One of the hardest things to come to terms with in life, is that the only certainty is uncertainty itself. Change is inevitable, and that is not a bad thing. Sometimes it can seem bad, particularly when you face the need to alter life goals due to unforeseen circumstances – and sometimes this can happen more than once, like it did for me. This does not make it “bad”, all it means is that an adjustment period is required. In hindsight, it often appears that everything happens for a reason. There are pro’s and con’s for every situation.
In an ever-changing world, the only constant that remains to an individual are core values. These can help. Honestly, I have found that rebuilding confidence is quite difficult. I tend to struggle to believe in myself, and in my capabilities, on a regular basis. I tend to forget about what I have achieved, or the positive things I have done, and focus instead on what I cannot do. Thus, mindset makes a big difference. It is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negativity, but once in there you need to find ways to climb back up instead of the much easier route of spiraling down. Discovering the root cause is a challenge within itself. For me, it was the realisation that I now seem to lack direction, which in turn made me feel hopeless and worthless. My whole life I was driven by what I wanted to work towards for my future, mainly career, lifestyle and such. I always dreamed of success and happiness in the working world. Hence, my life was practically turned upside down when I fell chronically ill. Instead of dwelling on this turning of events (as I had already done this enough, and probably a little too much), I decided to evaluate what exactly I missed about how my life used to be, in order to determine whether I could get back to a similar point, or at the very least to a similar mindset. These include:
- Working hard, and knowing which direction I was headed in regards to the path leading to success and working in a dream job – or rather, what I thought was my dream job.
- Living area, independence, freedom – loving where I lived, the weather, the atmosphere, being able to live independently and the associated responsibilities and freedoms.
- Surrounded by like-minded friends, driven people, all working hard towards the same goal.
- Adventures – especially training in martial arts and being able to be active and physically strong; swimming at the beach every morning; hiking in the Royal National Park and Blue Mountains on days off; being able to go horse riding regularly.
Figuring out what I believe to be most important in life, and how to live it despite the circumstances I have been dealt, is the step I find myself constantly working on right now. How to partake in passions that will make me feel as alive as training martial arts did, for example. Being there for others, both personally and professionally is paramount for me. I discovered this to be the most important for the next career or work situation I would like to endeavour towards. I haven’t had much luck finding jobs lately, so I have decided to volunteer for causes that I believe in. This isn’t selfless, it helps me too. It will help me realise what I can and cannot do on a working level with my illness, it will help build confidence, maybe even open up new doors or career opportunities. I have decided to volunteer with a company that works with disabled people, in assisting with learning useful tasks. Once the clearance goes through, I have been assigned to assist a girl who has cerebral palsy with food preparation skills and tasks involved with working in a cafe. I am really excited about this volunteer opportunity; it has given me some sort of sense of direction, and fulfills my need to help others in a positive way.
Working out your personal drivers of happiness helps when it comes to building a life you want to live, despite circumstances and situations that arise outside of your or anybody’s control. My drivers are animals, my pets, adventures, nature, the outdoors, coffee with close friends, random acts of kindness and compassion, being creative (whether it be painting, writing, photography, etc.), spending time with my nieces and nephew – being there for them as they grow up and being involved in their lives. How we connect with others and how we connect with ourselves helps with developing a sense of harmony. In order to develop these connections, be honest with yourself and with others. Allow yourself to be unapologetically vulnerable, to be raw. Health and wellness should come first; connection and values are paramount; and personal drivers of happiness lead the path away from the downward spiral of the rabbit hole.