What Defines Your Life? — an Experience, Person, Achievement, or Something Like Grief

bridge span against sky_What defines your life_Stunned by Grief_StrengthI doubt that anyone would argue with the statement, “Life is an ever-changing, developing story.” Stuff happens to us all the time. We find ourselves in different situations, sometimes unexpected. We meet new people. We go places, and we try new things.

Everything factors into the way we see ourselves and the world around us. We hardly notice certain things while others produce life-altering effects. That’s what I’m talking about here — the life-altering effects — and whatever creates them! So the question is: “What defines your life?”

I explored this topic last year, and it seemed to generate so much attention that I decided to revisit it and delve a little deeper.

Pause and think about your own life. What would you single out as the major influences that define who you are as a person — and where you’re heading with your future plans?

Think about anything that has shaped you as a person or powered a new direction in your life, and then take an inventory. Some possibilities to consider are:

  • Life-threatening illness
  • Disability
  • Accident
  • Death/loss/grief
  • Marriage/divorce
  • Children/grandchildren
  • Spiritual experience/beliefs
  • Teacher/special mentor
  • Career/business
  • Volunteering
  • Achieving important personal goal

You’ll notice that the list is filled with positive as well as challenging and devastating possibilities. Positive life-altering effects can just as readily come from tragedy and pain as from a source that is essentially good. Grief and loss are perfect examples. The statement, “Out of your deepest pain comes your greatest gift,” is often true with grief.

Think about your values, beliefs, goals, and personal attributes. Think about your mission and where you’re headed. And consider the most important influences that drive you. Sometimes your greatest strengths also come out of your most powerful challenges, and you never would have discovered the strengths had you not faced the test.

In Khaled Hosseini’s novel Kite Runner, the author begins the first chapter with a captivating thought: “I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1974.” Hosseini went on to describe in specific detail an event that produced lifelong implications. What would you write in response to the phrase: “I became what I am today …” What defines your life?

I hope you’ll take your life experiences and use them to become a better person — and to turn your world into a better place. Be an inspiration!

Somebody somewhere needs to see where you’ve been and how you’ve overcome obstacles — so they can gain the confidence to step out and step up.

We need each other …

© 2013 Judy Brizendine



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