“The only way from here is up!”
You’ve probably heard this phrase before. It is mostly used as a reassurance to those that think hitting rock bottom is the end. Although well-intended, the constant reiteration that being at your worst, whether emotionally, physically, or mentally is a good thing, is not something many people want to entertain. This form of positivity often feels like a dismissal of the extremity of what you are going through. However, have you ever stopped to examine what comes out of the moments when you are at rock bottom?
What does Rock Bottom Look Like?
The life you lead and the circumstances you live through determine what rock bottom is. While your woes might not resemble those of others, whatever you are going through is heavy on you and that matters too. Thus, to identify how rock bottom looks like in your life, you need to abandon the rhetoric that some people are going through worse. Yes, their circumstances could be direr, but this doesn’t mean your problem should be dismissed.
Hitting rock bottom is not a once in a lifetime thing. Hence, you might find yourself in such situations once in a while. The good news is, the idea of being at your worst evolves over-time. If your rock bottom was sleeping hungry and being homeless last time, the next one might be the lack of enough capital to start your dream business. As your life changes, for the better or worse, as you collect lessons from experiences and apply them to life, your idea of hitting rock bottom changes.
Slightly over one year ago, I stood outside my then-house, looking at my scattered clothes on the grass. I don’t think I cried; I was angry. I remember watching a friend and a taxi guy carry my little possessions and load them on the pick-up. See, that morning I had received a call that I had been robbed. Being a teacher means trusting the administration and security staff to take care of your things while you are on holiday. However, when the intrusion comes from within, there is little protection to be had.
A few minutes later, after mastering enough energy to help out in the process, I sat in the co-driver’s seat, watching the trees float away. I was leaving the job I knew for a world I didn’t understand. In a few hours, when we finally completed the two and a half-hour drive from Embu to Nairobi, I would be permanently moved back into my mother’s house.
I was now jobless, with no money, and in debt. This is one of the many instances of hitting rock bottom that I have shared on Limitless Existence. This moment felt like the universe had abandoned me and nothing would work out. I couldn’t believe that I would fail so massively at my first attempt at being an employed teacher.
5 Perks of Hitting Rock Bottom
Looking back now, I realize that the situation, while awful, was necessary for my growth. It is so easy to get caught up in a routine that you forget to keep dreaming and moving towards your purpose. When you are at your worst, you lose the comfort of the familiar. Whether you ended up at rock bottom by choice and taking a leap towards something you wanted, or life pushed you, the idea is the same.
In this unfamiliar and uncomfortable place, you can reinvent yourself. Rock bottom reveals the difference between what you want and need. This way, when you take the next step, you know it aligns with what you should be doing. Here are more advantages;
1. Awareness and acknowledgment
Maybe you were off-course with your dreams, maybe you jumped too soon, maybe you weren’t dreaming big enough. It is best to assess why you are in the situation you are in, but you need to be fully aware of your circumstances before you do that. The only way hitting rock bottom works for you is if you are on solid ground. This way, you know the ground is done shifting, and the plans you make will not be out of panic or anxiety.
You also have to sit with yourself and examine what led you to your worst place. Define and acknowledge any form of unsustainable dysfunctional behaviour and habit that informed your current predicament. Then, introduce and implement techniques and strategies to address them.
2. Questions and perspective
What is the one thing that makes you get up in the morning? Why do you do the things you do the way you do them? Your motives, beliefs, and fears play a huge role in your actions. Rock bottom allows you to examine how these aspects influence your thought process, and ultimately, the decisions you make.
Once you understand these, it is easier to strategize on the next steps based on who you are at the core. Don’t be afraid to ask why. Every response you give about the things informing your life should be followed by a why and then some. This offers more clarity.
3. Trust and humility
The question ‘why’ often spirals into a well of self-discovery. This means addressing issues at the root course. This comes with the realization that while your life has worked out, or not, based on your standards, you have very little control over how your life unfolds. Yes, your hard work and determination help give you the life you want, but the effort you put in is only as good as your circumstances.
You can wake up every day for years, toiling the day away, but if you exist in a system that doesn’t support growth, it is impossible to change your life. People are subject to the networks they have access to and those they put in place. It is crucial to note that the things that work together to ensure your success have worked throughout your life. You have little control, but trusting the process and doing your best is a good way to change your life actively.
Hitting rock bottom reminds you to trust in the higher purpose, yours and those of others. You realize the power fallacy and can only hope to be on the right path at the right time for things to work out. This means analyzing why you are at your worst and hoping to find a path that gives you access to purpose and the discipline and dedication to pursue it. That is all the control you have.
4. Losing hope and letting go
It might be time to let go of past circumstances. If nothing is working in a particular area, and you know that nothing will, it’s time to lose hope. There is no need to keep jumping when you hit rock bottom since you know there’s little or no impact. It’s time to logically analyze your situation, define your role in ending up at rock bottom, and seek a better solution.
While hitting rock bottom isn’t solely your fault, it is your responsibility to find ways to heal and recover. This will allow you to get out of your comfort zone.
When was the last time you were brutally honest with yourself? Well, the best time is now. If your circumstances feel a lot like rock bottom, there is nothing left to lose. Therefore, it is time to critically and gently address yourself and determine where you are, why, and how you can get out of this place. It might seem grim and a little cliché, but you can only go up from here. Please make the most out of this moment and embrace the growth it brings.