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The Best Lesson I Learned While Being Homeless
I learned to be honest with myself to accept my failures.
Some people are already born with the future assured, while others have to start the fire by rubbing two pieces of wood.
The brightest diamonds come out of the darkest coals, but first, they must be passed through intense temperatures for us to enjoy their beauty.
Despite so many opportunities to prosper in this country, sadly, I let myself be carried away by enjoying the fruits of my efforts first instead of sowing, reaping, and storing in barns like a wise farmer.
The lack of sense of responsibility can drag us to bankruptcy. Even worse, to lose our social stability and live on the streets.
Continually chasing fun only led me to self-destruction.
It’s like the dog trying to bite its tail by circling. Sooner or later, the dog will cause himself pain when he achieves it.
Worst of all, I try to stalk the shadow that seems to be chasing me—my shady past.
That’s how I ended up living as a homeless, sleeping on the streets, going around in life stuck in the same routine, trying to figure out the reason for my disgraceful state—blinded by alcohol abuse.
The reason was there, right in front of my face. But, to get to that state of acceptance, I had to be cruelly honest with myself.
Why is it so difficult for us to admit our failures?
Could we be afraid to expose our vulnerability to show our imperfections?
The real problem is that we believe that by making mistakes, we show to be less intelligent. One of the survival laws of the human being is to feel attractive through his level of intelligence. That gave the Neandertals a better chance of mating and survival.
And what does that have to do with us?
That we still behave like them? Yes, but updated. It’s in our genetics. We even carry survival behaviors as they did.
Just notice how you react when you feel threatened by danger. We act like a cornered cat. We defend ourselves with our teeth and claws.
When I felt cornered as homeless, “honesty” led me to realize my mistakes and the obstacles that prevented me from getting out of the challenging situation.
But I started to slide in the mud. I stopped drinking for a while, only to slide down to drink again. It was like a tsunami that receded its waters only to unleash its high energy.
And it is now that I understand why.
I was fighting with all my heart to stop drinking, struggling like an anchored ship fighting to break free into the sea. I was chasing the same outcome and never tried to change the system behind the problem first.
I needed to change the systems that gave me the same results.
I started by getting away from the same environment. I avoid hanging out with the same people, hearing the same conversations, and the smell of alcohol.
Small changes in my daily habits did not seem to give me any immediate results. I was still sleeping in a shelter around alcoholics, but those small changes accumulated until I began to live and think differently over time.
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day, and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous—James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits,”
That was my “Aha” moment. Almost inadvertently, I was applying what I had learned along the way, and that system saved my life.
When you hit rock bottom, you have no choice but to get up.
Shake up the dust and try again.
At least realize that the base is solid rock, which you can use to push yourself up.
Build a solid foundation from that rock bottom that can give you a trustworthy new beginning. Turn all life's troubles into the temperature that will turn the piece of coal inside you into a shiny diamond.
Be honest with yourself so that humility can open the way for your heart to be filled with faith that you can achieve it.
You can change your life and inspire others.
I hope these articles motivate you to find a solution to your current situation. Be inspired to change because you are more likely to achieve it if you put your mind to it.
And even if you only read this article to understand the mind of a homeless person better so you can help them, you can see that the situation has worsened lately. We have to do something to stop the current crisis of homelessness.
The state governors are trying to rid the cities of the homeless sleeping on the streets, but pushing them from one place to another does nothing but aggravate them, creating more friction in their minds and environment.
Let's help them overcome their situation but let's not be complicit in their self-destruction.
Let's give them bread, programs, and recovery centers, not syringes (addiction kits).
We are still in time to redirect our path as humanity.
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If you know someone going through emotional problems who lacks control over addictive substances, that person may be on the brink of losing their home and falling into the abyss of homelessness and addictions. Please call a helpline.