“From Divorce to Pure Love and Happiness: 8 lessons on the way to my true self”
In this post, I want to walk you through my personal love story and all the lessons I have learnt on the way towards myself and my happy life. It was a hilly road but years after I realized that every single bump on that road was absolutely worth having and experiencing as without it I would never had such a joyful and happy life as I have now.
I was 23 when I got married first time. We had been dating since we were 18 and it simply made sense to get married after 5 years of dating and because “it was kind of necessary and important” to be married by 25.
Married life was ok in the beginning. 6 years slowly passed. I was working for a mid-size investment consultancy, got new friends, and travelled quite a bit with my husband. On the surface, it was all good and according to some friends, I had a “perfect” life.
The only problem was that I did not feel happy. I have been living a very ordinary, routine life (work-home-discuss routine topics with my husband). I got very bored, lost all the energy I had (and trust me, I am VERY energetic by nature) and was completely demotivated. All my attempts to attend some seminars to maybe find the answers about what was going on with my life failed, as my husband considered that to be a waste of money and time.
In that period my husband started an affair with his colleague. She was very determined to get a husband for herself. She was tired of being single. She succeeded. It was a very difficult time for me. I was completely lost. I did not know what I wanted in life, who I was, what was important to me. I was depressed and got a nervous breakdown.
As they say, in order to change your life dramatically, you really need to hit the rock-bottom, which I did. The beauty of that is that there is absolutely nothing else to loose. I lost everything I had –husband, house, financial stability, my self-esteem, confidence, dignity, self-respect and most of the friends (they were his friends). The only way to fix all this mess was to start doing something and I did.
I did a lot of research about happiness and what to do to be happy. It was all very generic and overwhelming. I decided it is better to start making small steps rather than read non-stop and do nothing with it. I started with attending numerous seminars and trainings, watched webinars about all possible happiness-related topics (self-love, self-respect, etc) and went to different retreats, discovered yoga and meditation.
However, I thought that all of this is nothing if I did not have a man next to me, who can support me, love me, marry me and be with me. I thought it was very logical and normal given that I was over 30 and “the time was ticking”.
I set up the goal to find a man and better do that fast. I registered on lots of online dating sites, started going on dates few times a week, feeling happy that I was so active and that very soon with this determination I would find a good guy. I was very pleased with how busy and exciting my life was.
My dating experience varied a lot. Some men treated me really well, but they did not want to have serious relationships as they “were not ready for that”. Some men treated me not well, not turning up for dates, not keeping promises. My longest relationship was with a man who thought that I was too perfect for him, like a saint. He felt very weird and flawed with me. To cut it short, all men were sooner or later, slowly or quickly disappearing from my life and no one stuck around.
I spent all those years on working and OVER working, stressing about this or that, living in my head and thoughts, being super busy, trying to be someone the world wanted me to be. I became completely exhausted and disconnected from myself, my dreams, my passions, my feelings, the present moment, the joy and beauty around. I had very low confidence. I was insecure, needy and yearned for external validation. I needed the world and other people to like me, accept me and love me because I was terrified of judgment, criticism and rejections. I became obsessed with becoming everything I thought they wanted me to be. I tried to look perfect, be perfect and behave perfectly. I tried to fit into society and be like everyone else. I lost myself completely in becoming someone I am not.
And this went on for quite a while until I could not take it anymore and then something in me just clicked, I called it a “wake-up moment”. I realized that I was sick of being lost and confused, tired of this underlying sense of anxiety because I felt there was something missing, like there was more to who I was, like there was a deeper reason of why I was there. I was tired of hearing people say “this is just how life is; it is hard and stressful, just accept it”. Somehow all that did not sit well with me because I knew there was MORE.
It took quite a bit of self-reflection, self-awareness, self-discovery, self-love (GRFL course of Project love helped a lot there!) and introspective work to get to a point where I knew myself so much that when other people tried to define me, I did not care anymore. I just knew my truth and I knew very well that they did not. I felt so grounded and so sure about who I was that nothing else mattered to me that much. Of course, I was still sensitive to rejections and judgment, but it did not hit me as hard, the effects did not last as long and I did not let it define or control my choices in life.
