Imagine you’re in your car headed to the airport to kick off a long overdue vacation.
Everything about the drive is going exactly as planned until a stranger dumps a gallon of sulfuric acid over a turnpike overpass. It crashes through your windshield melting off your face and burning over 70 percent of your body.
I realize that what I’m asking you to imagine is probably impossible but for Cindi Broaddus, back in 2001, this scenario became her reality.
After the accident, her path to recovery was raw and painful. For weeks, while laying helpless in a burn unit, Cindi couldn’t eat, use the bathroom or walk without help.
Let’s just say for Cindi life got a lot worse before it got better.
So why am I sharing her story with you?
Well, when we take on the task of working on ourselves and healing old wounds, things can feel like they get a lot worse before they get better.
In these moments, when we’re faced with all the pain we’ve buried it’s easy to want to give up. It’s easy to feel like there’s something off and doubt that the work is worth it.
After all, if recovery is supposed to make life better than why does the process feel like sh*t?
Why do things seem to get much worse before they get better?
If you can relate, then this post is for you. Even though her experience was well beyond anything you may be able to imagine, there’s so much we can learn from Cindi’s recovery.
On the blog you’ll discover 3 questions, inspired by Cindi, to ask yourself when recovery seems to be making life worse – not better.
Although recovery is a beautiful thing most of us don’t hear about its ugly parts. So it’s not unusual to think you’re doing it wrong when nothing seems to be going right.
But it’s important to remember that every moment is part of the process, your only job is to show up and keep walking through it.
Once you’re finished reading, I’d love to hear from you.
In the comment section, answer the three questions inspired by Cindi. Get as detailed and specific as you’d like. Whatever you’re comfortable sharing is the right amount.
Remember your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
Until Next Tuesday,
P.S. If you’re celebrating Christmas next week I hope you have a happy holiday. And if you’re alone, for whatever reason, please be kind and gentle with yourself. Take extra good care of you. And remember, even though you may feel alone you’re not:)
#1 Are You Going To Be A Survivor Or A Statistic?
In her book, A Random Act, Cindi shares,
Police reports, medical reports, and news reports all called me a victim. Of course, technically, I now know I was the victim of a hideous crime. For whatever reason, the perpetrator…chose me. From his point of view, he timed it just right. He dropped the jar (of acid) 16 feet and hit the bull’s-eye.
At that very instant, I became a statistic. I believed I would die from a random act of violence. I would no longer exist because of the distorted whim of a passing stranger. But I survived, and so to me the victimization ended there. It had to. I’d rather be known as a survivor who made something good come from something terrible.
Despite what you’ve been through you can decide at any moment whether or not you want to be a survivor or a statistic.
And this is a choice that’s so incredibly important to make especially in those moments when things seem to be getting worse.
Choosing the path of a survivor means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable for long periods of time.
Choosing the life of a statistic means that your path and the outcome has already been determined for you.
If you choose to move through the inevitable discomfort and frustration then the future is yours to create. But if you want to lead the life of a statistic and follow along on a path that has been tried and tested that choice is also available to you.
Bottom line is this, the choice is always yours to make.
#2 Are You Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other?
My journey of a thousand miles began with one small step, then another, and then another. The steps I took were all choices anyone could make. The first steps were to choose to fight for my life in the moments after the attack, and later in the hospital, choosing to believe I would live.
Even if you can’t control what’s happening around you, in every moment, no matter how dark, you can choose how you react.
You can choose to keep walking towards your desired outcome or you can choose to stop.
Many of us make the assumption that it’s only the big steps we take that get us where we want to go. That if big things, big changes don’t seem to be happening that we’re not making progress.
But we can’t forget that the big steps or strides we make in life are held up and supported by the hundreds of little steps we take every single day. The steps that get no attention or applause. The steps that seems small and insignificant.
So when you meet that place in recovery where nothing seems to be working, that’s precisely when the small steps matter.
They may not be big, flashy or earth shattering steps but believe me, they matter more than you realize.
#3 What Do You Want Your Legacy To Be?
I decided early on that I did not want to be a victim, that bitterness was not the legacy I wanted to leave for my grandchildren, and that vengeance was not mine.
You have the power to decide what you want your legacy to be. You have the power to determine who you want to inspire and what kind of example you want the choices you’ve made in your life to be.
Granted, your recovery is primarily for your benefit and growth. But along the way and long after you’re gone your choices will create your legacy.
And your legacy has the potential to inspire your children, grandchildren, your spouse and even people that you’ll never meet or even know existed.
Do you think that Cindi would’ve been able to inspire with her story if she never thought about the legacy she wanted to leave or the example she wanted her life to be?
Imagine if instead of inspiring Cindi chose to be a victim. How would that choice have impacted her recovery? Her grandchildren, her daughters and every person that has been touched by her story?
So what do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered by your friends, coworkers, neighbors and family?
Will you be a survivor, a statistic, a victim or a victor? Every day, especially when things feels like they’re only getting worse, the choice is yours to make. Choose wisely:)
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