When I was twelve, I fell off my bike and broke my arm. And do you know the craziest thing? People who have met me later in life have no idea that it happened. Not my boss, not my children, not my co-workers. I don’t think even my wife knew about it until I wrote my second book.
Why? Because my arms work just fine today. I workout with them daily. And in fact, I am using both arms to type at this very moment. But what if I hadn’t gone to the doctor? What if I hadn’t been given a cast? What if my family had ignored my tears and told me to “dry it up” and just get over it?
For many people, that’s what happens with emotional traumas. We sweep things under the rug. We use a hushed tone when we talk about the incident that rocked our loved one’s life. We smile and tell our children, “later dear,” hoping they won’t remember to bring it up. I know because I lived that life, too. But these days, I’m refusing to stay quiet. I’m learning to embrace my own humanity, my own experiences. I’m talking about the things that hurt me and I’m doing the hard work required to keep myself healthy and whole.
The other day, I was meditating, using the Calm app, and the guide asked four questions. I pose these simple, yet profound questions to you today because they are changing my life. I believe if you will slow down and allow yourself to sit with the questions and your most honest answers, the experience can start to change you, too.
The question seems unfair. Not everyone is happy all the time. We experience joy and sorrow. We walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Sometimes we’re angry. And there are days we want to run away.
But is the arch of your life a general sense of happiness? When you add up all the days and calculate your average, are you happy?
Are you surrounded by people who respect and cherish you? Does your spouse or partner cultivate your heart and guard your soul? Are they kind with their words and actions? Is your opinion heard? And your church? Does your faith community celebrate the fact that you’re a human, before you’re ever a Christian? Or do they expect performance-based religiosity out of you?
You don’t have to be a gym rat or have one of those stickers on the back of your car that proves that you ran a marathon. You don’t have to be able to swim 10,000 meters and you don’t have to look like the cover of a fitness magazine. But are you healthy? Are you active for at least thirty minutes a day? Do you get winded from walking a flight of stairs? Are you able to play with your kids? Do you get out and walk the dog?
Are you so overwhelmed with busyness that you eat fast food on a daily basis? When’s the last time you had a balanced, home-cooked meal?
What about your emotions? Do you feed your soul with positivity and truth? Are you meditating? Do you have a release for the feelings inside you? How’s your stress management? Your anger – does it simmer just beneath the surface?
Are you at peace with your past? Are there buried things you’ve refused to deal with? Memories you can’t bear to revisit? Traumas so insidious that they haunt your dreams?
Do you like who you are at the present? Are you embracing your life and owning your story? Or are you still running from people and places that trigger you at every turn? Are you living, or barely hanging on?
Have you let go of your fear of the future? The worry and anxiety over things you cannot possibly control?
I’m a Self-Care Coach, not because I’ve graduated with a PhD in helping people, but because I have at least a degree in the school of hard knocks. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a suicide attempt. My marriage has nearly fallen apart. I’ve lost jobs and quit others. I’ve had friends stab me in the back and I’ve had to draw clear boundaries with certain members of my family.
I’ve fought tooth and nail to be free from fear, to live my life to the fullest, to embrace myself and others right where we are, and to be the healthiest person I can possibly be (mind, body, and spirit). And I can help you.
There are wounds that hurt much worse than the hairline fracture I had as a teenager. And whatever you’re facing, I know I can help. Click this link and schedule a FREE 20-minute self-care consultation with me right now. Let’s map out a plan for getting your life back. I’m not a magician or a miracle worker, but through difficult experiences of my own and a resolve to always become better, I have learned a whole lot and I’d love to help you.
May you be happy.
May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be at peace.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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