How many times have you been told no?
What pushes you to continue on your journey even when you feel like everything you have tried has all been a waste?
Are there days you just want to give up?
What makes you keep going on those days?
What is your why?
These are questions that I have looked at personally and have evaluated over time in my own life. How many times have I been told no, or had to find another way to accomplish a goal because the first path I took wasn’t meant for me? So many. I honestly can’t even answer that question off the top of my head. I remember as far back as grade school being the outcast because I wore hand-me-down clothes and wasn’t part of a family that was well-off. For the first part of my life, I was raised by a single mom. In high school, I was told no more times than I could count, whether it was due to the hardships I was going through and letting my grades go, or just letting life take over and control me in general. I had no real direction, so I followed those who accepted me. Often times, that was not a good choice. I know that now. Back then though, acceptance was important to me because most of my life, I was not accepted. In college, my dream of becoming a college basketball player was crushed when the coach told me no for getting a full scholarship (she could only offer partial, which meant I had to work still and wouldn’t be able to focus on basketball or my studies). Later on, I was told no so many times. How I even made it into the military is still a blessing in disguise.
In 2011, after working hard to make it into a program (my mom passing away during finals for the prerequisites I was taking while I was 7 months pregnant and having to eventually leave my family for the program), I was told no when I sat in front of a board to disclose why I should be there and why they should keep me. In 2013, I was told no when I applied to nursing school, but due a deployment, was unable to take one of the prerequisites (even though I took every other one). In 2015, I was told no when I tried to come back each year to perform my military duties as a new Reservist – I ended up having to go inactive and now am not able to come back in due to disabilities I incurred over the years. Recently, I was fired from a job because I cared too much about the people. It’s a never-ending battle. HOWEVER, the more you continue on, the more you will eventually find your path. You have to keep the faith.
For many years, my faith was tarnished. I thought I could just do everything myself. I was lost, disillusioned, confused…I will never sit here and say every day was great because that is far from the truth. There were depressed states I went through each time I was told no. There were negative thoughts and days I just didn’t want to push through.
What pushes me through? Well, I am a mother. It’s simple. I can continue down a path of destruction and not be a good role model for my daughter, or I can get back up each time I’m pushed down and I can keep going. I am glad I always eventually chose the latter. I grew up without a role model. When my mother remarried, her husband became very violent towards her. She became an alcoholic. He ended up on drugs. This is what I was around my whole life growing up. My mom was depressed, she didn’t cope with life very well. She had a destructive behavior. I could easily be the same way. I have not made all great choices, please believe. I also had a lot of regrets. However, instead of dwelling on the things I could not change, why not focus on what I did have control over? The way I reacted.
On the days where you just want to give up, figure out why you want to give up. Have a sit down with yourself. If you are a Christian, have a sit down with God. There is a plan for us all. Maybe we don’t know it at the time we are going through everything, but there is a plan. We all have this path we are meant to go down. Each time someone told me no, I never saw it that way. I looked at the negative and allowed it to take over for quite some time. I wasted more time dwelling on things that were out of my control than I did on things that I could do or be. I wasted more time doing that than I did on taking courses or going through programs that I eventually wouldn’t use. I wasted years on the “poor me” stage. Then one day I finally woke up.
Either I was going to continue down the path of destruction and not give my daughter someone to look up to, or I was going to take the reins I had left and steer my own course. At the age of 39, I finally decided to do what I could to take control. I started reading personal development books, listening to podcasts, watching people I respected on YouTube. I took control. It was the best decision I could have made.
Now, at almost 41 years old, I won’t say I have all the answers or that I have it all together. What I can say is that I have worked really hard on changing me and the way I react to things. I can’t change the world. I can’t change other people’s mindsets. I can change me. I can change my own mindset. Until you work on you, everything you go through will seem like the worst possible scenario. Once you make a conscious decision to work on how you react to things, you may find that the path you were meant to be on all along is there waiting for you. It never went anywhere. It was simply waiting until you were able to realize it was there and appreciate it.
So today I challenge you to stop dwelling on things that are out of your control and focus on the one thing you can control…YOU.