How I Reframe Painful Experiences to Benefit Me, And So Can You

It’s All About Perspective

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Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

Whenever something awful or negative happens that affects you, try to figure out what you’re supposed to learn from it. Also, try to flip it around and view it as a positive.

To illustrate this in practice, I’m going to detail three of my own painful experiences that I reframed to benefit me.

1. My Father Robbed My Mom of Sex, Then Robbed Me of a Father

I knew my father about as well as Bill Cosby knew how to take ‘no’ for an answer! I never met him, and I’m sure it was for good reason. He sexually assaulted my adolescent mom, and served as co-producer of the production that became ME. My mom raised me, along with my grandparents and from 2–15, my stepfather.

I didn’t even know what happened until I was 11; I am the product of a crime. When I was 19, I thought I was going to talk with him to get his side of the story. Let’s just say that he disappeared quicker than ice cubes in microwaves when a meeting with me became a possibility. It sounds like a sad tale, right? Well, not to me.

Long ago, I reframed the situation to add another layer of gratefulness to my life. I came to the conclusion that if he had been in my life, he would’ve tried to change me. I have no proof of this, but fathers seem to want to mold their sons into their own image.

My mom allowed me to be whoever my personality dictated that I was. Anything that I took an interest in, she supported and encouraged it. So because I have no idea what would’ve happened if my father had been there, I can only go by reality.

The reality is that I love how things played out in my life growing up without him. That includes all the things that were suckish! So the takeaway for me is, he did me a favor by staying away. Score one for me!

How You Can Use This to Help You

If you are ever faced with someone in your life who chooses to leave, let them leave. Sure, it may be very painful if it’s someone who you love or is important to you.

But if they are hell bent on not being in your world, take it as a sign from the universe that you’d be better off without them. It’s going to be their loss in the long run because you are special. Keep that in mind.

2. Being Made Fun of For Being a Porker

When you grow up having the same waistline as the equator, you’re probably going to have your own studio audience. But they weren’t laughing with me. It was always at me. I felt like the black and chubby boy version of the title character in the old flick, Carrie. “They’re all gonna laugh at you,” was the soundtrack of my life for many years.

But with all the humiliation and mental discomfort that I endured, it had a net positive on me. Don’t get me wrong, it never feels good to be made fun of. “Big draws,” “Lunchmeat,” and the good ol’ standby, “Fat muthafucka” were always on the unflattering names menu. It took me many years, but I eventually figured out how to see myself as awesome in spite of a self image that was more trashed than a frat boy at a keg party.

Turns out, I had been ignoring my own amazing attributes in favor of accepting the ridicule of others. Once I realized that I was never ugly, just fat, I began to evolve my thinking. I began to pay attention to my interesting personality. My excellent sense of humor. My intelligence. My fascinating conversational skills. My creativity.

If it weren’t for the roughness of being mocked and teased, I likely wouldn’t have sought out other characteristics of mine that were valuable. I learned to co-exist with something that is considered undesirable in general society.

How You Can Use This to Help You

If there’s something about yourself that people make fun of or tease you for, keep in mind that whatever that “thing” is does not define you. You have countless talents, skills, qualities and wonderful attributes that makes you a very valuable member of society.

Remember, the folks who make fun of you also have their own issues to deal with. I guarantee that they are insecure or self-conscious about one or more things in their own lives. That’s a big reason they are using you for “target practice.”

Even if you’re the one that feels insecure, ask the most meaningful people in your life what they like or love about you, then make a list of those things. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful you really are.

3. I Was Forced to Move to a Homeless Shelter

Who would’ve ever thought that moving from a house of nearly unlimited access to sex, a vehicle and free rent to a homeless shelter would be an upgrade? It happened to me and I was so much better off for it. Living at the shelter allowed me to speak with its residents and gain great perspective.

I felt such gratitude that I did not actually have to live there, but I soaked up so many lessons from the experience. Turns out, it made me feel so lucky and privileged to have my problems. I felt empowered and special, but it was educational to actually interact with the people there.

It added important knowledge to me and it gave me great perspective on several things. People close to me felt that it was awful that I opted to move there. I never felt that way and I’m glad I made that decision.

How You Can Use This to Help You

Anytime that you’re in an undesirable situation, keep asking yourself what are you supposed to learn from it. Pay attention to the details of the situation, and if others are also in the situation, pay attention to their demeanor. What is it that you have as an advantage that they don’t? Embrace that privilege.

Never get too low mentally from any situation, because it will drag down your spirit. You don’t need that negative emotional energy so, do whatever is necessary to recognize the privilege in your own life. You will have far more gratitude after that experience.

What painful experiences have you overcome in your life? Let me know in the comments.

Personal Development Writer | Deante Unlimited podcast, Host | Deante: Under Construction web series, Star | Deante Young Enterprises, Chief Creative Architect

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