Grit & Flexibility

  1.  small, loose particles of stone or sand.
    “she had a bit of grit in her eye”
    2. courage and resolve; strength of character.
“he displayed the true grit of the navy pilot”
synonyms: courage, bravery, pluck, mettle, backbone, spirit, strength of character, strength of will, moral fiber, steel, nerve, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, resolution,determination, tenacity, perseverance, endurance; More


Grit is an interesting personality trait. Some self-help experts have defined grit as the top singular quality that takes an individual to succeed. Most well known, highly successful people have this quality. The concept of grit has been prominent since ancient times. Aristotle qualified grit as a virtue.

Individuals who have grit focus on accomplishing a set goal, and the focus is less about whether they are equipped to do so. External factors affect the process, but it does not affect this powerful mental state. It is about keeping the eye on the prize. There are many failures and obstacles that get in the way. Grit is a combination of perseverance with powerful motivation that pushes one through.

Over time, in my personal story, I learned that grit was not enough. I found an extremely valuable piece that I did not see it as part of this equation. Under utilizing this quality prevented me from getting to my goal. This piece is called flexibility.

Like many people whose focus is working hard, I lacked flexibility. It had to be the way that I saw it come true, or it was not going to happen. Lack of flexibility creates many setbacks. This means that the quality of grit, which just pushes through setbacks, can ironically cause failures and delays at the same time. Flexibility is the piece that solves this issue.

Many life events are unpredictable, as well as being uncontrollable. In order to match that unpredictability, we must flow like water. We must embrace the obstacles, and not only focus on trying to break through. If the obstacle is so large and so powerful, having only grit will be ineffective. If the obstacle is a stone mountain, it is more effective to flow around it, or take a detour path, rather than try to puncture a tunnel through it. Developing a flexible mind is extremely difficult. It is not knowledge based. It is not strength based. It is ultimately one of the most sophisticated human qualities. It requires a certain mind state of being relaxed and assured, but never losing focus. To become flexible, we must imagine ourselves become water. It is powerful, yet fluid, and it can mold into any shape. It flows around obstacles. It can change its form into steam or ice, while its quality always remain to be the same. We can adopt this quality. We can never lose focus,  never change the goal. Change for the purpose of flexibility is purely physical.

I would like to propose another definition to what makes a successful achiever. That formula is GRIT + FLEXIBILITY.


How Do I Get There?

You don’t need to know HOW.

Do you have a running list of goals in your mind? Do you keep them in your head?

If you have a goal, and you truly want it to come true, you need to write it down. Make it visual. Buy a poster size paper and print out pictures of the places you want to visit. Write down all the things you want to achieve in the next three years, five years, ten years. If you are ambitious, don’t be scared to go big. If your dream is something as simple as getting married and having a family, write down the type of person you want. Write down how life will be for you. Write all the qualities this person will possess. You will become the person who attracts the person you want.

Have confidence in your abilities. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, who make you feel uplifted and motivated. Surround yourself with people who are also driven to achieve.

I have been practising this for some time. My biggest positive changes have been the successes that prove that we achieve what we focus on. Here is a very personal example.

As humans, we seek pattern. It is a survival instinct to go for the familiar, because there will not be new surprises that could potentially be dangerous. The downside of this wonderful survival mechanism is, if the pattern has been negative in the past, we may seek this pattern again. I noticed it in my continuous choice of men. I somehow sought men who often made me feel terrible, or did not live up to my expectations, due to issues in my original family. We have no choice what type of family we are born into. It is hard to recognize, but we have all the power to give ourselves the life we deserve and want. Once we truly believe and own this piece, the journey becomes easier.

The long-term relationship that gave me two precious children had changed my personality for the worst. Living with someone negative and controlling for eight years had dampened my naturally positive, vibrant, outgoing nature. One day, I looked in my high school yearbook, which I had tucked away for so long. Many friends who signed it commented on how happy and cheery I always was, no matter what I was going through. This made me cry, as it was no longer true, but the reminder made me seek change. It took me years to get back into my natural state. I had almost forgotten that I used to feel this positive and vibrant most of the times.