I was waking up every morning with a sense of peace and calm, felling excited to start my day, feeling confident in who I was, having a sense of purpose. I felt like I was living an empowered life when I have the strength, courage and energy to make positive changes in my life, and go after my dreams. I stopped holding myself back with self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors. I felt proud of who I was. I felt free and I owned who I was, owned what I wanted, owned my dreams and desires. I started living full and happy life.
And only then everything in my love life started to shift too. Everything changed and it happened naturally and effortlessly. I registered to just one website. I spent there just two hours per week (those were my boundaries, in line with my new found sense of self-love). I met just one man from that website who proposed to me just 5 months after, bought us a house of my dreams and organized for us two dream weddings in London and Mallorca 9 months later. Our love story is very natural and easy, our love is pure and unconditional, there is no effort, no issues… because what we only need to do to make this work–just be WHO WE ARE.
To summarize, I want to share my TOP 8 Lessons on the way to my true self:
1. Accept responsibility for your life. It is so much easier to blame others for what you have in life but when you honestly accept that your life is only YOUR RESPSONSIBILITY, then you will start making small steps towards your dreams rather than sit and wait until you will become happy.
2. Happiness is a CHOICE, the choice YOU make. Happiness is inside of you, it is not all those external things that when obtained will make you happy.
3. Love and appreciate what you have, rather that focus on what you do not have.
4. Journaling is an extremely powerful tool to get to know yourself better, connect with your emotions, and write down your dreams and your worries. Studies show that journaling helps you focus, release emotions and let go of things that are bothering you, increases your creativity and boosts your memory. Even if it is only 10 minutes a day, it will really help you to know yourself much better.
5. Make self-love your priority. This is absolutely crucial. When you have self-love, you know when to say “No” to people or activities (i.e. set your boundaries), you eat healthy, you exercise, you relax when you feel tired, you always have FREE time in your diary when you do not plan anything and just go with the flow, you know when to just stop and “be”, and you are definitely not hectically busy.
6. Be Patient. Changes in your life do not happen over night, they take time and effort. I have learnt that things usually happen when you are ready to take them in, when the time is right. So just trust the process and enjoy your journey.
7. Choose good enough not perfect. Nobody is perfect. Being perfect is like being a robot. Perfect is boring. Most beautiful things in the world are flawed. It is the flows that make something unique and beautiful. Knowing this gave me such a freedom, freedom to be myself, to say whatever I wanted. I just knew that even “silly things” would make sense for the right person who will be with me no matter what.
8. Slow down when you feel that you are unhappy. You may think that the faster you do things towards your goal (the more you date, the more you do at work to succeed), the faster you will achieve your goal. Paradoxically, the faster you move, the slower you go. The main reason is that you are acting out of FEAR (fear of being alone, time is ticking, fear of being not good enough, etc). When you slow down and focus your full attention on getting in touch with your authentic self and your deep desires, then meeting your man or transforming your life will be faster, more natural and easier. Slowing down is about getting out of your head, getting into a relaxed state of mind and becoming aware of what is going on inside of you.
All in all, when you are authentic, it will probably make some men disappear from your life, but the right man will stay, no matter what you do and say, he will just stick around and love you for being you. Trying to be perfect, being a “good girl” or whatever you want to be not only requires lots of energy and time, it moves you away from your happy life.
So don’t waste your precious time on being who you are not. Focus on discovering who you truly are. This is the only way to be happy and fulfilled in all areas of your life.
Focus more on “being”, not “doing”. In the end of the day, we are “human-beings”, not “human-doings”.
About Irina SanLo:
A playful, positive and inspirational professional coach/NLP Practitioner/banking senior executive committed to supporting busy women through their journey of self-discovery back to love, joy and happiness. Irina has dedicated past 5 years working with busy women to discover how extraordinary they are, to have them know their resourcefulness and inner power, reconnect with themselves and find love and joy in everyday life. She has been empowering women around the world to slow down and become in love with their lives AGAIN!