Ever think about what's made you who you are today?
Sometimes I reflect on all the people whose paths have crossed mine and all the experiences, wonderful and difficult, that have been mine through the years. Each one of those people and experiences has made me who I am. Ironically, the most difficult experiences have shaped me the most. And some of my most long-lasting life lessons have been learned by dealing with people who seemed the most challenging to me at the time.
Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have says: "The river is a good model. It doesn't own the water that rushes by, yet it couldn't be in more intimate relationship to it, as the force of what moves through shapes it. It is the same with everything we love. In truth, there is no point to holding on to the deepest things that matter, for they have already shaped us." He was talking about the things we hold onto because of some attachment. But the deeper lesson I take from this is that all that moves through (and around) us shapes us.
These days I try to be grateful even for those difficult experiences in my life such as my divorce and my job loss because I've learned so much. Those experiences and all the inner work I did as a result have shaped me perhaps even more than I know.
I try to be grateful, too, for those difficult people whose paths have crossed mine. At the time I didn't feel so grateful. Even now, it's sometimes difficult for me to give thanks for them. But when I am completely honest, I know there were lessons for me—important life lessons—in those exchanges.
By whom and by what have you been shaped? Reflect on the wisdom you've gained. Be grateful today—and celebrate the amazing person you have become by those things!