It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. And oh my, was it the worst of times.
I had experienced my own rock bottom. It was the beginning of my sophomore year of college, a time when I was supposed to be surrounded by good vibes, good people and good memories. Instead, I was trapped in a vicious cycle of wanting to be a better version of myself, but not knowing how to get there.
It was toxic, manipulative and confusing. I felt like I was beginning to lose sight of myself entirely, but I didn't actually realize I had hit rock bottom.
I never even knew what "rock bottom" was. I guess I knew that everyone had his or her own personal idea of it, but I never imagined mine because I never thought I would reach that point. The specifics of how I got there are irrelevant at this point. The fact of the matter is, you never know what and when your circumstances are going to plummet you into the lowest point of your life.
But here is the beauty of rock bottom: It can be a place of learning, if you let it.
As I started to focus on myself more and fix what I needed to fix, everything in life suddenly became more clear. I became a happier, healthier, positive person.
I could have never reached this point of personal clarity had I never gone down to the muddy depths that was my rock bottom. The only way you can pull yourself out is to accept the reality of what got you there.
Here are five things you need to do in order to pull yourself out of the lowest of low points of your life:
1. Remove the toxicity at all costs, and replace it with positivity.
Stop paying attention to your "sh*t list," and let yourself accept the truth that life changes when you change your outlook. As I was driving home listening to John Mayer, crying more than I had ever cried before, I thought, "This cannot be it."
There was so much more to life that I wasn't seeing clearly. I was so blinded by the bad that I neglected to see the good.
I made a list of everything that made me unhappy, sad or frustrated (the list was longer than anticipated), and I decided to rid myself of everything that was on that list (people included).
I then created the list of everything that made me happy (another surprisingly lengthy list), and it was in that moment I decided to focus more on what made me happy, and not pay attention to my "sh*t list" of things that made my life awful.
2. Recognize the truth of your circumstances.
After I had what I believe to be the biggest mental breakdown ever, I saw who was there for me and what life could have in store.
I saw who I ran to when I needed someone. I saw what I turned to when it was 2 am and couldn't sleep. I realized what made me the happiest, and it was like a light I never wanted to turn off. It was these people and different outlets that helped lift me from the notorious rock bottom.
3. Self-love is never selfish.
Something that is so new to me (and is something I wish I had learned from an early age) is the vitality of self-love. Self-love is by far the most beautiful gift you can ever give yourself. If you can't love yourself, how will you allow others to love you?
You need to see your worth, as everyone is so valuable (yes, even you). This took me a while to grasp. I was always the first one to tell others to love themselves and to not be so hard on themselves, but I never took my own advice.
Once I began to see exactly what I had to offer, I instantly became happier. I still have a lot to work on, but I'm getting there.
4. Being selfish isn't always selfish.
My most incessant habit pre-rock bottom was making sure everyone around me was happy before I was. This will only make you unhappy.
Sure, it's a nice feeling to see the ones you love most happy, but you also have to remember yourself. I forgot myself for a very long time.
After my rock bottom, I didn't allow myself to seek the approval of others, and I didn't care what people thought of me. I don't think I've ever felt so liberated. You do not need to please people to feel worthy.
5. Choose to make yourself better.
The great thing about rock bottom is there's nowhere to go but up.
Rock bottom isn't fun, and allowing yourself to stay there once you've recognized your reality is dangerous. In fact, it's probably even more toxic than whatever it was that got you there in the first place.
As I was sitting alone in my car listening to John Mayer and making my lists, I knew I never wanted to feel this way again. I created goals for myself. I treated myself more often and I promised myself I would let go of whatever it was that only made me unhappy.
Not worrying about the wrong things in life is a liberating feeling. I cannot remember the last time I felt more positive and motivated. I was on the entirely wrong path before, but I changed my ways and am exactly where I am supposed to be.
I couldn't be happier. Rock bottom was a beautiful start.