After a heartbreak and a lot of setbacks, I had enough. I reached a point where I needed a break from everything to reconnect to my true self. I decided to reflect on what meaning I’d like to give to my existence.
I left everything behind: a new country I grew to like, a new job, home, and friends. I said, “I don’t feel like myself anymore; something has to change.”
Taking a step back, away from other people’s noise and the endless comparison to their lives, is crucial at times. It is astonishing how one can lose themselves in a certain way of life. You get influenced by the people around you, the way they talk or dress, or the social pressure to succeed and be wealthy by 30.
I became a sheep among the crowd and followed the leader like a brainless idiot. I felt anger, frustration, and resentment for months without understanding why. I worked without respite. I tried to fit in and make everyone like me, and I forgot who I was.
With the growing pressure of work, settling down, and what my newly expatriate status prevented me from achieving, I lost it. There are no other words. I did not recognize myself. I was another person that I did not like at all.
That’s when I started to isolate myself and feel what I now know is “burnout” or a “small depression.”
Call it what you want; it was my darkest hour so far, and I am fighting with all my strength to never return to that state of mind.
Sometimes you must go through the darkest night to find your strength. You are your sole savior. It is up to you to get through it. It is up to you to look within and realize you can. It is up to you to go and get what you want from life. Nobody is going to achieve your dreams but you.
Reflecting on the lows allows you to appreciate the highs in your life. Accept that you made mistakes or bad decisions. Learn and grow from it. Do not bury these emotions. They have a purpose. When it feels uncomfortable, there is usually a lesson there.
Imagine your emotions like the line on a heart rate monitor: if it’s flatlined, it means you’re not alive. If you settle too much into a routine, you settle for boredom. You’ll loathe yourself for it and the people around you. When this happens, you realize how vital it is to nourish your appetite for life.
Find out what matters to you. What set your soul on fire? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with? What do you want to be grateful for at the end of the day? How do you want to be remembered?
What kind of person do you want to be? A person who makes people suffer around them or does good for others?
You can be a better version of yourself every day. The decision is yours.
You can take a similar path to the people you admire. What did they do differently? Why are you frightened to walk this path? Decide what you want and what drives you. Do not let society dictate who you are and put you in a box.
Your job is not who you are. Your job pays the bills and gives you status. Then what? That’s all? Is that all there is to life? To work and earn money? Yes, it is important to have these foundations in place to have money to buy food, a warm place to live, and a bed to rest your head on at night. However, it is easy to let your job title define you and influence how you act.
If you dare to dig deeper and explore who you are as a living human being, you’ll find all the answers you’ve been looking for. Self-awareness is everything. It allows you to build solid long-term relationships, healthy boundaries, and love who you are.
Everything you do in your life should be from a place of love. This starting point is essential to your happiness. When you love yourself, your people, your work, your environment, your daily routine—and the special moments when you break that routine—you will be happy on your terms.
Write your own definition of happiness.