Darkest moments can signal positive life changes

Darkest moments can signal positive life changes

When life takes you to the darkest places, absolutely no one around you can understand how you feel or what you are going through.

When life takes you to the darkest places, absolutely no one around you can understand how you feel or what you are going through.

by Mark Bowness — 

Crash. Bang. Reality. As I woke up, a dark misty haze was swirling around my mind. The moment I recognized I was in a hospital bed, the events of the past 24 hours came flooding into my mind. I had tried to take my own life. At the age of 26, my marriage had ended, and along with it, the nonprofit organization that I had worked so passionately to grow was pulled out from under me. At that moment in time, living ceased to be an option.

After a seven-year relationship, my wife had walked out the door, never to return — and as I sat in our apartment surrounded by everything we had built together, the future seemed dark and overwhelming. It was a future that I was certain I could not endure. I turned to Google and typed “most painless and quickest way to kill myself.”

I still maintain that my attempt at wiping my existence off the face of the planet was the best thing to happen to me — it totally changed my life. Whether it is the end of a relationship, the struggle to get a job, or an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and lack of direction, we all experience dark moments in life. But these most difficult times can turn out to be the most profound.

Let me share with you four ways that your darkest moments can be the makings of your new life, should you choose to see them as a doorway.

Forced self-intimacy — When life takes you to the darkest places, absolutely no one around you can understand how you feel or what you are going through. Others may have had a similar experience, but only you can react to situations the way that you do.

During tough times, you are forced to stare at yourself, eyeball to eyeball, as though you are standing in the mirror and gazing deep into your very soul. As you engage in these moments of forced self-intimacy, crucial decisions can be made that redefine who you are, what you want and what you are willing to accept or not accept in your life.

The choices you make during this dark period lay the foundation for a powerful life change.

Blank canvas opportunity — We all tend to take life for granted. Trying to end my life was my awakening moment to this truth. I truly recognized with my head and my heart that this life is lived only once. I made a decision to view my life as a blank canvas, to start again and paint whatever picture I so desired for my future.

The result was that I created an eco-island business in Fiji that gained worldwide media attention. Filmed for 18 months, it became a TV show on BBC that aired in the UK, Australia and America. My darkest moment became the catalyst for me to pursue life in all its fullness. As a result, I embarked upon a crazy adventure.

Benchmarked experience — When you experience a powerful life situation and nothing feels as though it could get any worse, you have actually built a foundation of experience on which to reconstruct the rest of your life. Nothing is worse than trying to take your own life. With this new understanding, I launched a bold and daring business idea. Even if I went bankrupt, it could never be as bad as non-existence.

The tough times you endure give you a place of reference and provide the motivation to continue on. When you have endured “x” — no matter how horrific and terrible — and you are still standing, then you are filled with the hope and strength to get through the smaller daily battles.

A moment of awakening — There are times in your life when everything piles on top of you and, as a result, you can make unhealthy or unwise decisions, such as wrong relationships, destructive behavior patterns and addictions. Friends and loved ones may tell you that you are on a destructive path, but you do not listen, as it is a path that brings comfort in the moment.

I truly believe that at times we are given a place to break down. It is through this breakdown experience that we undergo a powerful transformation and can let go of all that no longer serves us, arriving at a moment of awakening. Then we can rebuild ourselves and truly discover who we are, what we are about and everything we stand for — from the ground up. These are the powerful moments of true awakening.

If you are on the precipice, I encourage you not to simply endure your life, but to embrace it.

In fact, so no one need go through this alone, I have created a free online community called New Year’s Revolution where you can find support from experts and other people just like yourself who are working to get over the hump.

So do not wallow — grab life by the horns, wrestle it to the ground and overcome your demons. I truly know that you will look back and be able to say that this moment, right now, was the best thing that ever happened to you. I believe in you.

 

Mark Bowness is passionate about changing people’s lives. He created a free online community called New Year’s Revolution where you can find support from experts and other people just like yourself who are working to get over the hump. joinanewyearsrevolution.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 34, Number 3, June/July 2015.

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