Any event in your life can cause a shift in your perspective. These may be very personal to you because they are happening or have happened to you or someone you are close to or they may be events such as disasters that affect whole communities. The crimes or abuses you may read about, the death of someone famous or known world wide can affect you in ways you may not be aware of.
I could name several life-changing events that have impacted my life. Some of these changed me forever; some changed my opinion; some changed my religious or spiritual perspective; some forced me to go out on branches that I would not otherwise have gone; some left an impression on me that helped me to understand behaviors or choices of others or to at least to view them differently so that I had compassion and forgiveness that might not have been possible otherwise.
Some experiences I had as a child left me with fear and shame and my perspective of myself was not a healthy one. I allowed this state of consciousness to dictate who I was and that in turn encouraged all sorts of behaviors and choices that lead to more and more of this miring deeper into that quicksand of self depreciation. As I grew older, however, this uncomfortable state I lived in soon began to be so awful I sought healing. That path of healing is a story unto itself and very unique to me; however, part of the healing came from more life-changing events that continued to unfold in my life. These events I chose to ride to victory even if the ride was scary and very hard to go through. I could have buried myself in sadness, depression, and self pity which would have spiraled into a well so deep I would never get out. Something inside of me wanted to live and to live in peace, in harmony, in love, in joy, and into appreciating my human condition. Something inside of me wanted to free me from my self doubts and to build on my own individuality and capabilities with my ego safely under the direction and tutelage of Love.
One of the many, many books I have read through the years that had a great impact upon my own life was Victor Frankl. This is a quote from him: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.(Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning) Another of his quotes that goes nicely with this is “What is to give light must endure burning.” There are no real shortcuts. Experience is what grows us, changes us and it is up to us to use it as a millstone around our necks or to use it as a stepping stone to a better life.