We all have a story. Many stories actually, some more significant than others because they impact our lives more deeply.
So I chose THIS story because it’s been the starting point of my self-discovery and self-acceptance journey.
I’ll share, well, my story, the lessons I learnt, and my thoughts on why self-discovery and -acceptance are important to live a more fulfilled life.
Loosing myself in a relationship
About 7 years ago, I met my ex-boyfriend (it has to be a love story).
‘Met’ isn’t the right term, because we had know each other for 10 years. We lost contact and when we met again, something was different and it clicked.
Back then, he was living in London and I was in Berlin, not living the best time of my life.
So when we got together, I throw myself in this relationship as if it was my saving boat, my exit door from a life I wasn’t happy about.
At that time, I was flying once a month and he did the same, it was a good rhythm to escape my routine and my reality.
Not knowing who I was and what I wanted in life
Something to mention here is that I used to adapt a lot in my relationships: friendships and romantic relationships to please the other, fit in, avoid conflict and exist through the other person.
Since I’d spent most of my life in a relationship, I didn’t know who I was and what I really wanted.
I didn’t know, BUT I also knew or had an idea of what I didn’t want:
- I didn’t want to get married;
- I didn’t want to have kids;
- I didn’t want to go back to France.
And guess what? These are all the things my ex-boyfriend wanted. He was clear from the beginning, and I thought this may change, for me or for him. I didn’t want to face the reality.
But it didn’t.
The frustrations of ignoring what mattered to me
Besides, we also had a very different opinion on topics related to the relationship itself: trust, independence, mental load, etc.
Nevertheless, I closed my eyes. I thought that love was stronger and more important, but also because I considered this relationship as the pillar of my life, the most important thing. I thought I couldn’t exist without it.
I tried to adapt and tried to ignore what my mind was telling me, denying how I was feeling. It wasn’t sustainable of course. We had a lot of arguments and when we moved to Malta, it got more difficult.
I was working from home, I was emotionally already fragile, my self-esteem and confidence were low, and instead of opening up to new people, I closed myself even more.
My encounter with personal development: an eye-opener
During the time I was in London, I started to do some research about happiness. I was fed up with myself, feeling low. I thought I was the problem and I had to ‘fix’ myself.
This is how I started to read about positive psychology, personal development, mindset and something that truly changed my life (I don’t like this kind of drama statement, but in this case, it’s true):
‘I am the only person responsible for my own happiness.’
It was a wake-up call. All these years I thought I could be happy living the life of someone else, remaining in his shadow, denying, not even asking myself what I wanted, what were my dreams and desires.
Meanwhile, I was expecting that this person would make me happy. I was looking for happiness through my relationship, through the other person instead of looking within myself.
Of course, it didn’t work and it made me feel even more unhappy.
This is when I realised I had to do something and help myself to create and craft my own happiness.
Discovering what brought me joy
So for maybe the first time in my life, I asked myself: What do I like? What does make me happy?
There is this saying that there is no good answer only good questions, and what a thought-provoking one!
Answers didn’t come easily at first, but I explored and tried things.
For example, I started to buy myself flowers (daffodils) instead of waiting for someone to gift them to me (which never happened and created a lot of frustration).
I started to stop waiting and took action. If I wanted flowers, I could well gift them to myself because I was worth it.
Discovering my strengths
The more I listened to myself and got in touch with what I truly wanted and what made me truly happy, the bigger the gap between my ex and I widened.
I knew how it would end, but I wasn’t ready. I was too scared to be alone. I didn’t know what I would do, I didn’t know I could have the strength to build my life from scratch all over again.
In those moments, the one thing you lose sight of is the belief in yourself. And when you’ve been low for so long, you think you may not even survive the next hit; while it can actually be the best thing that could even happen to make you stand, make you rise again.
Long story short, we broke up, admitting that we had different views on too many important aspects of life and that ‘love’ wasn’t enough to maintain a healthy and nurturing relationship.
It took me a while to really find myself and to accept what I want to do and who I want to be.
The relationship was the starting point and I’m slowly but surely true to myself and closer to the life I want to live.
Self-discovery journey is painful but necessary
This experience was painful in many ways, but this lead me to realise that I had resources, that I could support myself, and didn’t need to rely on someone to be happy and simply live my own life.
This is something that I’ve already heard from some clients and people I met; the fear to lose the ones we love if we dare to be ourselves.
I won’t lie; this is exactly what I experienced, and it was necessary to find myself, but I also know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
No one knows and can predict the future, but you can act on and create it with what you do today.