Throw it at me life, I’ve got this.
When you think about monumental events that change one’s life path permanently, there’s a multitude of things that come to mind, but typically they revolve around acquiring something new while losing something old (and often treasured).
It’s been a year. It’s been a gut-wrenching, heart-bursting, soul-shattering 12 months that at one time, I didn’t know how I would get through. I lost something very dear to my heart, but in doing so, I gained me back.
It didn’t feel that way at first. Life shifted on me, and it hurt.
I was madly in love with someone who lit my world on fire. And then, over time, together, we burned that world straight to the ground. When we first met, we mirrored the light we saw in one another. He called me his sunshine, and he made my soul shine.
That became the problem. We so closely reflected what we saw in the other, that when the darkness started to come through, there was no holding each other afloat, and the ship went down. I lost myself long before we parted, and I couldn’t accept for the longest time, that I had changed too.
Slowly, I began to find myself again. Who we find within ourselves evolves and changes over a lifetime. I unearthed the beginnings of a new (and improved) me, and let me tell you, the heartache and the results were hard-won.
Every painful lesson I’ve encountered on the most recent journey of the new me has been an integral part of what I am discovering about myself. And now I can’t wait to see what is coming up next.
Here are four crucial things to remember when you are in the process of finding yourself again:
1. If you feel like you can’t do it alone, don’t.
After a month of sitting on the bottom of the hole I fell into, I realized I needed to take control of this before it took complete control of me. I contacted a therapist.
Put the stigma aside, and hear me out: talking out your problems with someone who has no personal tie to the person who has rocked your world (in the best and worst ways), whether through you or someone or something else, is the clearest path to untying the knots. An objective listener can gently guide you toward the realizations about the part you personally play in the dominoes falling (even if it’s just understanding why it hurts so damn bad). My therapist let me cry, yell, swear, bitch, moan and come full circle all by myself many, many times.
The answers are usually within you, you just need a neutral, supportive platform to bring them out.
2. There are people who love you. Find them and love them back.
You cannot change people. It’s hard to hear, but I’ll say it again: You cannot change people.
You cannot make them want you, love you, treat you with respect or choose you. That is on them. The moment I fully accepted that into my heart is the moment I felt another shift in how I perceived various relationships. That being said, there are so many wonderful people who do choose you, who do love you and who do treat you with respect and fill your cup. Find them and gift it right back. Hugs are free and smiles are worth gold. Hand those out every day, and the love you give will come back tenfold.
3. Give yourself the gift of stillness.
I know, sitting alone with no distraction is absolutely terrifying when you feel like your world is broken. But allowing your entire being to focus on you, and only you, is a tremendous gift you can give yourself. Turn the TV off, put your phone down, lay down or sit on a pillow and focus on your breathing. Even five minutes a day will do amazing things. I’ve found meditation to be an incredible natural anxiety reliever.
4. Be bold and grab opportunity with both hands.
If opportunity is knocking, answer the door.
In the midst of a love affair with elephant journal and while holding on to a silent dream of writing, I came across an article about their apprenticeship program and decided to apply. I can’t imagine where I would be mentally and spiritually if I hadn’t. I have become friends with incredible women from around the world. I have learned how to bring myself back to the present moment faster and easier than ever before, and I’ve gained confidence in following my passions and dreams. Nothing seems impossible. What is calling you? Put the fear of the unknown aside and just do it!
Life shifts your perspective on things, and that is okay. This is why we are constantly changing and evolving as people. I’ve been many different people in my life, but never the same person twice.
Things in life will change with no explanation given. When life shifts on you, shift with it. Face it, embrace it and have faith that the next step is the right step, and what is meant to be, will be.
You’ve got this.
Author: Leah Wallin
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Images: Trevor Johnson