Finding yourself and your very own way

It has taken me ages to feel in sync with myself. I wish someone had told me when I was young how important it actually is to follow my heart and my dreams. To move forward regardlessly. To learn and develop, to try out things without being afraid to make a mistake, certainly not striving to be perfect. Life is about the journey – not about making the “right” decision each time.

Today I know that life is a journey and not a destination, the purpose being to learn as much as you can and then refine and fine-tune your path, finding your way, going left or right without being afraid. When I am looking at young girls today I feel the need to tell them exactly that. 

We get caught up so easily in what others might think of us, keeping up appearances or putting on a show, hiding who we really are. Afraid of showing our true self, being afraid of rejection and ridicule – of which we get a lot at school, which often shapes us impacting out adult lives. We all long for acceptance and belonging. 

And today, with all the social media circus around us, it is even harder to be yourself, especially when you are a girl. It takes courage, and a good backup at home from parents who acknowledge the importance of encouraging their children. Knowing that strength is about being true to yourself. That showing vulnerability is essential in finding your way forward into this very difficult and complex world. 

Life is hard in the face of adversity, but it is possible to get through it. Knowing the tools to use while being in the middle of the storm helps a lot. Thankfully, there are parents who have a lot of awareness about this, raising their children carefully and mindfully into strong, responsible, kind adults who are not afraid to speak their minds and stand up for themselves.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. (Albert Schweitzer)

My late aunt – my father’s sister who was my godmother – encouraged me a lot when I was a child, in a rather indirect way. She reassured me, offering me a safe place where I felt I could be myself from a very young age onwards, like a safe haven. She never said anything directly to me about what she perceived until when I was an adult, was never judgemental in any way. She just gave me her unconditional love and understanding, her support and kindness. She was a good role-model, patient and good-humoured. 

Looking back I understand more now. She was the good spirit in my life and she did a great job in raising me – albeit from a distance as we did not have the chance to meet very often. But spending time with her was always pleasant, it felt like an oasis of well-being. We were one of a kind and I felt very close to her. She inspired me in many ways. I owe to her my creativity, a lot of my interests, among them my love for nature. And above all, I owe to her the assuredness that I am me and have the right to be myself and to be accepted as I am. Whatever other people might think or say. 

That’s why I feel the need to give back, particularly to young girls and to younger colleagues. To tell them – in my own rather direct and straightforward manner – how important it is to be in sync with yourself, to find your own way and not to shy back from going wherever you feel the need to go because your heart tells you so. 

To experiment and not being scared of failure. To realize that making mistakes is part of the deal and not something to punish yourself for. To listen more to your heart than to other people’s opinions.That life is about a life-long learning process. Getting impulses fosters understanding and growth. I have learnt the same way and that helped me become who I am today.

Do what your feel in your heart is right. You’ll get criticized for it anyway.(Eleanor Roosevelt)

Everyone has to gain their very own experiences in life, of course. And some of us tend to make it harder on ourselves as it should be, but that is also a way of learning. 

Life is constantly changing. We have to walk our own path, not somebody else’s. Nothing is carved out for us – we have to go where no-one else did go before, step by step. When I was young, I did not think about that. I wanted to do what was “right”. Not straying left or right. 

Little did I know. That’s not what you learn at school – sadly, because that is what actually matters. It could help to push our boundaries, and to save young people from a lot of heartache and insecurities. A lot what we are suffering from is based on our own exaggerated expectations, something which we even might have taken over from our parents, without questioning. It’s pressure we needlessly put on ourselves. It is – as so often – the thoughts in our heads that are the root cause of our misery.

Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. (Albert Schweitzer)

The first time I really felt in sync with myself was at the age of 53. Well. You are never too old and it’s never too late. That I know for sure. Meanwhile.

Things take as long as they take and it’s different for everyone. No need to be sad or upset about it. There is always a reason why things take time, like a seed that needs to grow. Like we need to be ready for the next step. Let’s not forget: the grass does not grow faster because you pull at it, right?

For me, it translates directly into the question: what is our purpose in life – why are we here?

  • To learn – about ourselves.
  • To find freedom – to free our minds from the expectation of others. From our own notions of how we are supposed to be. 
  • To get clarity about what really matters and where our priorities need to be.

Isn’t it a fascinating journey we are on? We can grow as old as we want to – we are still learning, developing, changing our preferences and interests, discovering new insights and understanding more and more how it is all connected. 

I am waiting for the moment when I will realize how everything falls into place. Sometimes I feel like getting a hint of it, as if the clouds are lifting for a brief moment to show the sun or a small piece of blue sky. 

I have the feeling it will be amazing. 

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