Life has a habit of throwing us in the rubbish dump sometimes. It can be hard to find our way out and days can feel like a struggle to feel normal again. Feeling knocked down can lead to feelings of apathy, of giving up because you feel beaten down.
But as hard as it feels sometimes, receiving a cruel blow by fate can present us with unique opportunities — opportunities to rebuild our lives and use it as fuel to create a second chance of living life in a new and positive way.
The actor Keanu Reeves has never shied away from his traumatic past. Having gone through dark times in his life, he has openly talked about how the struggles have affected him, how he chose to use these tragic experiences to mold a positive outlook and how it shaped his life. He is a true inspiration for using each setback as a reason to push forward and become a better person.
As a young boy, Keanu Reeves grew up without the influence of his father after he left his mother when Keanu was just three years old. Moving from city to city meant Reeves attended several different schools, making it difficult to make friends, all while he struggled hugely with dyslexia.
While this isn’t an uncommon life situation for many, Reeves has spoken of the challenges he faced leaving school without gaining a diploma. But through determination, he overcame his difficulty of reading and is now an avid reader.
Struggles from such an early age can influence us to a much greater extent, but we do have the ability to change how we feel and our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves — beliefs that have often been ingrained in us from our early years. We can choose to use them as excuses to struggle our way through life or use them as a torch to guide us onto a better path.
The most tragic part of his life was to start at the age of 23 when his closest friend River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. He spoke of his grief at the loss of such a young, talented person in his life.
“He was a remarkable human, person, and actor. We got along very well, and I miss him. I think of him often.”
But it wasn’t long afterward that he met and fell in love with Jennifer Syme — a whirlwind romance that resulted in Jennifer becoming pregnant shortly after. But with a month of the pregnancy to go, their baby daughter was stillborn, which was something that both found hard to come to terms with. The relationship eventually broke down, and it was a year later that Jennifer was tragically killed in a car accident.
While we all experience grief at some point in our lives, to have such loss at such a young age would make even the strongest person feel lost and bereaved. But Keanu used his dark experiences to perceive loss as gain, to reconstruct his life and adopt a positive mindset and attitude towards life.
While it’s easy to run and hide when tragedy enters our lives, the key to continuing on your path is to use your experiences — both good and bad — to create a better version of yourself.
Keanu’s ability to push on led him to become a successful actor starring in huge blockbuster movies. He strived to do what he loved and has shown that adversity doesn’t have to break you — you can come out on the other side.
Despite becoming a wealthy man, Keanu says his experiences of loss have made him look differently toward money. He is a big giver to charities and often gave away his earnings to the set staff, even when it meant taking cuts to make sure movie budgets were adhered to. His generosity is down to a different way of looking at life with a more humble foresight and sense of gratitude towards the world around him.
Going through experiences such as loss, pain, suffering, loneliness, and devastation has a way of showing us the need to appreciate what we have. We have within us the potential to bounce back stronger and more resilient than before. We can learn to be at peace with the beauty that life offers. It’s an opportunity to see that life is short and should be lived to its optimum, an opportunity to becoming our true self and how we can come out a better person on the other side.
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