“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.” ~Maya Angelou
My knees hit the pavement, unable to hold me up as I watched my entire life purpose drive away.
I had put my entire heart and soul into that relationship. I had sacrificed everything—my family, my friends, my career, my hobbies. And now I had nothing. What had gone wrong?
I lay there for a while, quite convinced that the pain and unhappiness was going to be the end of me. I wallowed in the misery of it all.
Then something touched my face. I brushed it away and opened my eyes.
A breeze had shaken loose dozens of leaves from the autumn tree above me. Scarlet and gold and sunset orange leaves were drifting down to me. Beyond them was the periwinkle blue sky with gigantic fluffy white clouds floating about.
I stared at the beauty around me. I had spent so long looking inward, criticizing myself, working to become better, to become enough for a person that had their own issues. And in doing so I had lost sight of just what a beautiful and amazing place the world could be.
Putting my life on hold for others wasn’t getting me anywhere. I was miserable, I was broke, and I was alone. Enough was enough.
Something was going to change, and in that moment I determined that what needed to change was me.
I was no longer going to shut myself away from the world. I was no longer going to ignore all the good things that were out there. From now on I would live a life of open eyes, a life of appreciation, a life of simplicity, a life of happiness.
In the following months I learned more about myself than I had in my entire lifetime, and in applying those lessons to my everyday life I became truly happy and deeply appreciative of the world around me. I also discovered the strength of the power within me.
Here is what I have learned:
No one will ever love you as much as you can love yourself.
If all you want is to be loved, you need to understand that no one will ever fulfill that feeling as much as if you wholly and completely loved yourself. Many of us have grown up with movies like Jerry Maguire that promise a perfect person who will complete you.
It may seem radical, but what if that person was you? What if you acted as your own true love? Choose love for yourself over the fear of being alone and realize your own power.
No one is worth sacrificing your values for.
We all sacrifice a certain part of ourselves for others, whether it’s deciding not to get a cat because your significant other is allergic, or getting up early every Saturday to drive your child to football practice. These sacrifices are a way of showing we care about another person’s happiness and well-being.
But anyone who cares about your own happiness and well-being with never ever want you to sacrifice your values. Our values are what define us as human beings. To deny them is to deny our very essence. Stay true to them and to yourself.
There is always something to be grateful for.
Just as in my darkest moment I saw how truly beautiful this world could be, so can you find something to appreciate.
Take time out every day to witness the wonders that exist not just around you but within you. From the way your body allows you to run and jump and dance and sing, to the sunshine and fresh fruit on a summer’s day.
If you take the time to notice it, life is really very wonderful.
Spending time alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely or bored.
When you spend time alone you learn more about yourself than you ever could in a crowded room.
By being alone you can determine your own likes and needs without any external influences. You can discover passions you never knew existed, and when you don’t have to worry about what other people will think you are able to pursue them wholeheartedly.
There is always something new waiting to be discovered. Seek it out and become your own best friend.
When you say no, you open yourself up to more meaningful yeses.
By being a people pleaser and saying yes to every opportunity that crossed your path, you may have thought you were doing yourself a favor—that people would appreciate you more. But without creating boundaries, you give people an opening to take advantage of your generous nature, and risk becoming burnt out and resentful.
Instead, learn the power of no. Take time out for yourself so that when you do say yes, it’s sincere and meaningful.
Change and grow a little each day.
No matter how much you feel you’ve lost yourself, you can always instigate change and rediscover who you truly are. It’s okay to start small. Try a new hobby, go on a holiday, do something you’ve always wanted to try. Expand gradually. Learn a little more each day.
By putting yourself first you can discover who you truly are and form an identity separate from any other person and unique to you.
By forming a loving, happy, confident base to work with, you teach others to respect you as a person. When you become a whole and complete individual it doesn’t matter what storms appear in your horizon; you will have the strength to weather them.
Photo by blob-fish