Having a Purpose and Meaning in Life after an SCI

ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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It is human nature to want to live a live with purpose and meaning. For some people going through a Spinal Cord Injury it may take those feeling away. For those of you living with an SCI do you still feel like you have meaning or a purpose in your life? This is a question I have asked myself many times.

As crazy as it sounds, I honestly feel like my SCI gave me a greater purpose in life. It changed the way I thought about everything. My injury changed me as a person for the better and I believe my purpose in life is to help others. Spread awareness and educate the uneducated about spinal cord injuries. Having a meaning in life has helped me to continue persevering and moving forward in my life living with a SCI. I have accomplished more in my life right now than I would have in my entires previous life. I went to college and graduated with a bachelors, accepted into grad school, faced my biggest fear and spoke in front of strangers sharing my story, started my own YouTube Channel, and so much more. My disability is the reason I am going into counseling so I can help the lives of others. I want to inspire and motivate people. I want to show others that no matter the obstacles life throws at us, we can overcome them and live a fulfilling life. Thinking about the path I am on now and making a difference in people's lives puts a smile on my face. The feeling I get inside of my body is conformation to me that I am on the right path. I believe this is where I am supposed to be. I used to view my accident as a negative and focus on all the things it took away from me. Now I look back and see all of the amazing opportunities that have come about because of this injury. What gives you meaning and purpose in your life?

I am wondering if anyone else has the same beliefs or experience as I do. Would love to hear others perspectives, even if you disagree.  

Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI


  • SterlionSterlion Posts: 69Moderator Moderator
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    I do think that having an SCI gives an opportunity to really show others what life is truly about. The hardest times for me happen when I focus on what I am not able to do or should be able to do. Life is fun when I know I am having a positive impact on someone. I guess you could say the more selfless I am the easier life gets. Although, it can be very difficult to keep that mindset. Its human nature to want to do things our way. But things @Zcollie is doing also helped me have purpose. Staying busy, trying new things and conquering fears!
  • cruiseybabbbycruiseybabbby Posts: 18Moderator Moderator
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    So I've been injured for just over a decade now and for the first few years I struggled with what I was going to do with my life… Having my injury at the age of 19, I clearly still had a lot of "growing up" to do and I think my acceptance and understanding of my true purpose came with this "growing up" process in my life.

    Being a quadriplegic and enduring what we have in life has implored people to actually listen to us and in turn, think deeply about their own lives which gives us this incredible opportunity to utilize this platform we’ve been given and capitalize by creating and putting out as much positive content and vibes as possible that might just be able to change peoples lives and leave the world a better place!

    Pre injury I was living for myself. Post injury I live for others!

  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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    @Sterlion I agree, in the beginning it was really hard for me to not focus on everything I lost. I was a very active and independent person growing up. I have noticed like you said, it is a lot easier when you keep yourself busy. It makes it worthwhile for me when I see the positive impact I have on someone. Yes! trying new things and conquering fears is huge! One of the biggest things for me was stepping out of my bubble, which I was comfortable in and trying things that I was uncomfortable with. 
    @cruiseybabbby Same with me man. I was only 15 and had so much growing to do. For me, my injury matured me in ways I never would have if my accident never happened. You are totally right in that with everything that we have been through, people do want to hear what we have to say and we have an amazing opportunity to make ourselves heard. Really well said about living your life for yourself and now living it for others. Love it! 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 259Moderator Moderator
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    Brooke here - I love this post. Your positive attitude is such a gift and I relate to everything that you are saying. If my husband hadn't been injured there are so many things that would not have happened in our lives.. as hard as it is to say this, it has been a blessing for me. Yes its hard for him (for both of us), and he's not quite at the place that I am at yet with accepting his new role in life, but I truly believe things happen exactly how they're supposed to as an opportunity to grow and heal. There have been things presented to us in life since his injury that are truly miraculous- and we have learned so much about one another. If you can get to a place where you can view the injury this way - and truly see the positives that can happen- you can conquer all the set backs that happen along the way. - Brooke (WAGS of SCI)
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 162Moderator Moderator
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    @WAGSofSCI Hi Brooke(: Thank you! I totally agree with you saying, if you can get to a place where you can view this injury as something to learn and grow from, you can conquer any of the challenges life throws at you. In my opinion, having a positive mindset when dealing with this type of injury is HUGE. I think the way a person thinks will effect how they feel about certain things. It is definitely not easy, but when I think about it all the positive experiences after my SCI have outweighed the negatives! Thanks for sharing! 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • CruckerCrucker Posts: 55Moderator Moderator
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    To all:
    Everyone on this chain seems to have learned the important lessons intuitively, but if you want to delve a little more into the supremacy of meaning over happiness or success, try grabbing a copy of "Man's Search for Meaning," by Viktor Frankl, famous psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. The man is full of pithy insights that seem tailor-made for someone dealing with paralysis.  Such as:

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves..."
    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

    It appears you have all chosen your own way.

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