Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to share a bit of my story and one of the questions I get asked is, “what inside of me stopped, motived, or prevented me from going down the path of self-destruction?” When asked, I am pretty sure I looked like a deer caught in headlights. I have never really thought too deeply about it except that I did not want to be like my father.
Over the last few weeks, that question has been running through my head, no stop. And I have come up with a few thoughts on it — storms in your life and the 3 F’s.
Let’s start with storms in your life. About three years ago, the church my family and I were attending had a four-week sermon on the storms that you go through in your life. A few of the main points that to this day sit with me are, “it is not the storm in your life that define you; it is how come out at the end of the storm.” That one hit hard, you see when we are going through tough times in our lives, we like to play the victim, or we have a victim mentality. I am not saying that I did not have that to start with because I did. Let me tell you it sucked, and it sucked the life out of me and the people around me. To this day, I am surprised that people stayed by my side. And the other point is when you are going threw the storms in your life you have eyes watching you. That one hit home the hardest because I have three pairs of eyes watching me, my kids. It was at that point I made the decision that I wanted to do my best not to take the easy road of life and play the victim but to take the narrow road and work my ass off so that I could be healthy both mentally and physically(still working on that one) for my kids.
I decided not to play the victim; instead, I started going to counseling, reading self-help books, and finding men’s groups to join, working to make my self better mentally and physically to be able to show up for my kids. For me, my kids are my motivation.
On to the 3 F’s. Faith-Family-Friends. Why is this important?
While life can be hard at the best of times, faith is the knowledge, deep down inside, that things will get better. It’s taking the next step when you can’t see the entire staircase. Put, life would fail to have a reason if we didn’t have faith.
Without faith, we could not expect things to turn out right for us no matter what the situation.
The importance of faith can not be underestimated!
This is a tough one. I believe there are two types of family; there is your biological family ie. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives. And then there are the segregate family members, the people in your life that you have such an incredible bond with that deep down you feel for them the way you do for your family. Why is this important? Family can keep you grounded. Family can help meet basic needs in life. A family gives you a sense of belonging to something. Family is a built-in support system.
Without family, you lose that community, that support, and that sense of not feeling like you belong to something.
The importance of family can not be underestimated!!
They say you are the sum of your five closest friends. This is 100% true. They also say that as we get older, we tend not to have as many close friends. This is true for men.
A recent Harvard study concluded that having solid friendships in our life even helps promote brain health. Friends help us deal with stress, make better lifestyle choices that keep us strong, and allow us to rebound from health issues and disease more quickly. Friendship is equally important to our mental health.
When I was going through my separation, I was one of the lucky ones. I had three very close friends that had my back. They helped me to stay focused on myself, my kids, and my faith. They would sit there for hours listing to me tell my sob story. They gave me advice and even would call me out on my shit. Without my friends to be there for me, who knows what path I may have gone down.
So, lets recap. The storms you are going threw or have gone threw, do not define you, and it is how you come out at the end that defines you.
Without Faith, Family, and Friends navigating the storms in your life will be difficult. If you are missing just one of those components, you may find it hard to move forward in life. You need all three. You need something to believe in, you need that feeling of belonging to something, and you need that accountability and support.
Folks’ life is hard at the best of times, but I faith that whatever storm you are going threw you will make it, and the story you will tell will be one of success not of failure.