Why must we fall to rise?

I didn’t appreciate good health until I had experienced poor health. I guess the same could be said for other elements in life.

Happiness – maybe it’s easier to count blessings and appreciate a kind, caring partner after experiencing an unhappy partner who weighed you down.

Or, being more thankful for a job where your boss sincerely says “thank you,” compared to a “glass half empty” type of boss.

Like a lot of people, I’ve experienced both extremes, come out of them, been in flux, and navigated to the positive, healthy side. From my perspective, everything is a learning lesson.  I try to grow from my experiences. My goal is to find the positive and ask myself what I am learning about myself and others in my life. I do my best to not project. I can always be better. It has become increasingly clear to me that I should be focused on being strong, happy, healthy, and supportive.

Like I’ve said previously, I am grateful for all the experiences and people that have entered into my life. A quote I recently stumbled upon really resonated with me. “Grow through what you go through.” That is one of many written quotes that my step-grandfather left with me. Another is, “It’s not what you go for, it’s what you become going for it.”

He passed away nearly 20 years ago and was big on mindset, positive affirmations, and being authentic and vulnerable. He was onto something. I’m fortunate to have had his influence for the first 16 years of my life. Finding his handwritten notes this past year was such a special discovery for me.  I’m “going for” the peak of great health, a happy life, an eternally loving family bond, and striving to spread positivity and “my story” to others.

We all live different lives, choose different paths, people, things, and have differing views of what’s “normal,” “acceptable,” or “relative.”

I was talking to a close friend recently. We were catching up on how work, personal life, and discussed how she was doing overall in navigating her busy life. We got on the topic of growth. When we hung up the call, I felt a wave of positivity wash over me. Neither us needed our spirits lifted, so to speak. But I feel like our conversations just resonated with each other – it flowed seamlessly and we went from small day-to-day conversations and intertwined them with a much bigger picture. While our experiences aren’t identical, they have overlapping consistencies. We have taken different paths, both experienced a rise, a fall, and a rise again, with similar outcomes. We must have talked about growth for 20 minutes.

Growth is something we can individually measure, by looking at our own reflection. While others may be the first to say “look how far you’ve come” or “what a transformative year it’s been for you” – more often than not you’ve already recognized your growth and I hope it made you smile. Growth comes in many forms. For me, growth has been apparent in my migraine journey. The experiences I’ve had and gone through with migraine has changed me in ways I never could have expected. I now view day-to-day life differently, pay more attention to how I interact with people, how I choose doctors, and view the journey as a positive, not a negative.

Nowadays when I lie on the floor it usually is because of my own choosing – not because I can’t bear the strong light because I’m suffering with a migraine. If I’m on the floor these days it’s usually because I am playing with my beagle and his stuffed toy – smiling and having fun.

One important note is that we should not judge our self-worth based on a lingering health condition. Self-worth should only be judged by our heart, our goals, and our compassion.

I’ve started asking myself, “Where is the silver lining in this?” “What is a positive out of this seemingly negative experience or interaction?” Sure enough, I can find at least one!

In response to me finding the positive out of the negative, I kid you not, I’ve received some baffling looks and responses. It’s all perception though.

Back to my friend… We both acknowledged how we now realize when things do not go as planned, that sometimes truly a better outcome comes out of it. Not to say it’s an easy path getting there, but in the end, it is 100% worth it.

If I had chosen to, I could have looked back and said, “Wow, I missed out on so many opportunities, travel, and fun when I was in the thick of meningitis recovery and the onset of migraines.” But the truth is I’m resilient, stronger, more aware, filled with empathy and compassion, and know that I can tackle and will tackle whatever obstacles appear on my journey, just like I have with migraines.

My friend grew up with her dad having atrocious migraines.  Now, she experiences menstrual migraines. She gets them in the beginning days of her cycle. She’s up most of the night with them. On top of that, she has a demanding career in the medical field. Not a friendly mix, right?

We all have silent struggles. Perhaps this can serve as a small reminder to say hello, smile, or just be kind to the person behind or in front of you in line at the market. A friendly smile can make a person’s day better!

Coming next: Call a timeout: Recharge your positive power