I’ve blogged many times about how ‘it must look easy’ for professional athletes. Well the story of DJ Williams is just one of many stories of personal triumph over a difficult childhood of crack, cocaine, guns and violence. In 1990 DJ’s father was diagnosed as being bipolar. From there he endlessly abused DJ’s Mother. When DJ was 11 his father gave him a gun. The family moved out for the second and last time.
Arkansas & Green Bay Packers
Once DJ’s Father was sent to prison for killing a man, DJ started to excel in sports. He had many offers from colleges and made the decision to play for Arkansas and won the 2010 Mackey Award for being the best tide end in football. In 2011 he was selected to play with the Green Bay Packers. DJ said that his childhood experiences really helped him to get to where he is today.
My life was similar in some ways to DJ’s
Although my life story is not exactly the same as DJ Williams there are some similarities. I often wonder what it was about me that got a life of abuse, isolation, obesity, anorexia, etc to where I am today as an athlete, PhD, sports psychology practitioner and in a healthy relationship.
Like DJ I did not grow up in a positive environment and did not have any of the necessary tools to deal with life: work, money, relationships, emotions and education. In fact when I got kicked out of my home by my mother at age 16 I was on the street and dropped out of high school at 17.
I still wonder what got me here. I wonder if DJ wonders what got him here?
How do we make something positive out of something negative
As a psychotherapist it is still a bit of a mystery. I always felt that those early experiences could have taken my one of two direction: life or death. Somehow, like DJ, I chose life.
We all have personality traits that either make you want to fight or flight. It seems that DJ (and I) had just a little more of the flight gene which made us want to (at some point) consciously chose to fight; even given harsh circumstances.
If that is the case as we age you take stock of what you’ve been through and use that to help facilitate having a better life. You utilize all of the rage, anger, fear and resentment in a positive way to help get you what you want (Green Bay Packers & PhD). Over time it fades and you are left with the life you’ve built for yourself. It is at that point when pride, satisfaction, joy and happiness move in to take replace those old feelings that are no longer necessary.
You can take control
I understand feeling as though you don’t have control of your life. It is not a comfortable place but it’s a temporary place and the best thing you can do is find one small thing that you do have control over, take it and figure out how to build from there. It is not easy but if I can do it then you can do it. The things that happen in your life are not involuntary (although they may feel that way) and the more you start to take control the more you realize this is your life to have control over.
If you need help gaining control of your life please let me know. I offer a free initial consultation. I would love to help!
Photo credit: fayettevilleflyer