of immense personal growth. Granted, not everyone has the same “rock bottom”. My threshold may be very different than someone else who has to reach something much worse in order to catch their attention. Indeed, it is often in our most terrifying moments of a “breakDOWN” that we have mental “breakTHROUGHS”. The path suddenly becomes more clear, priorities become glaring, new solutions begin to emerge. What happens next may take some work and be uncomfortable, but when your next steps become clear, it becomes much less scary and overwhelming. So next time you find yourself despondent, know that your direction is about to change.
I can walk with you along this path and help you clarify your direction. And once again, congratulations! This might be just what you needed.