SEVENTEEN: Breakdown to Breakthrough

Spiderman has always been great at witty comebacks, because with great power comes great response-ability

Unknown comic genius

Setbacks produce bounce backs. Breakdowns produce breakthroughs.

If I was to sum up the last two years of my life in a single line, there it is. But no means am I enjoying the fruits of my great many successes, nor am I achieving everything I have wished for myself, but I am miles from where I started out. Quite literally miles, I’m 16,105km from home, from where I started.

Look at any great underdog story, any documentary of sporting greats, of famous scientists, researchers, doctors, theorists, and they will all follow this theme. There was no success without setbacks, you NEED ‘failure’ first, you need to learn and grow and adapt to challenges before you can reap the rewards for your labours. One could never truly appreciate the extent of their success without being able to reflect on the hard work, the sacrifice and the perseverance they endured to get there. Not one is right first time, every time (except me, I am never wrong), but the lessons from each setback equips us with the perspective we need to try again with more confidence. Success is not measured by bank accounts or assets. It can be, if that’s what you’re striving for, but it doesn’t determine your worth. Failure isn’t a lack of success, it’s feedback to put you on the right track.

Which leads me to a very important friendship I had during the toughest emotional setback of my young life. Every now and then you’ll stumble across another person you just immediately click with. Not in a romantic sense, just on that rare occasion that you meet someone and you just get each other. I’ve been blessed to know a few of them, but one in particular inspires this piece. At a similar time in our lives, we had experienced the same challenges and were both faced with our own individual, but parallel, crossroads in our lives. We would go through cycles of highs and lows together. There would have an off-week, there would be a setback, there would be a lesson, there would be a recovery. Just as hard as we fell, we always had a killer bounce-back, we always came out of that slump stronger.

There’s a lot I take from my wonderful friendship with this dear pal, and the biggest thing was that whenever we’d fall into respective slumps, we’d not only support one another, but we’d be hyping the shit out of the inevitable bounce back. Sometimes the hype would be a bunch of memes, sometimes it was a bit of tough love, either way it worked. It got to the stage where I would embrace the lows because I’d be looking forward to the highs. And it helped me get out of them, it motivated me to get out of them sooner, it pushed me to get the most out of an emotional breakthrough. It’s what helped me get back into a healthy routine, to get back into the gym and feeling better about myself, it helped me pick up a second job, save money and travel. Above all else, it taught me a valuable lesson;

The stresses and challenges of today prepare us for a better tomorrow. Sometimes the things that trouble us today will be nothing more than an afterthought next week, or maybe next month, or maybe next year. No matter how long it takes, that’s exactly what it’ll be, nothing more than a distant memory that we can look back on and reflect on what it taught us, what we’ve done since and how far we’ve come. With a shift in mindset, that I slowly built upon with each stumble along the way, I learned to see the things that challenged me as an opportunity, not a disadvantage;

Oh, I didn’t get into this particular university? That’s disappointing, but hey look there’s another option here that would suit me better that I hadn’t considered before. Maybe there’s a good reason I didn’t get into the original one.

So here’s the lesson I bequeath unto you, my dear reader: no emotion is permanent. How you interpret that depends on how full or empty you see that glass in front of you. But what I want you to take into consideration is that, yes, happiness and elation are temporary, but so is sadness and sorrow. Life is made of cycles. We experience memorable, joyful memories; getting married, getting the dream job, passing the important exam, witnessing our brother hold his first child. And on the flip side, we experience some truly sad ones too; a relationship breakdown, the loss of a friend or family member. They are natural parts of our lives, albeit some are unwelcome. But despite all of your setbacks, your challenges, you’re still here. You know what that means? That means you’re a mighty Doguin, that means you’ve overcome 100% of the obstacles you’ve encountered.

Happy Mental Health Monday!

Rain is merely a temporary obstacle in life, it’s a metaphor of the inevitable downfall before success.

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Mental Health

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