BY Emmanuel Tatenda Charuka
I have listened to a fair number of motivational stuff for me to quote certain things by head, but the perks to it is that I don’t really know who said it. So do forgive me if in this post I say something that’s not academic like, “someone once said”. Now that you have forgiven me allow me to vent. I believe someone once quoted someone saying, “When you are down, rock bottom can be a solid foundation upon which to rebuild your life”. So it got me thinking, ‘why then are many people still stuck in that rut, why aren’t they rebuilding’? Truth of the matter is people keep digging once they have hit rock bottom.
Let me share with you a few thoughts on why people keep digging when they reach rock bottom, and also a few suggestions on how to stop digging and start going up again.
First let me say this. Digging at rock bottom means that you are a mess already but you just keep getting worse, sometimes intentionally. One reason I have found for this is that people normalize rock bottom. Yes everyone hits rock bottom from time to time but it’s still not normal it’s not a place to live so it shouldn’t be normalized. What I mean is, people normalize addictions and make them a necessary part of life, whatever the nature of the addiction. So no one bothers with getting out. Cheating is called flirting, or entanglement, or whatever you call it and instead of getting help, actions are justified as responses to neglect and traumas. Whatever society says, rock bottom isn’t normal! Remember that.
The second reason I have discovered has more to do with self-worth. I have seen people that don’t believe they deserve anything good. So whenever they reach a low place they feel contentment and say that this is what they actually deserve. I don’t know how many times anyone can mess up but no one deserves to be in a rut. From time to time we do things that throw us off our course. But it’s important to know that we have a right to get back up. I’ve seen quite a handful of people that feel like they haven’t faced retribution and paid restitution enough to get out of a rock bottom situation.
The last reason I’ll share is that we are encouraged by others to stay in rock bottom. This is probably the most interesting one for me. Someone once said (here it is again ha-ha) “whenever people start to complain, don’t join no pity party”. I remember a friend of mine was rehearsing to another person how their heart had been broken when their partner of 4 years decided to leave, the other friend then said, “That’s better, mine left a week before our wedding”. Other people would say ‘it’s okay to wallow and cry.’ Its okay think ugly thoughts, it’s a process it takes time. Indeed it did take time, so many months too. He said to me if only I knew then that my friends were encouraging me to stay miserable I would have changed friends. Hold on a minute I’m not suggesting you change friends, just read a bit further, I may have better suggestions.
Getting out of rock bottom
First realize that you have hit rock bottom. Usually for people who hit rock bottom the world doesn’t come crushing down on them all at once. It’s almost a smooth ride down, so you won’t notice a thing until you can no longer see the sun. But it’s easy to see if you are hitting rock bottom. Just take a minute to look at your new normal compared to your former normal and how any change of habits have led to this trajectory. If you see that you have fallen, there and then put your X where it marks the spot and write rock bottom besides it so you don’t have to continue digging.
Secondly reaffirm to yourself that, ‘yes even the best of mankind falls from time to time but their greatness is seen in their rising up again.’ I don’t know who said this but I wrote it down in my notebook…”The greatness of man is not in them not falling but in rising every time, and the weakness of man is not in falling, but in failing to rise after a fall”. I believe even the Bible says a righteous man falls seven times and rises up the eighth. Just because everyone has pitched their tent in rock bottoms Ville doesn’t mean it’s your neighborhood, their lack of willpower shouldn’t be your lack. It may be hard at first but the moment you start at it you won’t rest satisfied until you are out of the rut.
Thirdly don’t waste your time blaming people. Chances are the person that led you to this place will do it again over and over. It’s human nature. So even if you didn’t deserve to hit rock bottom, you are there and complaining won’t build you a ladder. Another truth is that the people to whom you are complaining will find ways to get you down further. Almost everyone who has hit rock bottom has a story to tell of someone who dealt them badly. You ask them, they’ll tell you that blaming that person won’t change a single bit. Rather take ownership of your current situation and ask yourself how you can get out. Well if you are asking that now, here’s another one.
Believe in your worth. People underestimate the power of belief. I believe it was Martin Luther King Junior who said, “number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your own worth, your own self boldness”. Belief changes the way you think which goes to the command center of your being and inputs new actions, leading to changes in your life. Now no one can do this for you. They may believe in you but they can’t believe for you. Only you alone can change your mindset. If you are in a rut because of a heartbreak believe that you are worthy of love and it will change you, you’ll see yourself going out more and meeting new people. If it’s a job you lost believe your skills are needed and go out and look for that place where you can show your worth. Whatever it is that brought you down, tell yourself you deserve more than it.
Finally, let me give you my last thought. Look for critical friends and don’t fear their criticism. When we are down we want people who sympathize with us, so we feel justified. But we also need friends that are real with us. That will honestly tell us the truth we don’t want to hear. Let their words and harsh tones translate to love and wake up calls. If they are anything like the ones I have you’ll understand that they love you and want you out of that despicable place. But remember, it is left entirely up to you to pick up your slack.
So now that I’m done rambling, I hope this has been of some assistance to you or someone you know that has hit rock bottom. Just remember, rock bottom isn’t a place it’s a ditch in the road, just because you hit it, doesn’t mean you have to keep digging. Get out!