Finding Your Purpose In Difficult Times

Boy in cap with head down

“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”  ― Steve Maraboli

This week was bad. Not just a little bad, but for me, really bad. As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) that deals with having to work through difficult emotions and times, this week was particularly hard.

First, there was the suicide of an 8-year-old boy who chose to take his life, due to the bullying he could not take any longer. EIGHT-YEARS-OLD? This is by far the youngest person who I have heard of taking their life and for what? At eight, he understood the cruelty of others and the video the school put out does not really help the case. Looking at the face of this boy broke my heart. It makes me question how young this problem can go to affect our youth and have them make these choices? It’s just hard for me to understand how a person this young is already rationalizing this decision. Sure, my bullying stories start when I was six, but it took many years before I felt fully affected and it started to truly damage me.

As I sat stunned reading his story and trying to deal emotionally with the pain that I felt for this little boy…WHAM…I was hit again by a tragedy close to me. My best friend’s 4-year-old nephew, Cole, was at his babysitter’s house. She had a loaded pistol in a room in the house. Cole got away from the babysitter, got to the room, picked up the gun and shot himself in the head. He was dead instantly. First I read from my friend’s family on Facebook. Then the news picked it up. I texted my friend and he told me what happened first. I was at work and broke down in tears (yes, I always promised to share honestly and I did).

I cried because it hurts me deeply when a young life with potential is robbed of our world. I cried because this was personal. I cried because, for me, my emotions run deep and it just hurt me so bad. It was two very bad days in a row. How can a 4-year-old pick up a heavy gun, much less pull the trigger? Why was there a loaded gun in the house of a babysitter?

Truly in both situations, I could question things all day. But they happened and now those of us whose lives are affected must deal with it. So how do we deal with such terrible news, particularly at the same time? I can only come up with what I try to do…find PURPOSE.

Writing this post is my purpose. Fighting to help bullying survivors is my purpose. Living in the now and moving forward is my purpose. I can’t change the past, only find lessons in my heart and mind. No one can change the past, no matter how sometimes we want to. So we must channel the hurt and pain we feel to try to turn it around. That is where my purpose lies. I chose to work on bullying recovery. It is my passion and my calling. It is my purpose for being here on earth.

Sure, I have a regular job too and need to feed myself and my family. I find passion in that as well, because it is what I have to do to survive. I stopped trying to drown myself in the pain of things I can’t change. I can’t bring these little boys back to life. I can’t change the lives lost, but I can keep up the bullying recovery battle and also support my friend, the uncle that has lost his nephew. So I do these things to find purpose and recovery from this difficult time in my life.

Life is a balance of good and bad, happy and sad. During these bad and sad times, we need to channel some form of coping mechanism. For me, writing helps and reading positive affirmations as well as meditation.  It took me many years to find these purpose-driven methods to cope with the hard times. I believe we must all find a way to deal with these times. To push through, remembering that there is no changing what has happened, only changing what the future holds while living in the present.

I know there will be more hard times in my life. I have accepted that. It doesn’t mean I am unfeeling and uncaring. I just have accepted that my life is one of contentment (an equal balance of good and bad) and not just happiness or sadness. So I move forward with purpose, not forgetting the past, but using it to channel my energies to do as good as I can. What about you? What do you do in these times of hardship? I hope you can find your purpose too. Without it, I would still be crying in my office and doubting the goodness of the world that I know is out there

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About Alan Eisenberg

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach, Bullying Recovery activist and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance" and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe. He is currently working toward his Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
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