During the times when my relationship got especially abusive, I started to dream. I started to write down goals relating to independence. It always included my children. I had no idea how I was going to afford it as a single parent of a baby and a toddler, at 28 years-old, and without a career to go back to. I was full of fear. It took me time to actually act on it. The negative situation had to push me to a certain point. I did all this without family help. Without close friends I could confide in. I had no guidance, except for some advise from a local women’s centre. At the time, it was all based on intuition and gut feeling. Many people around me assumed that I might fail in this mission. They asked me if I was going to go back to him. People I thought of as friends passed judgment, telling me that I did not deserve the apartment I rented, because a single mom should not be able to afford it. I could not believe this, as it was far from being a luxurious place. Some people just disappeared, as I was going through hard times. I also had to let go of many people. It has been four years, and I have never been better. My mental state is set on the prize. The prize changes for something bigger every year, or every time I achieve some of the goals. Setting goals and meeting success has helped me gain true confidence and strength. I am continuously growing. My bright personality securely regained its position  inside my being.


Above photo: I like to run, and I found this graffiti one day, while I was running on a cold, rainy fall evening.

Trust your gut feelings. Do not be influenced nor induced by fear. You do not need to know how you will get there. Focus on the goal. Focus on the prize. Once your eyes are fixated on the prize, your body will move towards achieving that goal. Much like when we are walking or running, we look the direction we are moving towards.  Focusing on a future goal, the ultimate price of the next few years, draws our mental state towards that goal. We make daily choices based on where we want to go. The “HOW” is not important. It will always be unknown until we get there.

I have an amazing piece that I meditate to. If you are surrounded by negative people or a negative situation, create yourself a mental sanctuary where you can focus on where you want to be. There are many free books, blogs, and media materials where you can find support. This one helps me a lot. It helped me through a huge career change. Some of the greatest takeaway for me in this meditative piece are: 1. The power of breathing.  2.You don’t have to know how to get there. 3. Be clear, focus, and visualize on what you want. 4. Get used to the feeling of success and achieving the goal. 5. Opportunity never runs out. Ask and accept.

I hope this helps you as much it continues to help me.

How To Manifest Anything In Your Life

If you are so new to this and are skeptical, or if it seems just too overwhelming to think of something grand, then try something small. Focus on a small prize, like getting a free coffee. It will suddenly appear in front of you once you start to focus on it. Even before I found this meditation piece, and even before I knew that there are many resources supporting this pattern of thinking and achieving, my gut told me to try it out, after seeing patterns of occurrences. So I tried. One of my larger case test in this theory, after succeeding in many small cases, was winning an iPad many years ago. I wanted one so badly. I thought it would be fun for my kids. At the time, I was working retail, so I did not want to spend the money. A few weeks later, the store I was working at released a contest. The grand prize was an iPad Mini. The draw was not purely based on luck. We had to first qualify as a store by selling a set amount of a brand of jeans. Then, it was a draw based on every staff member in all qualifying stores. I remember selling nine pairs of these jeans on one Saturday. My store qualified after almost 40 pairs in two weeks. Then, there was a draw between at least five stores. I won this contest. Here is a picture I took of it.


Dream up and achieve whatever you want!




Be Love

An event inspired me to write this week’s blog. It is interesting to note that we react to certain information via a fully loaded perspective, from past experiences, ideals and views we hold, and subconsciously and consciously recognizing patterns in our daily lives. Then, we come across something that completely sums up a perspective, which until that moment, were bits and pieces floating in our brain space. On social media, someone posted this image, and seeing it immediately triggered millions of senses in my body that culminated in realizing my purpose in life: Be love.


