LIST 16 | List the things you are most proud of overcoming.
I’ve had to sit with this prompt for a while since my knee-jerk reaction is that I naturally believe there is little I’ve overcome, I simply live my life. I face issues, own them and move onward.
I realize that all of us deal with levels of adversity and challenge. I believe we learn the best lessons from our hardest trials and the resulting successes and failures, at least I have. Don’t think I come from a place of success as I’ve failed a lot more than not. One thing I am is resilient. It’s a habit for which I had no choice. I am better for all of it:
The recent death of my mother brought a wave of memories that had me realize that my many weaknesses: sensitivity, empathy, kindness, generosity, enthusiasm are, in fact, my strengths. My stubborn streak and faith in myself runs deep and has saved me repeatedly over the years. I was told by the adults in the room that she tried to break my spirit and am grateful for the strength that it never became my truth. I overcame because I believe in myself and my ability to pivot and make the best of the worst, aka my life-long motto: “shit into sunshine”.
As much as the circumstance was completely out of my control, I hated the fact that I dropped out of university. It took me a long time and a lot of work (thank you, Brené Brown, Colette Baron-Reid and Danielle LaPorte and others) to realize that the education route wasn’t my path and that my non-completion does not make me stupid or unworthy of a good life. I had a full and challenging career that, upon reflection, brought me much success. I overcame because I eventually came to understand that perpetual anger is unsustainable and that forgiveness is for yourself not for your circumstance or for those who have inflicted hurt on you.
I view my divorce as a failure though it was inevitable: it was doomed 40-days after the wedding. Eighteen years later, it was time to cut ties. I could no longer live a life that did not reflect my values. I know it was hard on my kids – the marriage was harder. It was tough on me, too. I’ll not go into details but the hits that came have provided the solid and loving roadmap for my life now. That was seven years ago and I know for sure that I can do hard, seemingly impossible, things. I overcame it all by realizing that I am a better person for him being in my life, a person I wouldn’t and couldn’t have been without him.
I was recently reminded that in the early 2000s I was a member of a toxic (and what I thought was long defunct) message board of scrapbooking mums. I know the majority are lovely but the trolls are cruel and insecure. I left after writing one final post that simply proved to me that online bullying is not reserved for the pre-teen or teenagers among us. Mean girls are everywhere. I overcame by studying and becoming a certified life coach which had me understand not only their pack mentality but you can feel compassion while keeping a safe distance. The only way to deal with some things is to remove yourself and block the insidious behaviour.
Health issues have been tough to overcome: chronic asthma still plagues me since I was a teen and prednisone might be a saviour for most but for me it is dreadful; psoriasis is a miserable (and sometimes painful) condition; thyroid disease almost had me lose my mind and is now under control; Dupuytrens contracture could only be addressed by surgery and as a writer, I’m happy to be able to reach the “a” key! I overcame by realizing the only way to stay healthy was to comply, to listen to my body and to the doctors, take the medications and say no to things that would trigger a health crisis.
I’ve also come to realize that sometimes things come to an end simply because it’s time. Those are no less hard to overcome because they come with a factor of uncertainty, so many questions unanswered. My list above is those things I took responsibility for and made an effort to address.
I was also reminded of the brilliantnt words of Elizabeth Gilbert you can find at the front page of this website:
“The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.”
What about you? What are you most proud of overcoming?