How Death Reassured My Value in the World and Gave Me a Second Life
“It is not true that everyone is special. It is true that everyone was once special and still possesses the ability to recover it.” —Criss Jami
Life is a testament to your experiences and the humbling trials and the tribulations that occur throughout your life. Your self-worth is molded by life’s unexpectancies.
My life wasn’t the exception. I vividly remember the day in which I found myself lost and broken. Months leading up to this odd yet sudden event, my single mother decided to move to Florida from New York, mainly to try to rekindle a relationship with my father, but more importantly, so I could grow up with him and solidify a relationship.
It was a difficult adjustment and transition for me, having burned all those years without a male father figure in the picture gave me some reluctance. Growing up without him, I built resentment, I built anger, I built a wall, without being rational, but rather with emotions as the main driver. Now suddenly having him back in my life, I felt confused, but over the fact that he wasn’t in my life all those years? Not quite.
A few months passed and eventually and unexpectedly, my mother decided that it was in our best interest to move back to New York, prefaced with the notion that things weren’t working out between my father and her. As any young adult in a broken home, I took that reasoning aside and quickly felt to blame for the failed reconciliation, my sad attempt to structure a relationship with my father failed, I left without saying goodbye to my father.
Weeks later, back in New York, I received news that my father died in an automobile accident. I lost my father. Naive as I was, my first thought was anger, anger towards him for being senseless. Thoughts of him not being in my life for all those years to now, just selfishly and permanently leave forever, I was furious. Eventually, it didn’t take long for me to shift the blame over to myself. You see it’s difficult to experience such a loss with very little control, and the control I did have soon manifested itself into sadness and regret. I felt as if I’ve failed as a son, the feeling of regret chewed at me for months, which eventually transitioned into an unnatural progression of depressing thoughts and a sense of loss value in the world, a collection of many negative stirring emotions. A failed young adult who couldn’t connect with his father, that one last time.
I cannot say that I changed my mindset and outlook from just one idle day to the next, however, with a host of subsequent experiences after the tragic event, I quickly gathered and accepted his death and embraced the time I did have with him and built on the qualities I learned from many experiences after his death. I brought those revelations to the forefront and I have found my value in the world. If you had any form of rough patches in your life, compounding regrets, use those experiences as anchors to guide you to a positive direction in your own life.
Your aspirations are your anchor.
Goal setting instills a purpose in your life.
Setting meaningful goals and having this idea gives you direction, conviction, and a desire to accomplish those goals.
However, the individualism that emerges from your aspirations, is not materialized by when you reach the goal but rather through your journey getting there, appreciate all the textures and absorb all the colors along the way.
My father’s death show me that I should continue his name the best way he would’ve wanted me to do so, by living and being the best I could be in life.
Flexibility is incredibly Valuable.
Life is an unpredictable spectrum of surprises. Whether that spectrum called life is uncomfortable on one end or gratifying on the other, I’ve seen myself at my lowest and also at my highest.
By experiencing this emotional dynamic you lend yourself to versatility which helps with reasoning and preparation of future predicaments.
You are therefore that much more wiser through life’s experiences. Cherish this wonderful gift. I have.
The power to love brings joy to others.
Expressing love is something that is usually associated with weakness or vulnerability.
I held my feelings inside in an attempt to protect my heart from being damaged further. Sometimes it lends itself, most of the time it doesn’t.
If any form of love was lost in your past by the form of a heart break, a death of a loved one similar to my situation, or simply the intangible associations with lost love, expressing love doesn’t come easy and being apprehensive is a normal expression.
This defense mechanism is normal but simultaneously hinders the value you can provide in someone else’s life.
Egocentric concerns aside, displaying your love isn’t a sign of weakness, but an example of empowerment, one that is what the world needs from you, more of it is only better and one that is contagious. Life is too short.
I’ve experienced the gift of acquiring love.
Nothing compares to being touched by love.
Love comes in different shapes and sizes, but whether it is from your immediate family or a significant other, being loved validates how remarkable you are.
I did not realize the magnitude of love my father had for me until I lost him. Everybody is special. I’m special and understand that you are special too to that special someone. Never take love lightly or for granted, being on the receiving end of love is a beautiful thing.
Time here is limited but meaningful.
I know live with purpose.
From the stars in the universe to roses in a garden, nothing defies the inevitable, death.
This alone should be enough encouragement to make today count. A second lost is a second that you can’t have back. You and I are fortunate to have been given this life, do what you can to make an impact and show your worth.
I’ve conquered the fight of fear.
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”—Marie Curie
This is a big one. Fear is known as a distressing emotion that is usually heightened by impending danger, evil or internal pain. I lived with fear to some extent in my life.
Whether it was being afraid of the dark as a kid, the fear of a breakup and being alone, or jitters of your first date, my father’s death…each fueled my with fear.
Through all of the fearful moments, I’ve managed to overcome those situations, and for that I found value in myself.
If it is your past that continues to haunt you, make peace with it. It should not ruin your present or determine your future
I displayed my sense of confidence.
Confidence has an indirect connection with fear. The lack of self-confidence prevents you from overcoming fear.
I’ve always suffered from some form of low self-esteem. It’s difficult to break free from the traditional mold and be comfortable in your own skin.
All confidence is, is your own assessment of your self-worth.
Confidence is knowing what you’re good at, the value you provide and acting in a way that conveys that to others.
Uniqueness is your [unique quality].
It’s easy to quickly compare yourself to others. It’s lazy and also not an accurate way of finding your true worth.
And while there will always be attributes of people we aspire to have, following this trend, you tend to neglect the qualities you already have, that make you exceptional and unique.
You see, the notion of comparisons is a parallel race with some one else, understand that at the end of life, that race is only with yourself.
And while you may not bring a certain attribute to the world, offering something in your own special way is what makes the difference. I am unique and bring my special qualities, qualities that make me who I am.
Self-Worth coincides with Self-Awareness.
Establishing self-awareness allowed me to have clear perception of who I was, my strengths, my weaknesses, all of my beliefs, emotions and essentially everything that made me tick.
Having this heightened state of self-awareness allows one to make changes to their thoughts that would have otherwise hindered their emotions.
Emotional Intelligence is an important factor in understanding who you are and what value you bring into this world.
Losing my father taught me how fragile life can be, how limited life is, and how things aren’t always guaranteed or secured.
Life is precious, life is only one, we are all valuable whether it is to be believed or not…but going through life with the idea that we are hopeless or useless is just a waste of that part of life one can never take back.
Jesse Fernandez helps you become a better version of yourself by simplifying your health and fitness goals using science-backed data. His free 1-page PDF facilitates a minimalist approach to fitness: The Minimalist Guide to Fitness Hacks.
Image courtesy of Filip Bunkens.December 31, 2016