The story below is from an AMAZING human being, friend and messenger. Paul Hendricks is the epitome of what this site is all about: facing fears, showing up, willing to grow, sharing his past to help people grow into their future. Paul, thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing up for this audience and sharing your wisdom to help those who are wishing they could be where you are today. I value you greatly.
And now, Paul’s story…
“First, I think it’s awesome that you are providing a space for people to share their stories. I wonder what it would have been like as a teenager to have had a place where I could have gone to read about other people’s stories and realized that I wasn’t alone.
I had a pretty tumultuous childhood and teenage experience. Growing up in a home that was shrouded in religion and violence, I struggled to reconcile both of these experiences. I constantly asked myself if there was something wrong with me. Inevitably, the answer almost always came back – yes.
Of course, you never would have known from my outward persona. I did my best to be cool and was always popular. Even with a ton of friends, I still felt alone. That loneliness led to a lot of anger; anger directed at other people, society and the outside world. The reality was that I was angry with myself. Simply put, I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror.
So I started participating in a lot of self-destructive behaviors like fighting, smoking, drinking and drugs. To me, this was natural behavior. It wasn’t until I looked back upon those years that I realized there was nothing natural about it. Normal maybe; but definitely not natural.
That self-loathing continued into my adult years. Even after I found success, I always ended up sabotaging myself. And this cycle continued for years in my professional life, with relationships and every other aspect of my existence. My life was fueled by hatred.
It finally came to a head in my early thirties. I was addicted to cocaine and alcohol and my girlfriend at the time couldn’t put up with my self-destructive behavior any longer. She moved to Hawaii to put as much distance between us as possible. It wasn’t that she didn’t love me anymore; rather, it was that she loved herself enough to remove herself from an impossible situation. After she left, I decided that I was going to show the world my disgust by ending my life. Luckily for me, it didn’t work out as I planned.
Instead, I decided to move to Hawaii and start over. It took me a few years, because after the novelty of living in Hawaii wore off, “I” showed up again. However, this time I was committed to getting to the bottom of my behavior and why I felt like I did.
So I immersed myself in the process of self-study and change. I read books, I attended personal transformation seminars, I began training in Kung Fu and I started meditating and praying on a daily basis. And gradually, I began to change. I began to look at my life from a different perspective. I realized that no matter what I experienced as a child and teenager, I was responsible for my life NOW. The only way I was ever going to be able to fully receive love was for me to love myself. I started recognizing all of the amazing things I had accomplished. Just as importantly, I took ownership of everything in my life, good and bad.
After that, I began letting go of the hammers of self-judgment. That allowed me to forgive myself and embrace the whole man that I am. The best part is that now I can accept everyone else where they are on their journey.
Looking back, I’m grateful for every experience I had because of the man I am today. Those experiences led me to a rewarding career as a writer, publisher and teacher of forgiveness, love and Universal laws. Everything I experienced has been part of my journey. I accept it, love it and am looking forward to the rest of it!”
Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Mentor
Newly released book: “Wake Up! The Enlightenment of an American Misfit and Outlaw” (EXCELLENT BOOK!)
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