Do you ever catch yourself feeling down, negative, sad, angry, resentful, or unloved when you think back to a particular memory, set of events, or life history?
Today, I hope to teach you this is merely a ‘story’ you tell yourself. You have the ability to remember your life any way you like. In fact, you also have the ability to process your current reality any way you like.
Let’s use a practical example from my life:
A couple years ago, I became terribly sick and was told my life was on the line multiple times. I was the most critical patient in a level one trauma center that ranks as one of the best hospitals in the United States.
So few people have been as sick as me, they are now presenting on me in medical conferences, and talking about how no one knows why it happened, how I lived, or if ‘my disease’ will ever come back. I wore a ‘poop’ bag on my chest for months, suffered from tons of pain, and had to permanently change my diet and lifestyle.
Some people I considered close friends or business partners burnt me, stole from me, and took advantage of me. My family didn’t know what to do, so they were in a panic, and it adversely affected their health, as well. It took me over a year to recover. During that time, my relationships were challenged, my self-image was destroyed, and my finances tipped upside down in a way that would affect me for years.
It’s almost hard to remember how sick I was 2 years ago, considering how healthy I am today. In many ways, it feels like a bad dream, rather than something that marked me.
As a result of what appeared to be a tragic life event, at the time, I now know how to eat for my body, how to process life in a much healthier way, which exercises are the best for me, which relationships help vs harm me, and which climate is best for my body. I’ve been able to make unbelievable shifts in my reality to improve my health, and I’ve figured out how to help my sons and wife make these changes, too. As much as I was focused on health before, I simply didn’t have the tools, and I was misguided in my approach.
I’ve been able to re-center on improving world health, let go of other businesses that didn’t serve me, and make new friendships that are some of the closest I’ve ever experienced. So many of my long-time friends rose to the challenge, supported me, showed their love, and helped me. My family was an amazing support system, and now I feel incredibly lucky to have an opportunity to support them, too.
My life is amazing, and as difficult as it was to see at the time, I’m actually grateful for what’s happened and the suffering I went through; for, if I didn’t, I may have been on a trajectory for pain and disease that would have worsened for life. Today, I am able to help hundreds of thousands of people in a very real way, in a way I was never able to before.
I am learning how much more complex — and simple at the same time — health really is. I’m being shown gifts I’ve possessed my entire life, and I’m able to use them only for good. It’s awesome.
Same story; different reality.
I get to choose. The choice I make in how I tell this story, how I remember this ‘traumatic’ period of my life, the acts of kindness shown to me, and the relationship dynamics that persisted as a result are all my choice. I may not have control over certain life events, but I do have control over how I feel about them. That’s my power, and it’s an awesome power to have.
I used to think back on this time and feel sad, depressed, in pain, and worried for my future and the future of my family. Once I learned to re-process this time period in my life, and “re-write my own story”, I began to feel relief, happiness, gratitude, and pride for being able to make positive change.
Nowadays, I focus on interpreting life events in a positive way the first time around. If I can think back and re-write a story to serve me, rather than ‘hurt’ me, then I can also interpret life events the same way as they occur. If I’m stuck in traffic, I can see this as a nuisance or an opportunity; for without this delay, I may have been the car accident that lies ahead, short-tempered with a loved one due to being in a hurry, or malnourished since I didn’t get the chance to eat a few snacks on the way to my destination.
I get to choose, and so do ‘you’.
Today’s lesson: choose the story you want to tell yourself, re-write the old stories, beliefs and patterns that no longer serve you, and step forward in your life by doing so.
Life is beautiful, and so are you.
Your life events compile your journey, and your journey is awesome. Every so-called positive and negative is actually neither. The only thing positive or negative is you.
So, remember to choose. Your choice will affect your health, relationships, past, present, and future. You will begin to prove what you remember is true, as your sub-conscious mind seeks proof in your everyday environment that life was either as difficult or awesome as you’ve chosen to make it.
Love life. And it’ll love you back! Cheers.
I’m so grateful for you,
Originally published at drkareem.com on April 7, 2017.