Personal growth can be a long and difficult process, and the growing pains can sometimes feel like too much to bear. When times get tough, and it feels like there’s nowhere left to turn, giving up might look like the only option.
That’s when it’s time to rise like the phoenix. It’s not always easy, especially at first, but each of us has it in us to turn “rock bottom” into a springboard to new heights.
Most of us have heard the term “rock bottom” before, but we’re each likely to define it in a different way. What might feel like “nothing left to lose” to one person may look like a cake walk to someone else.
But here’s the thing—we can each only be expected to carry as much emotional strength as we’ve personally built. It would be ludicrous to expect someone who weighs 120 pounds sopping wet to power-lift 200 pounds; they just wouldn’t have the muscle strength.
Similarly, we wouldn’t yell at a toddler for crying over a scraped knee; we would understand that, on a strictly relative level, that knee scrape the most excruciating event the child has experienced so far in their short life. They might need to scrape their knee a few times before it becomes any less devastating.
In other words, my rock bottom looks different than your rock bottom.
No matter how it manifests, emotionally speaking, it may feel as though you’re burning away to nothing. You might feel invisible, voiceless or simply in too much pain to do anything other than survive. Your experience might be unique, but you’re not alone in your suffering. Your pain is valid; relatively speaking, this is the most excruciating event you’ve ever experienced.
From the Ashes
The legendary phoenix’s rebirth is no easy task. The creature literally suffers its own fiery death before it rises once again from its own ashes. Whatever it is that reduces a person’s spirit to such extremes, there is hope for a new start. The journey toward emotional rebirth usually isn’t easy, however, and many people give up before they even give themselves the chance to start.
Like the phoenix writhing within the flames, we must face the pain of our trauma, our mistakes and our emotional wounds to find the strength and self-awareness to rise above it all. The process can be excruciating, and we may need to dig deep to continue through it.
Personal growth takes work—a difficult truth most of us don’t want to hear let alone address. Trauma and depression can leave a person with little energy, and life often demands that we invest most of it in areas other than ourselves. As a result, too many people wind up flailing through the darkness, souls burning in their own despair, with no visible solution in any direction.
Look up. Take a chance that, should you summon the strength to find your new wings, the updraft will carry you from the last of the flames. Seek out therapy. Take care of your physical health. Establish healthy boundaries, both at home and at work, and insist on time for self-care.
Lay the foundation for something new. No one else can build your future for you. You must exercise your emotional muscles, so you have the strength to carry your burden. Face your fears. Challenge your perceived barriers. Forge your reality.
Take that first step. Have faith. It’s time to become the master of your fate.