The “Don’t look for love” portion gently sums up the lessons I have been actively learning for the past four years. Ever since I became a single parent, it required me to do extensive work on self. Questions regularly bombarded my conscious, such as, “What were my dreams before this happened?” “How did I get here?” “What is the purpose of this experience?” What is always evident and true is that we invite experiences. We invite people in our lives when we tolerate certain characters. Entering an unhealthy relationship and staying in it for many years meant that my character at the time tolerated, or even sought, habits or characteristics that are familiar, which provides a false sense of comfort. I was raised by a war veteran, who grew up in a brutal war as a child as well, who never got treatment for PTSD. As a result, he was unable to be love. As a child, I moved across multiple continents, and had to adapt to two foreign languages and immersed into new cultures every few years. It was hard for me to be grounded. It was hard to fit in, when we changed schools from a every few months to a year or two. I didn’t have enough time in one location to root myself to develop a solid identity. When I became an adult, I was still just a child who needed comfort. I just needed SOMEONE who showed consistency and security. With what I knew then, this was the best I could do.

Something in my character, my habits, and my mental state, led me to be in an extraordinarily unhealthy, degrading relationship. I contributed to that. When my requirement was sorely based on belonging and comfort, it is easy to invite people who do not mean well, nor see our potential. They may not really care to see us for the way we are. They have their own agenda in the relationship. It is not mutual nor reciprocal. It is easy to take on people without truly thinking through what their intentions are. Why do they want to be my friend, or be my lover or partner? That piece is extremely hard to reconcile with, given that this failure involved two young children, with the potential to affect their self-esteem, their socioeconomic status, and as history can repeat itself, their own version of failures. As a loving parent, that burden is extremely hard to reconcile with.

Fortunately, I have met people in my life who have shown me glimpses of my potential throughout. They truly loved me and saw me the way I was. These relationships saved me, no matter how sporadic or short,  because the brain is remarkable at recording positive experiences. Even when my conscious is grasping to the immediately gratifying relationships, which I define as candy, deep inside, I always understood the memories of people who were true rocks in my life. From that, I was able to draw the initial strength to change, and continue to work on my inner development for the pursuit of finding my true potential and happiness.

It has been four years since I started to face myself, which is a difficult task to start, but I learned the biggest lesson. “Don’t look for love. Be love.” I realized that this sums up who I always wanted to become. If we externally look for love, we may never find it. The state that we are in may not be inviting those who we seek. Relying on other people for love and comfort is putting oneself in an extremely vulnerable and dangerous position. It is setting up for failure and disappointment. To become fully secure to face whomever and whatever circumstances, we must be the love. In order to do that, we must let go of judgments. I am thankful to have had my children. Each one of them came into my life, and taught me to “Be love.” It was impossible not to love them. In practising such powerful love day and night, I had a revelation where for the first time, I learned to love myself. It changed my whole outlook on friendships and other relationships, and strengthened some of my core values, which  revolves around loving my family and making them a priority.

It is a continuous journey. The hardest part is to let go of judgment, to never let assumptions crowd the mind. Old habits and thought patterns are extremely difficult to change, as good habits require consistent repetition for an extended period of time, in order to create new sensory paths in the brain. In order to work on myself and focus on my young family, I purposefully stayed single. I dated one person in four years, and that relationship dissolved within six months. This experience gave me a renewed perspective on where I was in my personal growth. I was staying single because I knew that I needed to focus on self. However, in this relationship, I saw my old habits of still letting in and tolerating certain things that I knew that in regular circumstances, I wouldn’t allow. I was still seeking comfort, even when it was not the right condition. The break-up was difficult, as any break-up. It was a test where it reminded me of my vulnerability. That experience helped me get back on track with my habits of being the love I seek, becoming a self-sufficient, lush fountain that pours out love, and not expecting to find it from an external resource. I have all the love I need here: right within me.





One of my rituals is working out. No matter how busy I get, I have to do it. I used to run outside, a few times a week. I ran a few half-marathons. I really enjoy them. Physical exercise helps us clear our minds and releases endorphin, which makes us feel good. Most people already know this fact.

