“Every experience I have is perfect for my growth.” – Louise Hay
Years ago, when I turned 30, I burst in tears of sadness. I was miserable after a painful break-up, stuck with a job I didn’t believe in, tired and overworked.
In April this year, when I turned 42, I embraced my birthday as a beautiful celebration of life. No more tears. Happiness from the inside out.
What makes the difference? It’s all about what we make things mean to us. With every year passing by, I feel more resilient, grounded, and stronger. Every age is a gift; every day is equally precious and important.
The best thing I could ever do for myself during these years was to work on my self-worth. See, there was a time I used to perceive myself as not good enough and unworthy. I always saw the gifts in others, not in myself. Once I learned how to keep my tank full, take good care of myself and know my own value, everything shifted.
Here are five big life changes that brought me genuine joy and fulfillment:
1. I manifested a soul partner.
It’s been six beautiful years since we became husband and wife. When we met, we were two Romanians living and working in Asia, within the same company but in two different countries. I was in China; he was in South Korea.
At the time, I was 35 and very clear on what I wanted from a romantic relationship. My wish was to feel loved, supported, cherished and appreciated. I wanted a companion — a lover and a friend — not to complete me because I was already feeling whole and complete.
I wanted to spend my precious time with someone I could share new life experiences with and build a solid foundation together.
Here’s the most important thing I learned from this experience:
I spent too many years waiting for Mr. Right or The One – that persona that was supposed to complete me, save me from the sorrow of being single, and make me forever happy. I was so needy.
We all have a basic need to be loved and appreciated. As Descartes said, “human is a social animal.” However, the need for love and being needy of someone are two different things.
If I expect my husband to bring joy into my world, I turn him into my prisoner. I start setting expectations for whom I would want him to be and what I’d want him to do or say, so I can get my needs met.
If I expect him to complete me, I am incomplete. When I hold him tight to me and control him so that I wouldn’t lose him to another woman, it’s not him I fear I might lose. That’s the voice of my fear of getting miserable and lose the very source of my happiness.
I came to understand that real love builds on a partnership. Two individuals who are already whole and complete have no fears. They get together with the purpose of supporting each other and grow together, not for using each other as an external tool to fulfill their own wants and needs.
In reality, the only person in charge of my happiness is me, and everything else is a bonus. I know this might sound selfish, but it’s not. Self-love in romantic relationships is a necessity.
We need to love ourselves enough so that we can love another. When I keep my cup full, I don’t need other people to fill it up for me. I am free, and this allows my partner to be free, as well.
2. I am a mother.
Last year, at age 41, I gave birth to our little girl. She is a ray of sunshine. According to doctors, I wasn’t able to conceive because of severe endometriosis I got treatment for.
I choose to live in a supportive Universe where everything happens for my highest good. I learned to stop asking for what I want and, instead, start asking for what I need. I trust the flow of life, so I let it decide if I was going to be a mother or not. No pressure; no stress.
I have never considered having children by pressure, so I could please other people (make my parents happy) or tick a societal-imposed box around what the role of a woman should be. In my life, I am the one making the rules.
I have never wanted children for the sake of keeping my tank full of joy and fulfillment. Babies are independent spirits, born to learn and grow, not souls I would ever possess.
Today I know I need to experience the journey of motherhood, while somebody else, my beloved baby girl, is going to need me in her life. I thank her for choosing me to be her mom.
Raising another human has been fulfilling and hard. She’s been my great teacher. I got to learn about patience, creativity, playfulness, fun, and unconditional love.
3. I do what I love and love what I do.
Five years ago, I left a job I didn’t believe in, and I reinvented myself professionally from scratch as a coach. I got sick and tired of being overworked, successful, but unfulfilled. I wanted to do something meaningful. I was looking for a deep sense of purpose.
What makes my heart sing?
What do I want to be remembered for, once I’m gone?
As someone who helped other women live their precious lives to the fullest.
There’s nothing wrong with Monday mornings when we are truly happy. When we do what we love, when we wake up with a deep sense of purpose, we enter a state of flow: pleasure, ease and fulfillment.
4. I live in the now.
During my corporate years, I was a perfectionist, a doer, and an overachiever. I was trapped in busyness, running an exhausting rat race that was supposed to lead me to a perfect life.
I used to hope that, someday, when I get married / when I get that job / when I make that amount of money, I will finally be happy….
Every single day, I used to project my life into an imaginary future, unable to see and appreciate the power of the only reality that is: the Now.
Many small happy moments make a big, happy life. If I don’t have time for myself, I create it. We all have 24 hours a day. I collect beautiful memories, enjoy the small pleasures of life, and I do things for my heart and soul.
From age 30 to 42, I lived in five countries and traveled to another fifteen. I want to know what this world is all about, to meet and understand different cultures and systems of belief. Traveling has been a great source of joy for me.
5. I live my own life.
Goodbye, people-pleasing! Everyone is on their journey, and my job is to focus on my own. I learned how to set healthy boundaries with the outer world and say no to things I don’t want to do without feeling guilty or offending anyone.
I stopped looking for validation through others. Whatever people see in me – if they find me beautiful, ugly, smart, or stupid – is always filtered through their lenses. It’s all about them, and it has zero to do with me. True freedom!
I am very cautious with the way I am spending my time and with whom, knowing it’s an asset that’s never coming back. I stay away from negativity and drama, and I surround myself with positive, non-judgmental people who love me as I am.
And here’s what I know to be true today:
Life is to be lived, not just about existing. We have a life when we feel Alive.
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- Posted by Sara Fabian
- On May 25, 2020