Living a fully charged life is mostly based on strengthening yourself.
We are the person who speaks to us the most. We are the one that has the strongest opinion about ourselves and the most critical of our every thought and action.
Therefore, we need to learn how also to strengthen ourselves so we can reduce the negativity about ourselves.
Growing up, my dad was an abusive alcoholic. It seemed, his role in my life made things more difficult than to helpful. I know he has is own challenges and struggles. This is not an assault on him. This is just my story and how my childhood experiences influenced me.
I did not have a good image of who a dad was or who a dad was supposed to be. My dad was someone I needed to protect myself from and not someone who would lead me, guide me, protect me and be in my corner.
At the beginning of my 3rd year of college, I faced a huge challenge. I was on the soccer team and I was playing extremely well. Prior to pre-season training with our coach, we had a team only retreat to the beach where we trained and got in shape after a long summer.
During our pre-season training, I was playing extremely well. My touch was great, my fitness was excellent and I was in a state of flow. I knew it and I believe my teammates knew it. When we finished our pre-season at the beach, we headed to campus to train with our coach. On the first day, our coach pulled me aside and told me that I shouldn’t expect to play very much that year. He didn’t give me much of an explanation. He said we were considering a new style of play and there wasn’t a good position for me in it. I was devastated.
I ran through my mind the previous year. As a freshman and sophomore I led the team in assists and had a decent amount of goals too. I was a positive contributor to the team. But, for some reason, my coach believed that I was no longer a suitable fit as be a starter on the team.
Early in our season, freshman had to “pay their dues” by doing a lot of the setup work and fetching balls. It was common for our coaching staff to say things like, “freshman, go move the goals, everyone else grab some water” or similar instructions.
On our first day of practice, the coach said, “Brandon and the freshman, go move the goal. Everyone else get some water.” I had no idea why I was being singled out and treated as a freshman. After 3 days of this treatment, I went and asked my coach what I did and why I was being lumped into the group with the freshman.
I don’t remember the exact answer but it was not an answer that I appreciated or which made sense to me. I felt alone. I felt attacked and I felt lost.
I quit the team.
Soccer was my passion. Soccer has always been my escape from life’s challenges. Soccer was always a place that I excelled and felt like I could be the best version of myself. It was gone.
And, I was the one who removed it from my life. I removed it from my life because I did not know how to strengthen myself during challenges. I removed myself because I had not built a strong support community around me to help me when I needed help.
I acquired two very unfortunate lies in life that I wish I had never learned. These lies became “truths” for me. Or, I should call them false truths that I adopted and protected. They were just truths in my life because I allowed them to become truth and gave them the power of real truth in my life.
First, I was alone in life and could only count on me.
Second, things were done against me and not for me. In other words, all hard situations were something to fight against and remove from my life and not something to embrace, learn from and grow.
I missed out on so many opportunities to learn, love and be loved in life because of these “learnings” that I acquired and held onto with passion and grit. It was a very lonely and miserable path that I was on.
But, God is good and God started a process in my life.
He taught me two things that I still struggle with daily but know that I know, that I know, that I know are the new truths.
First, people are the difference in our lives. We were made to be in community. We were made to live in need of others and to help others in need. In business, we need our relationships to succeed. In our family, we need to support and be supported by them. In life, we are never alone unless we choose to be alone.
Second, every situation in life is an opportunity for us to face our weaknesses and strengthen ourselves. They are all opportunities to grow, learn and become a better, stronger version of ourselves. When we run from them, we miss out on an opportunity to learn how to strengthen ourselves. There are some situations in life that we should run and protect. This is not a totalitarian statement. But, in so many cases,
This year, more than ever, I learned the power of community. The power of building intentional community with people. Not as a way for self promotion, but when you are part of a community, you have a community of people who will help you, speak into your life, encourage you, and introduce you to others.
I can do a lot better in creating community and strengthening myself. I plan to do more in 2021 to intentionally build community. I encourage you to do so too.