After running on my own for a few years, I decided to change things up. I joined Orangetheory Fitness in my neighbourhood, in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. It is a group fitness training class that provides an intensive, comprehensive, full body workout in one hour. It works for me because it is a very goal oriented program. Success is measurable and tangible, with the help of a heart rate monitor. The results show on the big screen during the whole workout, and being in a certain heart rate zone collects points. I love points!

I really needed this change, and I celebrate it every time. Running on my own has become too much of a mundane habit. It was not giving me the results of interval training. It was also too easy to neglect certain muscle groups. Overall, it got to a point where it became inefficient for my purposes. For how much I was running, the results were not as substantial as it could be. Being a busy parent of two young, very active kids with full lives, running also lacked time efficiency.

The reason why I focus so  much on exercise during my week is not just for mental and physical fitness. Physical strength can be used as a leverage to create mental strength. Being at my gym pushes me just a bit harder than what I think I can give. It makes me run as hard as I can until my coach says so, even when the rest of my body and mind is screaming inside, wanting to stop. Being in a group, following a program, rather than being out on my own, creates accountability. I also finally got around to making weights a routine, which is often neglected in runners. I love that it creates challenges to accomplish each day, feeling the burn and shakes in my muscles, while rowing so hard that my hands are full of calluses… it can hardly sounds like fun, but it really is!

I celebrate the muscle aches and calluses, because it reminds me of my success that I overcame at that moment when I wanted to stop or slow down. Being able to make small accomplishments every day that look just like this really helps me to deal with other parallel challenges in my personal and work life. No matter how much a goal seems unreachable and daunting, such as making six-figures, I know that I can pound through this and get there. It helps me stay goal oriented in all aspects of my life. Many successful people are disciplined, and many times, they build their successful habits from outside of their chosen field. The habits they build in other activities often become their foundation.

My time at the gym sets my pace for the rest of the week. It sets my mental state. I feel positive and powerful. I helps me handle rejections and complaints, and deal with other negative energies coming my way. I just keep putting one foot in front of another. I can accomplish anything.


Left: My name written at my gym for a challenge.

Right: Results from last Saturday. I like the 666 caloric burn. Also, like I said, I like getting points.


Every day that I spend at the gym, I find myself feeling so thankful for that day’s exercise. It is always a part of my gratefulness routine at night. The mind and body becomes one, much like in meditation. Mindfulness helps me put one foot in front of another. Gratefulness propels my day to day in finding and building strength.




Three Grateful Things

The “Three Grateful Things” is a ritual that ends our day, in my family. We also often meditate together, and it has a similar effect. In the evening, before falling asleep, the three of us, which includes myself, my seven year-old, and my four year-old, we gather together in bed to share three grateful things that happened to us during the day. Sometimes, it also includes things or people we would like to honour.

When we first started this exercise, it was tough for some of us. We take many things for granted. Some of the things we take for granted are our meals, warm bath or shower, shelter, a comfortable bed, a loving family, a caring person in our life, having a daycare and school full of wonderful teachers and friends… the list is ongoing.

We have gotten so good at the grateful things. Most nights, the grateful list does not end at three things. Three is always the minimum. We must list three things even when we are extremely exhausted. Each child usually states more than ten things, easily. Then it becomes an argument of one child taking too long, and the other one having to wait. It becomes a great opportunity to remind each other that we must be grateful for having a sibling, and being able to share the gratefulness moment together.

The most common grateful things have a trend. It usually is the big event that happened that day, as well as the basic things, such as food, water, shelter, safety, home, love, and family. Also, there has been another noticeable trend to be “grateful for this moment together.”

Over time, I observe an amazing change through this simple exercise. The children and I feel, and have become, more grounded. We value and appreciate things more. We feel more bonded. We sense even more overwhelming sense of care and love for each other. Our lives in general have improved dramatically. We feel less intimidated by challenge.

