A crisis, tragedy, illness or trauma can blindside us.
It can take the wind out of our sails, stop us in our tracks, and leave our life as we know it changed forever. It can wreak havoc on us physically, mentally and emotionally as we do our best to recover from the shock from what we never saw (or weren’t willing to see) coming down the road.
While these types of life-altering experiences can shake us to the core, have you ever considered the idea that they may possibly be the perfect catalyst for change, or even a gift?
For many of us, our lives don’t change unless they have to. We plod along going about our business and rarely stop to consider how we’ve been living. Many go through life almost sleepwalking; numbly and mindlessly getting through each day. We may go years in an unfulfilling job, with mediocre relationships, loveless marriages, poor health, low energy, and little joy.
We may never have had the confidence we needed to pursue a unique skill that may have led us to discover our greatest passion and purpose. We may have spent our adult lives being too afraid to pursue an exciting opportunity or travel on an unfamiliar path that could have led to something spectacular. We may have put our lives on hold as we wait for the perfect time, season, reason or person to inspire us to take a bold step or make a big move. For some of us, we may have been so caught up in the details of our day that we were unable to see more than getting through our daily “to-do” lists.
We do this day after day after day after day until something wakes us up and somehow inspires us to take a different approach and begin the process of making a much-needed change. What is that something?
Often, it’s a crisis.
We often look at a crisis as a huge and negative disruption in our lives, one that throws us and we wonder if we’ll ever recover from it. But you’ve heard the saying “as one door closes, another door opens.” Well, that door probably closed because of a crisis, tragedy, illness, trauma or, maybe even just a major disappointment. It could have closed because that relationship finally ended, that diagnosis was just given, that business just took a turn, you had to make that major decision, or you got that phone call you hoped would never come. In either case, because one door was closed, a new door was revealed. A door you may never have seen had that first door not closed. A new door, ready for you to open; leading to a very new, very different and possibly very welcomed chapter in your life. Why?
It’s often these types of shake-ups that cause us to reevaluate our lives, ourselves and how we’ve been living.
For example, someone hears a frightening diagnosis. Because of that, they realize they’ve neglected certain people and possibly their own needs as well. The crisis inspired them to make the changes they needed to in order to more fully appreciate those they love as they begin to nurture themselves and their relationships more effectively.
Tragedy also encourages us to make a decision about how we’ve been acting.
For example, maybe you were holding onto a past hurt, a grudge, guilt or pain. A tragedy can allow you see how pointless it may be and can be the perfect catalyst to bringing about a change in the way you think and feel.
A crisis can also cause us to reevaluate our choices and habits.
Maybe someone learned that the years of filling their body and mind with physical and emotional toxins have finally taken its toll and their health is in jeopardy as a result. Because of this, they’re inspired to regain their health and wellness through better habits, choices, actions, and behaviors that will encourage health, healing, and vitality. Through this process, they may even discover a new passion in helping others prevent the same thing from happening to them.
For some, a tragedy can be freeing.
Maybe you felt restricted, stuck, locked into a hopeless and desperate situation. When you had time to heal from the crisis, you may now find that it’s now the perfect time to take that next step that could lead to something even better than before.
The opportunity we get from a tragedy can also force us to live more in the present because we’ve learned just how precious life can be.
It enables us to live richer, more deeply and more fully because we become acutely aware of the gift we’ve been given.
While it’s natural to view tragedy as something terrible it’s often a blessing in disguise if it causes us to reevaluate our lives and take the opportunity it provides to make some changes. Without that tragedy, you may not have thought to reconsider how things were going in areas such as your health, your relationships, your business and your life. There’s always something positive that comes from it if we allow ourselves to find it.
[Related: The Upside of Trauma (Yes, It’s Possible)]
If you allow yourself to heal from a tragedy, take a look at the new you.
Chances are you’ll find that you’ve grown because of the new expanded awareness the tragedy provided. If it weren’t for that tragedy, you may not have made those new changes and grown in that new way. You may never have discovered your true purpose, moved past your comfort zone or learned how brave, courageous and resilient you really are.
Of course, this isn’t to say that we’re not supposed to deeply feel the pain tragedy or trauma can cause and sometimes a crisis hits and it just stinks. Period. Even with that, without addressing, feeling and working through the pain, you probably can’t heal. The idea is to find the lesson the tragedy provides. Find the opportunity, new outlook, perspective or path that the crisis enabled you to see. Find the new door that was revealed as a result of the crisis and the new opportunity that now may be presenting itself to you.
Then, take that new awareness and use it as a catalyst to create a bold, vibrant life filled with love, meaning, and purpose.
Debi Silber MS, RD, WHC, FDN, Founder of www.DebiSilber.com, is a recognized health, weight loss, fitness, wellness, lifestyle and personal development expert, speaker and author who has led countless others to transform into their personal and professional best. Debi’s contributed to FOX, CBS, The Dr. Oz show, TEDx, The Huffington Post, Shape, Self, Health, Forbes, Psychology Today, WebMD, Yahoo Shine, Ladies Home Journal, MSN, Woman's World and Glamour to name a few.