It was when my son was diagnosed with autism that I realized the absolute critical necessity of making a decision, and how powerful it is to deliberately decide what I wanted to think and believe about something.
I was laying on a bathroom floor feeling like my entire life had completely fallen apart. I was still, after two years, really trying to wrap my head around my son’s diagnosis, and at the same time, my marriage had completely fallen apart. I look back on that moment now and realize it was a beautiful moment of grace even though at the time I was in so much despair. I had FINALLY reached the point where I was able to recognize the power of choice. Deliberate, focused, on purpose decision. I was in so much pain there was simply no other option. And what I discovered moving from that place is that everything that you do in your life is based on what you believe to be true. And what you believe is a choice.
We have this false understanding of what a belief is, belief is not fact. But they are choices, I mean you believed in Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy or whatever when you were young and when you found out that in fact none of those things were at all true you changed your belief.
But every belief we have is exactly the same as that. Every belief we have about something has the potential to be unhelpful or unhealthy because it's not usually based on any kind of reality. In every area of your life, there are things you can do that are helpful. There are things that you can do that are unhelpful. What you actually do is fueled by what you believe to be true regardless. The realization that you have control over this process is life-changing.
As a teen when I was just starting to learn about leadership and personal development I heard these ideas and thought they were complete bullshit. Some motivating dude at a leadership youth seminar was trying to convince me that problems were opportunities and I literally thought, “that is complete bullshit”. I’m just lying to myself when I say that.
But laying on the bathroom floor in complete misery I had a tiny moment of peace when I realized the criticalness of this, the sheer power inherent in it. And I began putting it into work in my own life around my son’s autism. I took the belief I had of what autism was and considered what it meant for my son. And for me, and for our family. And I evaluated it. I evaluated it into two columns. Is this helping us? Is this hurting us?
And that's it, very binary. Is it good for me? Is it harmful to me? Is it good for my son? Is it harmful to my son? Is it good for my daughter? Is it harmful to my daughter? Is it good for the family or is it harmful to the family? And not is autism good or bad, are my thoughts and believes about autism good or bad. Me, inside...it had almost nothing to do with the autism. Because I had to live. I had to fucking live and I was dying in my suffering. There was no other option anymore.
Am I making it worse or am I making it better was the only category, the only criteria that I used to make decisions about what I was going to believe. When I started to look at what I believed about autism I realized that I thought that autism was bad for us and thinking that autism was bad for us, did not put me in a situation where I was going to make decisions that would be helpful. So the only way forward was to choose, to decide on purpose, that somewhere, in some way, there must be a way to make autism workable. To make autism worth something. Notice that I said that word worth something.
This is worth it. Make your life worth it.
And that's what I did. It took a long time. It's not a fast process. It's not easy. It's not even always comfortable. In fact, often it's very painful, but it's the only way to get to the other side to where you want to go.
I could either spend 70 years thinking that my son’s autism was awful. Or I could spend three years thinking my son's autism was awful and then spend 67 years getting as much out of it as I could. See what I'm saying?
So that's what I did. And through that, I have come to realize how necessary this is to live a fulfilling life.
And the shifts that needed to come from inside of me to make my life worth it. I needed to be on purpose with what I choose to think and believe about everything to make my son’s life worth it. To make my daughter’s life worth it. You have to consider what you believe about your life and then be on purpose with making it worth it.
You can't avoid pain. You have to take care of the pain. When you take care of your pain, it does not turn into suffering. Suffering is a choice. Suffering is a belief, usually suffering comes from believing that something can't be different. Everything can be different. And that's how I know how powerfully important it is to start just making decisions. The very first decision you must make for anything to be different in your life is that you can change. That you have control to change how you think about it, what you believe about it. It's the understanding and decision to realize that at some point, and at some level, life is really binary. Is it making it better or is it making it worse? Is what you're thinking, getting you where you want to go, or pulling you away from where you want to go.
That's it. It’s that simple. Though doing it alone is more difficult and that is one reason I wanted to be a coach. To help others struggling with a special need or any other issue and make the decisions needed to move through it into something amazing.
If you are looking or needing some help working through this book a free consultation call so you can learn more about my coaching programs. You can also follow my online @considerjennifer on FB, IG, TikTok and YouTube.