During the school year, my son had some trouble with a boy in his class who was often rude to him. The worst part of this issue was that it was unpredictable. Sometimes, this boy was regular in his behaviour, then suddenly, while everyone is getting along, he would say something extremely hurtful to some of the children. My son was very affected, especially because in his upbringing, nobody ever made him feel the way this boy does. One particular night after experiencing this hurt, my son told me that he had such a horrible day that he could not think of one thing to be grateful for. I guided him to be grateful for all the basic things. We started with food, water, shelter, home, family, love. Then it became easier. It helped my son emotionally cope with this extremely negative experience. Its soothing effect became an effective coping strategy.

I continue to witness the positive and exponentially powerful effect of the gratefulness exercise. It does not take long. As long as the consistency of doing it daily is met, it is very easy. For such a relatively easy and quick exercise that does not require much time, it has a compounding effect in creating a positive mental and emotional balance. It helps us deal with the difficult daily challenges.

Recently a friend, who I have lost touch for about 10  years, reconnected. We shared our life story. At the end of the conversation, she said, “How do you do it all?” She was referring to meeting the daily challenges and difficulties of a single working mother with two young children. My answer to that question was, “I just do it.” To expand on that answer, there were many moments where I could not keep it together. The gratefulness exercise was a small change I made. I make sure we do it every day. Its soothing and uplifting benefit showed immediately. Ongoing, its power helps us achieve success in our every day challenges.

I am grateful to have shared this story in this blog with you. I am truly grateful.


Lost and Found

My greatest fear before having my first child was that I was going to lose myself to the responsibility of becoming a mother. I clearly remember saying this at my baby shower, to a crowd of single women, a man, and some mothers. Perhaps those mothers wanted to tell me otherwise. However, motherhood is a metamorphosis that we truly have to experience for ourselves. Nobody becomes a mother, and continues to be the same person they were. Nobody can tell us what that will be like. Each experience is singular, and far from predictable.

Metamorphosis: a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.

My predictions of not wanting to lose myself turned out to be wrong. I actually ended up finding myself.

I have always been a dreamer. I enjoyed imagining that one day, I will go places. One day, I will become so amazing, and accomplish so much. These are vague ideas. As a child, I saw myself as a caterpillar, waiting for myself to transform into a butterfly. I was waiting for my moment, not knowing how to really get there. I did not have an idea of what that would look like. I did not know what my purpose was.

I was correct about being a caterpillar. What I did not know was through what means that metamorphosis was going to hit me. When I became pregnant, I was sure that I had to put that large assignment on hold. I had to make sure that I do not ever let go of that dream, no matter what happens. I had to make sure that I was not going to lose myself. Little did I know, that this very event was the precursor of that metamorphosis that I had been waiting for. What I was unaware of was that this process involves many years and stages of change, uncertainty, and varying degrees of difficulty. It is not done so simply, as when we imagine metamorphosis as something so natural. Being in the process, it can feel extremely unnatural. Most creatures resist big changes. It is a survival instinct.



Motherhood equalled challenge. It was continuous doubt. Any issue that had not resolved prior to coming into it became severely amplified. Many of beliefs I held, and was absolutely sure about previously, became tested. My new baby boy started to teach me how to love myself as I love him, because if I harmed myself, it harmed him. I had to let go of bad habits. He reflected however I felt, and my actions directly affected him. I had to change my negative thought processes. When nursing, what I ate would help him thrive, or give him an upset stomach. I had to pay attention to what I was putting in my body. He was showing me to make decisions based love, for myself and for him, and not based on what others expected of me. These lessons became even more prominent when I had my daughter. She taught me to trust my instincts, which was one of the most important lessons. She taught me to listen to myself, to be kind and soothing to us, and to myself. It was as if I had a second opportunity to be born again, where I had the chance to let go of unhealthy habits and thought patterns. I was being found.

