“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein
For a very long time, I looked at my past with shame, guilt, resentment and regret, thinking that many of the things that happened to me in the past shouldn’t have happened, thinking that life treated me unkindly and that I was nothing but a victim of my past and a victim of life.
I did my best to hide all my skeletons in the closet, to pretend as if I had no wounds that needed healing and to act as if none of the horrible things that happened to me in the past had an impact on me. I honestly believed that if I looked somewhere else long enough and if I ignored the sadness that was present within me, the darkness will eventually go away and the light will shine through me and on me once again. But it didn’t.
I grew up with an abusive and alcoholic father and me never really knew how it felt like to be loved and nourished by your own parents. From a very early age, I have learned to put on a happy face and to pretend that everything was okay in my world, to pretend I was okay.
I never really spoke with anyone about what was happening in our home. I guess didn’t want people to ask me all kind of weird questions and give me the pity look, even though they still did. It was hard enough for me to cope with everything that was happening and I guess didn’t have any energy left to talk about all of those horrible experiences. I didn’t want to relive the trauma all over again. I wanted to forget about it all and hoping that by doing so it will never happen again, but it did.
I was just a little kid, and that was my way of coping with what was happening in our home, helping me to survive through it all, helping me to deal with my father’s madness and brutality and helping me to stay sane in an insane environment.
This type of behavior and approach to life helped me a lot when I was a little girl, but after my father died, because I was no longer in danger, it would’ve been healthier for me to let my guard down, get out of the protecting mode and go into the safe and healing mode, by talking about what happened and allowing the healing process to begin, but I didn’t. I didn’t know how to do that and as a result, I continued to act as if I was still a prisoner of my past. I continued to be ashamed of my past, ashamed that I was physically abused by my own father and ashamed that I was deprived of love, nourishment and a happy childhood, ashamed that my life was “different”.
“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
And I continued to create my life from that place. I continued to create my life with the broken pieces of the past, inflicting a lot of unnecessary pain upon myself and those around me, making my life a living hell.
Things got worse and worse as years went by and in the fall of 2009, my whole life started to collapse. I began to fall apart, piece by piece and I honestly thought that I will never be able to pull myself together ever again and what seemed at that time like the worst year of my life, it, later on, turned out to be the best year of my life, so far.
I won’t go into details on what happened that fall as I am sharing all of these things in my book but I can guarantee you that its worth the wait.
How I Turned My Wounds into Wisdom and My Difficulties into OpportunitiesT
That fall, because of everything that was happening and because I felt that I couldn’t take it any longer, I made a commitment to myself to work on loving accepting and loving all my flaws and imperfections and to spend the rest of my life on turning my wounds into wisdom, allowing my past to make me better not bitter. I made a promise to myself to make the best out of every experience life will send my way, whether good or bad and to make the rest of my life the best of my life.
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
And just like that, I began working on letting go of my past, my fears, and excuses, the need to complain, criticize, label and blame. I began letting go of all my toxic thoughts and self-defeating self-talk, my resistance to change, the need to live my life according to other people’s expectations and many of the toxic things, behaviors and people that were holding back in life and it was all happening at a such a rapid speed.
That fall, it honestly felt as if something in me awakened, as if a force bigger and more powerful than me took over my life, making sure that I was safe and protected at all times.
And the more I began letting go of toxic thoughts, people and behaviors, the better my life seemed to get and the happier I became.
“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!” ~ Steve Maraboli
If for a very long time I looked at my past with shame, guilt, resentment and humiliation, the moment I decided to embrace and accept everything that happened to me, to no longer run and hide from it… the moment I decided to forgive, release and let go of everything that happened, my whole life began to shift.
What once seemed dark, scary and painful was now becoming something full of light, hope, love and compassion… a blessing in disguise.
I wrote the 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy based on everything that happened, based on my own life experience and based on all of the things that I had to give up on in order to move on with my life and become the person that I am today.
With over 1.3 Million Facebook Shares, this article ended up becoming the most viral personal growth article in the history of the Internet, opening so many doors and opportunities for me, giving me the chance to speak and share my story at AwesomnessFest in front of 350 people and to share the stage with people like Lisa Nichols from The Secret, Vishen Lakhiani, founder and CEO of Mindvalley, Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, author of the best-selling book The Power of Self-Healing and many others.
“So don’t be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don’t know what work they are accomplishing within you?” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
So why should I complain?
Why should I be mad about something that happened to me in the past when I can just build a foundation with all the bricks that were thrown at me and create something that will inspire and empower people from around the world to do the same?
Why should I cry over what happened, judge, blame, criticize and complain about what happened when I could focus all my energy on turning my wounds into wisdom and my difficulties into opportunities?
I agree with Eckhart Tolle 100%, that “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
No matter where you’ve been, no matter how badly life treated up until this moment, there is always a way out… and the way out is always in.
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ Carl Jung
It all starts with you! It starts with a commitment to yourself, a promise to honor yourself and your life and to make it a work of art. To give up on all the pointless drama, all the toxic relationships, thoughts and behaviors that are present in your life and to shift your focus from the bad on to the good, trusting by doing so your whole life will be transformed.
It’s true what they say, the way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart. Your salvation will not come from out there but from inside of you because just like Buddha said it,
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
Do you agree that life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness or do you think that some people are more fortunate than others and as a result, they end up having better and happier lives? I really want to know what are your thoughts on this. You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below