Hitting Rock Bottom: What Can We Learn and Gain from Life’s Woes

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Whether by fate, transition, or poor choices – we all struggle with the horrible, hitting rock bottom (i.e. “woes“) in our life.

Throughout my life I’ve faced trials in multiple arenas (I’m far from perfect – and that’s okay). However, the gifts I take from these moments are opportunities for growth and learning. 

We can’t control the way people react to us, but we can control the way we react to ourselves; which in the end has the MOST impact on what we do in response to these hardships.

You see, it’s EASY to fall into a pit of fear. Life is scary. Especially when we’re stressed, exhausted, or rejected. (which all super suck, but are necessary for success).

It’s easy to forget some age-old truths, especially in a society that glamorizes being busy and achieving. Below are some “woes” we all face at times and insights we can gain from them.

1. $$ WOES

MONEY does not = happiness. We all need enough stability to pay the bills (which has been hard for me at times as well), but after that… what’s the big deal? Chasing money never made a sad person happy. Money is just a symbol for something else we want: freedom, security, or recognition. Hitting rock bottom is a mental state, not a monetary one. So it’s interesting to take a step back and see what money really means to you. What is it you’re really chasing after?

2. Body WOES

Many people see our bodies as a work of art. Scientifically we are sensitive to things we see as beautiful… for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, we care more about the way a person carries themselves, the tone of their voice, or even how they smell. Instead of thinking of our bodies as THE canvas, I’ve learned over the years that our body is the paint brush. It is the tool we use to create beauty and meaning in our world, not the point of life itself.

Walking around hating our bodies every time we gain or lose weight doesn’t get us any where closer to our REAL goals, which tend to have more to do with doing and being what we dream to be and making sure we make time to care for our bodies so we can do those things. Not punish ourselves for being human and loving things like chocolate (mmm…chocolate).

3. Family WOES

Family woes are hard for most of us to confront/talk about. However, NONE of our families are perfect. As a therapist, I have seen the ins and outs of family woes, and by no means have a perfect family myself. However, there’s a lot to learn from these experiences. The first thing to acknowledge is that having family problems is more of the norm than not. The good news is that there is a lot we can do to set examples in our family and we can still maintain our closeness even if they aren’t always emotionally healthy.

The truth is, our family and parents are just humans with their own struggles trying to figure things out. And that’s okay. Additionally, it may help to find people around you who are emotionally safe if your family is unwilling or unable to be that source of support for you.

4. Friendship WOES

Similar to family woes, however, they may also be opportunities for us learn that:

1. I’m not being as great of a friend as I can be and need to work on X, Y, or Z. (So learn to build those things and if you can’t–it may be a good time to address these skeletons) – Yes, that ugly mirror of true friendship that will tell you “hey, you’ve got that piece of spinach in your soul–you might wanna address that).

Then there’s point 2,

After seriously looking at point 1, then we can fairly conclude that maybe our friend is A) going through some personal stuff and you may have to just wait it out, or last resort… B) they just aren’t positive people to have in your life.

If you’re consistently finding that your friendship woes are tied to part B (ESPECIALLY the negative people part) then you may want to figure out again why you stay with and seek out these types of people. Another learning opportunity for yourself.

There’s definitely plenty of other woes we could address (and I may tackle productive ways to do so in the future) But I’d like to finish on an empowering note that “success is on the same road as our failures”.

So, what can we learn from hitting rock bottom? That there’s A LOT to learn from it.

As a famous rapper named Drake once said, “Started from the bottom, now we here.” (Feel free to put that on repeat in times of doubt).



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