“Someday you’ll look back and laugh.” This phrase has been a mantra of sorts for me for the past 10 years or so. I have suffered through depression and anxiety, and have hit rock bottom in my life more than once. I have worked jobs I hated (some times three at a time) and made very little money.
I have lost sleep stressing about how I was going to make ends meet. I have had ups and downs in my marriage and relationships. I have lost dear friends and lost touch with others. However, as I look back on my life and reflect, I feel a strong sense of understanding and purpose.
I firmly believe everything we go through, all of our struggle and suffering, has a reason — a lesson, if you will. It is difficult when you are currently in a tough spot to see outside of your situation and reflect. Often times, when we push through and persevere, we have clarity and perspective. I find that perspective is so important and very necessary for personal growth.
The feeling of helplessness and desperation clouds our judgement and perspective but these feelings are also necessary and life changing. The process of being humbled (or even brought to your knees in some cases) by a situation forces you to realize your strengths and weaknesses.
The most important thing I have been able to take with me from all I have been through is understanding fear. Fear drives many people whether it is a lack of fear, a respect for fear or being overtaken and controlled by fear.
People who claim to lack fear may not have a true understanding of what fear is (I’ll get to that in a moment). People who are overtaken and controlled by fear haven’t learned to embrace and understand their own strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, people who know fear, understand fear but are not ruled by it are living a genuine and grounded life. Those who claim to not have any fear are not being honest with themselves.
Fear is not just being “scared” or intimidated by a situation. Fear is also tied to reverence or respect. It reminds me of those T-shirts I have seen on guys that say “No Fear” when in actuality (on an intellectual level) the real “manly” phrase would be “Know Fear.” Know thine enemy. To have knowledge of fear is to understand fear and thus, have a respect for it and thus, not be intimidated by fear (or posture like you have none, which is impossible as humans).
Can you stand in the face of death, death of a loved one or the mortality of self and not be effected? There is a hidden fear even in the most fearless of us…I could go on. There are many examples I could pose to you (the reader) to prove my point, but I digress. It’s what I don’t say here that will spark the contemplation of what I have written.
To bring this article full circle, we come to laughter. What an amazing and beautiful thing laughter is. My sense of humor has been a great tool for me to cope and ease the pressure in my life. Whether its laughter among friends, laughter when watching a movie, a comedian, your favorite show or perhaps, more importantly, laughter at oneself, laughter is good medicine — period.
Some of my darkest times in life have led to some of my deepest laughter, in retrospect…now, when I say that, I am using it figuratively as well as literally. I have had moments where I look back and remember the struggle, I remember the pain and I have been able to feel relief and at times, even just sit and laugh…sometimes until the tears come.
I am living proof that you can overcome, you can achieve and pursue your dreams and aspirations. There is hope! I have been to the edge of my sanity, to the point where I seriously considered ending my life due to exhaustion, depression and anxiety. Here I am today, alive and well, living my dream, doing what I love everyday (by the grace of God).
Trust me, laughter literally and figuratively played a huge part in my life…and still does. Just remember no matter what you are going through, “This too shall pass” and when it does, for the love of life, reflect…appreciate and look back. And laugh.
None of us are immune to the struggles of life; none of us are safe from the fears and desires of life. So…embrace it all. Live in the moment and learn from the past. Push forward to the future. Life is fleeting and beautiful; you just have to recognize that it is. You have so much more strength than you think you do. Learn to love yourself and learn to laugh at yourself in humility. Each day is a chance to gain knowledge and experience of this existence. Do not be afraid to take chances, live your life…it is the only one you get on this Earth!
That’s just my two cents.
Thanks for reading and see you on the road friends! Cheers to life in all its joys and pains!