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Episode 39: Obstacles, Excuses, and Compassion: Three Lessons from the Hardest Year of My Life

This is an edited version of a podcast episode. If you prefer to listen, click Make Me Whole Podcast to find this and all my other episodes.

Note: This post contains brief strong language.

Hello, and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. Today I’m going to focus on moving through and making the best of a difficult season. I don’t think I’ve made it unclear that I’ve had some of the hardest years of my life recently, and it has required hard work to make sure that my emotional health was put first. I know that at some point we all go through what we call “The Hardest Year”. We’ve all been there, and it’s really that one year where everything seems to go wrong. But those hard times can teach us some of the greatest lessons, the most important lessons that we’ll ever learn. Today I want to share with you three truths that I learned during my hardest year, And trust me, you don’t want to have to go through these struggles to learn these same things, so let’s dive in.

Lesson #1: Your life is always trying to teach you something. Have you ever noticed how life seems to repeat the same challenges until we finally get the message? The endless cycle of reacting in the same way over and over thinking something is going to be different? That’s because life is constantly trying to help us grow. It's during those moments of friction and discomfort that we can learn the most important of those lessons. So what are they? And what can we do to learn them more quickly? The first step: pay attention. When something feels off or uncomfortable, don’t just push it to the side and ignore it. Instead, take a minute to reflect on what you’re feeling and why. You need to be open to transformation. Sometimes we can be so stuck in our own mental framework that we’re not willing to see things from a different perspective. When we open ourselves up to novel ideas and varied ways of thinking, we allow ourselves to learn and grow in ways we had not previously imagined. Progress is a lifelong process. Just because you’ve learned one lesson doesn’t mean you’re finished. There will always be more of life to explore, more challenges to face, and of course, more growth to experience.

Lesson #2: Your excuses are bullshit. Behind every excuse is fear, and the only way to address that fear is to take action. So, how do we stop accepting our own excuses and start doing what we know we need to do? Well, first examine the excuse. You can use a journal for this if it’s helpful for you. W