It’s 3.28am, I have just gotten out of bed to try to make sense of a shit situation. Yesterday I took a massive punch to the face and I am still reeling. Unfortunately, due to factors that I won’t discuss to protect their privacy, I find myself having very limited time to spend with my daughters.
My daughters are the most important thing in the world to me, and as I write this through tears, I realise what an opportunity I have to help you guys understand what resilience really is. I am heartbroken, but I also know I can’t give up. I have been awake for the past hour and a half thinking about what I can do to “fix” the situation and the truth is there isn’t much right now. It is apparent to me that I am unable to have anywhere near the interaction with them as I would like. This is devastating to me. This has not been by my choice, it has happened out of my control. I was seeking a fair outcome for the girls and I to spend quality time together, but it ended with me being painted as the problem. I have been told that one day every two weeks is “fair” right now. I have dedicated my life to helping others and being the best person I possibly can and this is the result, it just doesn’t seem possible.
I sat in my car and sobbed as I considered the reality that my ability to influence my beautiful daughters and contribute to their emotional development has essentially been taken from us. Someone has looked at me, been told of my “Mental Health” history, (PTSD and depression 16 years ago, from a 13 year Police career helping other people), and decided they knew who I was. They told me they weren’t sure that I had recovered from “my condition”, this person who has seen me for less than 15 minutes and had no conversation with me about the situation or my history. They assessed me as an angry ex-cop, because of the words of one person, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever. In fact with a distinct lack of evidence of this being the case. SO, what am I to do?
I drove home, got changed, made a couple of phone calls to people who reached out to me to see how I had gone, and then I drove straight to my daughters touch football game to support and love her. I stood away from the other people and watched her so she knew I was there. All the time making sure she couldn’t see me crying. My ex-wife and older daughter came a short time later. I kissed and hugged my daughter and told her how much I love her and they walked off to chat and laugh with the other parents. With my heart broken I stood on my own and watched my younger daughter play an amazing game and really enjoy herself. She subbed on and off the field as the game went on and came and stood next to me. I am guessing she could sense I wasn’t feeling great, so I encouraged and supported her with what a great game she was playing. They won the game and when she came off at full-time I hugged her and told her how proud I am of her. I gave her and her sister a card I had bought for both of them where I had written to each of them telling them how much I love them, how proud I am of each of them and how I would always have their backs, no matter what, and then I left. I drove home in tears not knowing what I was going to do next. I sat in a daze watching TV for a couple of hours, then I went to bed and woke up at 2.06 am, still not knowing what to do and too upset to sleep.
I am now more determined than ever to be an amazing Dad for my girls and to lead men by example to be loving, strong and powerful leaders. It is so easy to be strong and committed when everything is going really well, it is damn near impossible to do it when your world falls down around you ears. BUT this is the MOST important time to be resilient and optimistic about the situation. It is devastating, and I am so sad, but instead of letting this crush me I am going to use this as motivation to be even better, to help more people and to make even more of a difference to how we operate as men.
Just before I got out of my car to go and watch my daughter play I got a phone call from the Mum of a 16 year old boy I helped last week. She told me how he has gone from talking about taking his own life to being “the happiest I have seen him in a long time” He is back at school, playing sport, given up sugary drinks, processed foods and is eating clean and looking after himself. He has seen a psychologist and committed to a 10 week program to learn new skills to help him be more resilient to life. This all occurred off the back of a 90 minute catch up I had with him and his Dad. These type of results is what is going to drive me forward. This is what I am gong to focus on for the next few months, doing everything I can to help other people and make a difference.
I know I am going to cry many more tears in the coming weeks, I know I am going to have days where I will feel sorry for myself, I know I will want to play the victim at times, BUT I am going to do my absolute best to not let that happen. I have been telling other people for years to use the phrase “What other people think of me is none of my business” and now the ultimate test for me to put the rubber on the road is before me.
There are going to be tough times in your life, they are going to be totally unfair, there will be things that happen that are totally out of your control and you will want to give up and throw in the towel. This is the time you need to dig in and keep pushing. When you want to walk away, be the victim and feel sorry for yourself is the very time you need to get back up and keep fighting. The tough times create callouses on your Soul, build your character and develop the drive for you to do amazing things. The choice for you is whether you let these things break you or you use these shit times to drive you. Whatever the situation is, and however bleak it seems, there is always a way forward. There is always a way through the shit times.
Less than 12 hours after one of the worst times of my life I sit here in the dark, motivated and driven to keep going and make as much of a difference for my daughters, myself and other people as I possibly can. I have questioned myself 100 times writing this article, whether I should do it or not. I don’t know whether I will look back at this in time to come and regret ever putting these words “out there”? I wonder whether it is going to damage this situation even further? Only time will tell. I had to write this article now, when I am emotionally raw and feeling broken because it is the only way I could capture these feelings for you. In the books I have written, and the other content I have published, it has always been years after the difficulties when I had already come through them. This is real and raw and who knows how it turns out? All I know is I will NEVER give up on my daughters and I will NEVER give up on my purpose of helping people and making a difference.
There are so many people who are out there dealing with far worse situations than I am in right now. I do not want you to feel sorry for me, that isn’t the point of writing this. I want you to read this and put it away in your memory. I want you to use this as motivation to keep going when times get tough, and they will. EVERYONE hits hurdles in their life and all of us end up in times of despair. Just promise yourself you will never give up, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how sad you are, no matter how bleak the future looks, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t give up.
Live with Strength, Tenacity, Resilience, Optimism, Nurturing and Generosity and you will be living the Strong Life.