Written by: Dan Nwosu
When the unexpected happens and life as one knows it is thrown for a loop, what do we do? Who do we become? What is left of our old self? Those are some of the thoughts that have run through the minds of many that have sustained spinal cord injuries. However, at the core of this major event, is you.
Who Am I?
Once all the noise has settled in your life and you’re left alone with your thoughts, this might be a question you may be left pondering in your head: “Who Am I?” You may feel like the person you were before has left. However, take a moment and think about the idea of the “you.” Did your sense of humor change? Did your love of animals, family, friends, or food change? Often times we compartmentalize our being into functional extrinsic parts that focus on physicality, rather than the intrinsic aspects of our being that stick with us for the rest of our lives.
I want you to take a moment think about the “ Who Am I” question. Really focus in on what are the things that make you, “you” regardless of your spinal cord injury. Pay special focus to those thing that bring about feelings of happiness or authenticity. If you are having a hard time, reach out those around you and ask their opinion. Once you’ve thought about it. Write down 3 to 5 I am… statements. Examples could be, “I am smart,” “I am funny,” “I am brave,” etc. To download a free printable, click here.
Many of us have heard iterations of the quote that life is not about the destination, but the journey to the destination. Even though it may sound cheesy, there is a lot of truth behind the quote. It is through this journey we get a better understanding of who we are.
Where Am I Going
Now, we can take what we have uncovered after asking “Who am I” and direct it to a destination. This will lead to self-actualization. But where do we begin? I want to us to take a moment and think about where you actually want to be at the end of your life journey. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Who is around you, or who will you meet at the end? Take a moment to think about some of these questions. To download a free printable, click here.
How Do I Get There?
Getting from point A to point B is difficult. The journey from where you started compared to where you want to be is a long one. No one ever said it would be easy, but it is possible. But where should you start? Start small and grow. Make a small goal each week and work your way from there. Setting small goals allows you to see the progress you made which can also help you have a more positive attitude because you are getting closer to your goals.
For example, you are at work and your boss tells you your work performance is not as good as it could be. The small goal would be to show up to the office every day and complete at least one task each day. Then by the end of a five-day work week, you have completed five new tasks and your work performance has increased immensely within one week.
Now not every situation will improve in one week or that quickly as it takes time to get the things we want. But, making small goals to help yourself achieve a larger goal will improve your attitude and allow you to track your progress. Be sure to enjoy the journey to your goals because once you achieve it, you will wonder why you ever doubted yourself in the first place. And remember, happiness lies in the journey, not the destination.