You may look successful on the outside, BUT is it an allusion?
Are you nailing it by day at the office, but at home it’s a different story? Is your private life crumbling and is it about to invade your corporate life or maybe your reputation. Are you struggling alone?
To the outside world looking in, so many people appear to be highly successful yet behind closed doors sadly their world is falling apart. You might be lying awake at night wondering ‘how long can I keep the balls juggling in the air. How long can I keep the façade up before my corporate life comes crashing down’.
Or are you a class act balancer? Keeping appearances propped up at almost any cost.
What do they look like anyway. Everyone’s definition is different. For some blinded by the shiny reels of social media and the expectations weighing down heavily upon them, one might think success looks like earning a lot of money, beautiful people, a wonderful house, the perfect children, holidays all over the world, nice clothes and a fancy car. OR DOES IT?
Sure there is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing the pleasures of life that come along with working hard for what you earn, as long as it doesn’t come at the cost of the things that you hold the dearest in your heart. In the never ending search for fulfilment, in a society that says we should have everything NOW, things are not always as they seem. When I talk to business owners about their staffs mental health, many reply, ‘I’m not coping myself. I don’t how long I can keep going like this. My staff are relying on me. I’m the one who is meant to keep it all together. ‘ Sounds like a lot of pressure, doesn’t it?
THE BALANCING ACT
I Have met so many people in my many years in the twelve step rooms where outside the rooms people mistakingly believe they have it all together. They are deemed successful because they are being judged on outward appearances Yet, inside they are crushed. If you talked to them yourself, they would say their life was a total failure and that money does NOT bring happiness. In every case, alcohol, drugs, gambling, work, food, sex, shopping and other addictions stripped them away from their loved ones. Many had it all and lost it all only to say that in the end, they came to realise that it’s the RELATIONSHIPS in their life that meant the most.
THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE
If you are struggling with any kind of addiction or just with the pressures of life itself, GET HELP before it’s too late. Don’t let pride kill you and don’t let shame be the reason you didn’t find the right support. There is always HOPE. The relief of spilling all to someone you trust just could be lifesaving. As the saying goes, a problem shared, is a problem halved. And it really is. In my many years working as a recovery counsellor I have seen so many people hit rock bottom because of the secrets they had been holding onto. To see the relief they experience after they become honest about their situation and talk it out, is like the weight of the world has been lifted off their shoulders.
And lastly, realise this ‘you are not the only one’. Imagine being in a room and realising that at least half the people in that room were also struggling only you were ALL DOING IT ALONE. How amazing would it be to be able to support one another in your greatest time of need.
I’m sure many of you have heard this poem written by John Whittier. I hope you are encouraged greatly as you read it.
“When things go wrong as they sometimes will, and the road you’re trudging seems all up hill, the funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile but you have to sigh. When care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its’s twists and turns as every one of us sometimes learns. Many a failure comes about when you might have won had you stuck it out. Success is failure turned inside out, the silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell just how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far. So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit, It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit”.
Finding joy through adversity was what we heard all about at last months event as Dean and Sharlene (pictured below) shared their phenomenal stories of triumphing over hard times. Dean who was born with the debilitating disease ‘EB’ Epidermolysis Bullosa is one of the world’s oldest survivors at age 41. He considers himself to be very positive and is always looking forward with anticipation. The age expectancy of someone with EB is not usually beyond two years old. Dean who was born with the worst form of EB has outlived all those battling this disease in Australia. His zest for life despite his pain and the arduous routine which takes around four hours preparation just to get out the front door each morning, something many of us take for granted, is written all over his face when you see him smile.
Sharlene who shared her moving story of recovery described what life was like living as a hopeless helpless alcoholic. When you look at her, you could be forgiven for thinking that she looks nothing like an alcoholic. The same has often been said to me in my many years of sobriety but we are the faces of alcoholism. We appear in all forms shapes and sizes. The well-dressed corporate CEO, someone on a park bench, or as in Sharlene’s case, the mum of four next door. Finding Joy Through Adversity comes in all shapes, sizes and demographics.
Dark Days always come before we can find ourselves Finding Joy Through Adversity
Sharlene’s alcoholism took her to the darkest and most desperate place. Into the hands of violence, arrests, psych wards, and emergency departments. A Myriad of horrendous twists and turns, heartbreak and hysteria. Rock bottom eventually struck with the fatal blow, having her young children taken away in the family court system. For Dean ‘it was around three years ago when for no reason his body started shutting down. He said, ‘It was a frightening time but I never let go of hope’.
INCLUSION BRINGS JOY
For Dean, JOY came through finding a purpose and people who loved, accepted and included him despite his outward appearance. People who were drawn to the gold on the inside and saw him for the person he was underneath his coat of damaged skin.
One of those people who made a huge contribution to Deans life was NRL player Shane Webcke. He along with some of the other NRL players such as Brad Thorn from his much-loved football team the Brisbane Broncos gave Dean a sense of belonging. Rejection is heartbreaking for someone who is already struggling and Inclusion can make all the difference. For Dean a make it was!
MOMENTS OF JOY
Since that day Sharlene put down the alcohol, she has found so many moments of joy. In fact the day her children were returned to her was one of the most joyous days of her life and was the very thing that motivated her to keep sober one day at a time. It was the goal that kept propelling her forward.
Other moments of joy she said were ‘the day I paid cash for my car. ‘It’s and old car and nothing fancy but it means the world to me. ‘Its something I finally own’, and the day she enrolled at university to become a midwife’. These are the ‘moments of joy and celebration in her life that have kept her going through the days, weeks and months of adversity.
For both Dean and Sharlene, gratitude for the small things have helped them the most in Finding Joy Through Adversity. Just when life seemed the hardest, a moment of joy shone through and showed them that life truly is for living. Tangible proof that even greater moments await in the future if they don’t give up.
GRATITUDE BRINGS JOY
For Dean it was the day he set a goal to bench press 150kgs and achieved it! What an amazing accomplishment for a person where even a bump to the skin can set off a cascade of catastrophic and damaging effects and even threaten to end his life.
Next time you think you are having a hard day; I encourage you to think about Dean and Sharlene and take some inspiration from their lives. The way they have risen from absolute devastation and continue to walk forward each and every day with gratitude even through adversity is remarkable. They are living proof that even though life is not perfect we can find perfect moments in every day. To read more remarkable stories of everyday inspirational people visit https://storiesofhope.com.au/product/stories-of-hope-australia-books/