It is said that a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor and that couldn’t be more true. There are times that navigating through the seasons of life is less of a cruise and more like being thrown off of its ledge. Though we experience many good times, create wonderful memories, and enjoy the many views, it’s the times that we struggled to keep our heads of above water that sadly seem to stick with us the most.

It’s important to acknowledge that — though difficult to accept at the time — the trials and tests only improved our endurance, enhanced our empathy, and built our strength.

The Message in the Mess

In life, there are highs and lows, peaks and valleys, and joys and pains that not only test us and shake us, but also prepare us for the next step and force us to evaluate our direction in an effort to mold us into better versions of ourselves. Essentially, we have to go through some things to know some things. Sometimes it takes falling, suffering and experiencing struggles to open our eyes, make changes and find the people that have been lost for so long—ourselves.

The problem is that we so often wrap ourselves up in the past that we let it destroy our present and future. We are haunted by hindsight, filled with rage toward people that wronged us, struggle to forgive ourselves and refuse to let go of the dead weight that comes with it all. Here’s the thing: no amount of tears, shame, resentment, anger, sadness, or bitterness can take back a single word we spoke, loss we suffered, damage we’ve done, tear we cried, time we wasted or opportunity we missed. It’s over.

We can’t change what’s done but we can allow the lessons to change us for the better. Whenever we do that, everything that we experienced is no longer in vain but can be used to enhance our vision and bring value to someone else.

Refined and Ready

I had to realize the limitations of my control and accept that my plan and way is not always the best, but it’s never too late to reach for the one who can order my steps in the right direction. Not mountaintops, but valleys taught me that.

It was my worst experiences, decisions, heartaches and feelings that taught me the best lessons and essentially tore me down to build a better person. It wasn’t comfortable or even understood at times, but it was allowed because what came from it was greater.

Everything in my journey worked together to open my mind, change my perspective, foster my faith and build my character. Most importantly, it helped me to grow and become the person I am today. Though it took time to realize, accept and appreciate, I know that I can’t be bitter toward myself, anything, or anyone when it’s undoubtedly a combination of all life experiences that led me here.

There is Purpose At Play

Understand that all things are allowed and were allowed for a reason. Accept that you are exactly where we are supposed to be in this season. Believe that what’s ahead is greater than what’s behind.

You don’t have to have a perfect past or pristine present to have a powerful and purpose filled future. So, pick yourself up and put one foot in front of the other, because none of your experiences ended you. They are the very things that enlightened you and can be used to elevate you. Your story’s ending will change for the better once you learn to.

MORGAN RICHARD OLIVIER is an author, business owner, and wife from New Iberia. She uses empathy and lessons learned to empower and encourage others.

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