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How Hitting Rock Bottom May Be the Best Thing That Has Ever Happened to You

Lessons I Learned at My All-Time Low

This is for all those people who think they have hit rock bottom in their lives.

You think that this is as bad as it gets and it possibly can’t get any worse.

There are times in our lives when everything just decides to happen all at once: Our job ends, our marriage/relationship breaks down, someone in the family dies or becomes horribly sick, we lose a friend. At such a time, all we want to do is stay in bed all day and watch Netflix. And cry.

I wouldn’t say that doing those things is such a bad idea. After such an ordeal, we need a recovery period to process everything and grieve. But once the mourning ends, you can make hitting rock bottom the best thing that ever happened to you, and here’s why.

1. You get stripped of the inessential so you can re-build your life the way you want.

There is something liberating about losing everything. You won’t understand this until you have actually lost everything. I am not trying to romanticize adversity and saying that it’s all fun: it’s not. It’s tough and messy. But when you lose everything, you realize that you have also lost all the things you didn’t really need – things you were hanging onto not because you needed them, but because you were used to them. Humans like familiarity, and predictability. But predictability is boring. Once you hit rock bottom, you have absolutely no idea where your life is going to go from there. But you hold the sails; hence you can take your life in whichever direction you want.

When you look at the really successful people, you’ll notice a pattern — they all hit rock bottom once in their lives, and that’s where they took off from. JK Rowling, Steve Jobs, all faced major adversity to become successful. Isn’t it exciting to think that there was a time when they too felt like the failure you consider yourself today?

We all want big, positive changes to happen in our lives. But the problem is that we just want them to happen without feeling any pain. We want to wake up one day and suddenly be more productive, more useful, healthier and happier. But that cannot happen if we keep going through the motions day in and day out. We need a big change to happen, one that knocks the wind out of us, brings us to our knees and makes us completely bare and vulnerable so that we realize the transient nature of people and things and work towards building ourselves up.

“Do not worry if your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you know is better than the one to come?”

- Rumi

2. It can’t get any worse, so there is no expectation.

When I hit rock bottom, it felt like the world had ended. All my dreams and aspirations were gone, just like that. My friends were gone. I had no idea what to do with myself. I wallowed in self-misery for a while, but then I started to realize how life had handed me an opportunity I probably wasn’t going to get a second time. I had so much time on my hands, and nobody really expected anything from me, so I could do whatever I wanted to. I knew I loved to write, and I always wanted to have my own blog, so I gave it a shot.

The thing is if I hadn't hit rock bottom, if I had just kept going with the dull, dissatisfying flow of my life, I would never have had the guts to start this blog. It might sound sad that no one expects anything from you, but just imagine how many opportunities it opens up for you. You have the freedom to use your time however you wish, and you can use it to grow and create something that YOU want.

3. You realize who your real friends are.

Some of us just have the knack for being friends with all the wrong people. It’s not our best quality, but it makes us who we are (read: extra prone to betrayal). But can you guess what quality all these “friends” of ours have in common? When life comes crashing down, they are nowhere to be found. Sound familiar? Well, this is the best time for you to get rid of these people for good. None of us wants somebody who jumps ship when things get tough; we all need people who will stick around no matter what. And the ones who do stick around during these tough times are your real friends — the ones that are there for the crying and the tantrums and self-pity parties — they are your real friends. Know them and value them.

4. You learn your weaknesses.

Okay, so here’s the deal: we don’t hit rock bottom because the Universe hates us, or because we are surrounded by horrible people, or because we are destined to be miserable forever. I know that’s what you want to believe right now, but you know this is not true. We fall hard because we make all these decisions in our life that are just not sustainable in the long run. And when these decisions finally come back to bite us in the ass, we like to blame the stars. When we hit the ground, we need to make a self-assessment and see what decisions led us there. And I’m sure you will easily be able to identify a few. Learn from those decisions and promise yourself never to repeat those decisions again.

5. You find yourself.

It’s ironic how you find yourself when you’ve lost everything. When everything in your life comes crashing down, it provides a vivid clarity to all the mistakes you’ve made and all the self-destructive behaviors you’ve adopted. It becomes clear why you did the things you did and why they were the wrong decisions to make. And in turn, you realize what is right for you. You realize what works and what doesn’t work, the kind of people you need in your life, the kind of life you need to live in order to be happy. When we are living in the cozy territory of our comfort zone, we tend to lose who we are — we become the person our friends like, or our SO likes, or society would approve of. We don’t dare to do the things we dream of; we don’t expect a bigger and better life for ourselves. But once we are no longer chained to our comfort zone, we find in ourselves the courage to do all the things that we are capable of doing.

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