Trigger warnings: abuse, suicide, suicidal thoughts.
If I asked you what the worst book in the world is, what would you think of?
Would you think of a fiction novel?
A non-fiction work?
A particular biography, if there’s someone you don’t like?
It’s hard to say what the worst book in the world is. I don’t think there’s an objective answer for it. So the only way for us to answer this question is to think of what the worst book in the world is for us individually.
I don’t have an answer at the moment, but I would have had an answer had I succumbed to the suicidal thoughts I battled many years ago.
Confused? Read on.
The last couple of years of high school were some of the most traumatic years I’ve had to date.
I’ve already mentioned on a couple of occasions how I didn’t really have a support system growing up. Not only was I neglected, but I was also physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by the folks at home.
Any solace that I sought in my peers at school was quite ephemeral, and eventually, the friends I thought I had betrayed my trust.
I was, quite simply, alone, both in and out of the home. And for most of my life up until that point, that was how things were.
Being the overly agreeable and naive person that I was, I let people walk all over me. I doled out kindness and got spat on and used in return.
People took me for granted and showed no signs of appreciation or respect. I was looked down on for trying to be good to others instead of some macho meathead.
I tried and I tried to push through the pain of it all, but the burden of wrongdoings laid upon me by my merciless environment almost proved too much for me to bear.
I eventually reached a breaking point and almost gave up on life entirely.
But then, I realized something.
For me in my life? The worst book in the world.
This fork in the road, this decision point on whether or not to give up, was one of the defining moments of my life, and it was at this point that I started to look at my life as if it were a book, as described above.
There were pages and chapters filled with misery, sadness, anger, loneliness, and pain. Little bits and pieces of fleeting moments of happiness and joy overwhelmed by the darkness.
And on the last page of the book, the protagonist gives up, and that’s the end.
Such a book would’ve probably made the homepage of a site called Badreads.
The Wake-Up Call
You know at this point that I would’ve found such a book distasteful.
I wouldn’t want to read a book about overwhelming loss with no victory or comeback at the end, much less author such a piece of work.
That’s when I woke up.
After everything I had been through, didn’t I, the protagonist of my own book, deserve a happy ending? Shouldn’t I live to see to it that I had some lasting, positive changes in my life?
Shouldn’t I reach that light at the end of the tunnel?
If there was one thing I was 100% certain of at that point, it was this:
And knowing that there was a chance to make a change, realizing that this wasn’t how it had to end…these ideas served as my motivation to continue.
This is what fueled my determination.
Now, It’s Your Turn
Take a look at your own life like it’s a book.
Examine each and every letter, word, page, and chapter.
If your book isn’t very long, or if, in other words, you’re still rather young, there’s a higher chance that you haven’t had enough time to see the long-term potential positive outcomes of your life, especially if your upbringing is anything like mine.
As previously mentioned, my upbringing was one of neglect, and what I’m about to say to you is something that I needed to hear but something I never heard growing up.
I know how cliche this can sound, and maybe you’ve even heard or read this a bunch of times already, but have you thought about how some cliches are based on evident truths?
I don’t tell anybody anything just to make them feel better. I don’t believe in white lies. I don’t agree with blind optimism.
It’s why I shifted my identity from being a motivational speaker to someone who specifically seeks and speaks the Truth. In the end, that’s all that matters, and I won’t sugarcoat it for you.
The cold, hard truth is that times will get better for you. The pain you feel in this moment is not permanent.
And so if you’re sifting through your own pages and you find that there’s not a lot of good to look back on and you feel like that’s how your book is doomed to be, just remember that just because that’s how it is currently doesn’t mean that’s how it has to be forever.
I wrote about life as if it were a card game too a while back, and it applies here as well.
As a kid, you get a pass for a lot of your circumstances.
You don’t get to choose the kind of family you’re born into.
You don’t get to choose what school your parents make you attend.
You don’t get to pick what kind of other kids wind up at your school.
Thus, your book, back then or now, depending on your current age, was or is largely influenced by factors out of your control.
Don’t take the blame, and beat yourself up if you’re feeling miserable. Haven’t you been through enough already?
As you get older, you’re going to take more and more charge of your own life. And as the captain of your own ship, you get to pilot yourself more accurately toward the waves that carry you higher in life.
But the only way you’ll get to do that is if you press on.
So bear with me. Bear with all of us.
And keep writing that book.