Hitting Bottom – You only have one way to go from here.

Welcome! I’m so glad to be sharing this blog article with you.

This post was inspired by a realization that “hitting bottom” isn’t a problem, but instead is the beginning of a solution. While I have in the past thought of hitting bottom as a bad thing, I’ve never had anything but good stuff come as a result of it. I think it’s time to change my perspective.

I’ve been having a lot of realizations like this lately while listening to a lot content from people I consider enlightened. I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks like Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Excuses Begone!, Anthony Robbins’ Unlimited Power, Richard Koch’s The 80/20 Principle, and now some by Byron Katie.

Up to this point, I’ve only considered big, dramatic shifts in my life to be times I hit bottom.  I think the first time I hit bottom was at age 12 in Sandy, Utah. I wrote about that in this blog post on self-esteem and connection with god. From there I launched into a life-long pursuit of my relationship with God. I’m glad this wasn’t the last time I hit bottom.

The next time I hit bottom was in my second year of college. At the end of the first term I was put on academic suspension. I will likely blog on this sometime in the future, but for now I’ll just let you know that I got accepted back into school and graduated with a degree a few years later.

It took me a few more years to hit bottom again. The next time I’d hit bottom was when I had a panic attack at work in 1998. I would have been 29 at that time. I wrote about this in the blog article on Work-Life Balance and Commitment.

By now you may be having the same realization I’m having. Hitting bottom isn’t the problem.

In 2003 I hit bottom once again. I wasn’t happy in my marriage and I was feeling angry, sad, and scared. I knew however, that I couldn’t sink too far into despair or I would lose all integrity. I’d already hit bottom a few times in my life and so this time when it came I was more ready. I asked for a divorce and the marriage came to an end.  This lead to ten years of therapy, a new relationship with my current wife, and a lot of learning and growing.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned about hitting bottom.

  • My fear of hitting bottom is unrealistic. All of the fear I have before hitting bottom is me projecting some terrible thing that actually never comes to pass.
  • Hitting bottom is grounding. When I hit bottom I’m finally at a place where the circumstances of my life are bad enough for me to wake up and change a behavior that has been hurting me or causing me to suffer.
  • Hitting bottom is the same as having my feet on solid bedrock. From here I have the entire world to push against. Everyone and everything is ultimately on my side to reach my highest and best.
  • After hitting bottom, everything in my life that isn’t working suddenly becomes available to be changed. Gone are my excuses for creating suffering in my life. Gone are my reasons for behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that continue cycles of pain in my life.
  • Hitting bottom is freedom. Freedom from my thinking patterns that convince me things will be worse if I try to change.

So after thinking this over I’ve decided it’s time to start looking for a bottom to hit. 🙂 I mean the only things I’ve experienced are good changes when I hit bottom. I’ve also realized that I use this same approach all the time in small ways — I find something I need to change because it doesn’t serve me, and then make the change. I’ve decided to start calling the less dramatic issues “hitting a shallow bottom”.

I sure like it when I decide to make a change without creating a bunch of drama in my life. I think shallow bottoms are nicer than the deeper ones because they don’t take so much work to resolve, and typically a lot fewer hard feelings come as a result.

May all your bottoms be shallow ones.  Thank you for coming by to read my blog. I’m on your posse.

5 thoughts on “Hitting Bottom – You only have one way to go from here.

  1. I’ve noticed something similar, that when I’m despairing 100% and am beyond every one of my coping mechanisms, there is bedrock under my feet, some sort of bedrock that I couldn’t feel until that point.

    perhaps it’s that my thoughts and emotions have finally been exhausted and exposed as not-all-powerful, like the wizard of oz behind the curtain, and spirit(/intention/will) takes over automatically in the power vacuum that results, the spirit that should have been in charge in the first place.

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