My year-long lesson in failure, success, & self love

Lifestyle, Personal

Yesterday I woke up to some brilliant news. My phone rang the moment I hopped out of bed; a moment of divine synchronicity. On the other end: a job offer!!!

It was the light at the end of a tunnel that had seemed to go on for a long time. You see, this is more than just a job offer to me.

For many people, a new job isn’t that hard to get. Even for me, a new job wasn’t that hard to get – it always only took a month or two. That is, until this year.

A lot of factors made it difficult:

I had voluntarily left my last job after 6 months due to an incredibly toxic culture.

I couldn’t/didn’t want to use a reference from said job, for many reasons.

I was seeking a job with specific criteria: Meaningful. On the North Shore. Part-time. (Surprise: meaningful + part-time are two things that don’t often go together.)

I was struggling with my mental health after what felt like six months of mental torture.

I hit the darkest depths of rock bottom, and the rest of the year was spent finding my way back – to come home to myself; to the authentic, naturally joyful person that I was before I had been tainted by the things that happened.

Here’s what became of this year – the year that’s made me a stronger, braver and ultimately happier person:

Getting over myself and putting myself out there (including charging for the value I bring), resulting in making income through several income streams instead of one

Using the enormous amounts of freedom I had to read, read, read – I’ve worked through so many books this year, mostly in spirituality, personal finance, and consciousness about the world we live in

Enlisting the help of of anti-depressants. I first took a pill everyday; then, half a pill everyday; then half a pill every other day; then… None, because I am capable of feeling the very emotion of happiness, naturally, again. (If a blog on my experience with anti-depressants would be helpful please let me know!)

Practising self-love and not defining myself by one thing. We’ve all heard of “You are not defined by your job” – the same can be said about your relationship status, your bank account, where you currently are in life, or your past failures.

A big lesson I learnt in particular:
If you are going to define yourself by ONE negative attribute you don’t like about yourself, or ONE setback you’ve had in life, you will drive yourself mad.

That is not fair to yourself. Respect yourself enough to see yourself for what you truly are. Look at yourself through lens of self love and compassion.

A close friend and I were discussing over brunch how we both made the mistake of defining ourselves with one thing. She defined herself as ‘a single person’ while I defined myself as ‘a failure’.

If we narrow-mindedly looked at one singular aspect of our lives, maybe. But neither of those were who we are.

Are we successful in our own ways? Absolutely. She is a successful doctor, a Christian who is a wonderful example of love, kindness & devotion, with many amazing true friends and a close family.

And I am.. Well, a lot of things (though I’ve never quite decided what to identify with.) A young homeowner. A fiancée to an amazing man. A photographer. A candlemaker. A passionate, educated person who was going through a temporary struggle – albeit that ‘temporary’ rough patch seemingly lasting forever. I seriously felt like I was cursed.

Well, the curse is over.

To celebrate the good news, my love got me beautiful, bright yellow sunflowers. I’d wanted some because they’re symbolic to me. Symbolic of wilting, falling, rooting, and rising – from Indian-Canadian poet Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers.

there is
nothing left
to worry about
the sun and her flowers are here.

I really wanted to share with you three poems that summarise this year for me – that they may inspire you too. From the days of depression where I couldn’t bring myself to do anything; to finding strength & courage, to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Throughout the journey, I kept wondering: “How?” How will I make it out of this?

I remember asking my partner: how does it feel? To go into work everyday, with a complete sense of security & stability, doing important work, in a healthy environment, surrounded by good people you like and get along with? (If you have this, you are very blessed.)

The answer to “How?” was: I had to take a detour.

Instead of leaving one job (that was meant to be a satisfying, meaningful job), then finding another, I used the time & freedom I had been given to do fulfilling volunteer work and a job I liked – but didn’t see as long term – as well as my own freelance work. My commitments filled up my soul (and bank account) as I continued towards my main goal.

Alongside my own spiritual journey, the job I pre-occupied myself with unexpectedly boosted my confidence significantly – mostly because it gave me a lot of autonomy & independence while at the same time, freedom from a highly stressful, toxic environment.

After a few months, I remember one day thinking, “I am nothing important. Yet I am so, so happy and my heart so full.”

I had come into my own – thanks to this year’s life lessons; the triumphs and adversities. I realised I was the only person who ever thought of myself as a failure in the first place. I was only hurting myself with my self-loathing. Success is and has always been there – I was just not seeing it.

“I am both the poison and the antidote”. A poem that still gives me goosebumps.

My sun and her flowers are here. And no matter who you are, where you are – I wish the same for you too.

The Sun and Her Flowers (1)

The Sun and Her Flowers (2)

The Sun and Her Flowers (3)

Love,

Sophia