What is not often spoken about is that the metamorphosis is extremely painful. It also happens to us when we are not truly aware of, or when we feel that we cannot do it. My decision to become as single parent was my first step. The relationship I was in was harmful, and proved to be a repetition of negative habit patterns that many of us experience. I wanted no more of it. I saw the pattern, and I did not want to teach my children that this normal. As a single parent, the lessons that came were more fierce. There was no running from it. I had to face it. If I ran from it, it tested how much I really wanted to make our lives better. There were tangible lessons, such as understanding my own finances and how to manage it. There were emotional lessons, such as how and who to connect with. What relationships are working, and who did I need to let go, at least temporarily, or perhaps for long term? Parenting with a partner is lonely. When parenting, we are surrounded by people, yet there is very little opportunity to connect as who we are with others. Connecting is usually within the context of being a parent, not as the person that we were and continue to be. Parenting as a single parent can be even more lonely, because we are missing the spouse that we can safely talk to about the children, work, plans, and issues.

The biggest emotional lesson was within. It was regarding the expectations I held of myself. Being alone was like forced meditation. At first, I resisted, because it felt painful. The more I had to spend time in my own space, inside myself, focusing on what needed to be done, I realized that the faster I was able to grow. I was able to focus. I grew stronger. However, in the span of four years as a single parent, I was not able to do this all the time. I wanted to feel comforted socially. I found myself falling into the old habit of wanting to seek light through relating with others. Yet, I continuously witnessed failure in that attempt. It did not fulfill me as I remembered. It did not help to achieve my purpose, which was becoming more clear at this time.

When I became good at accepting the presented challenges, instead of dodging them, I was able to grow stronger. Looking back to four years ago, I no longer doubt my own feelings. I learned that my intuition is the strongest guide, and whatever we feel is always what we should be feeling. I do not allow myself to be undermined. I do not feel intimidated by the unknown, or the future. I became the light that shines through the mist in the forest of my being. My pathway is clear. I am able to see where I am standing.

Forest Light

Being lost and found is comparable to a long run. During the run, it feels uncomfortable. We doubt how good it is for us, because perhaps being this uncomfortable means that it is not doing us any favour. Once we know to push through until the end and finish, the feeling of being found is generated. Clarity is exhilarating. The most important lesson from this experience is that the path became clear. Now I know that I am able to achieve amazing things, because I know how to set a specific goal, and continue down the path without stopping. I am able to clearly define who I want to relate to, how to make choices that help me, and where I want to be. I also learned that achieving amazing things is a result of accomplishing many small goals. Every day, I am given the opportunity to do this. Every day, I am extremely grateful.

Building An Identity.


Identity is how we define ourselves, not how others define us.

For the longest time, I let others define me. I did this by trying hard to prove myself, or trying to impress or change people’s opinions about who I am. This didn’t serve me right. It made me chase after approvals from others. This fails for two reasons: First, nobody knows you better than yourself. Second, at the end of the road, only you have to live with the identity you have built of yourself. Building an identity around yourself based on approvals only builds facades of who we would like to be seen as. True images of ourselves are formed as a solid foundation, like a concrete base of a building. A facade is visually there, but it has no strength to withstand any challenges.  As well, a facade is a mirage. When the fog clears, we realize that we are standing by ourselves in the forest. All voices, sounds, and images were just illusions.

It is natural for humans to seek approval. As babies, we learn that we need parents’ approval for survival. We seek approval from other family members as well. If they approve of us, they will protect us. The more they like us, the better chance we have of thriving. When we start school and start being around our peers, we learn subtle behaviours on how to get approval from our peers. This becomes such an important part of what forms our identity.

It is great for survival, but as humans, we have evolved, and we need to do more than survive, or thrive in the moment. How do we build an identity that is rock solid? How do we continue to thrive, no matter what life throws at us?

I can say something corny such as, “Seek for the truth within.” That raises the question. What is the truth?

How do we know what the truth is? Truth is often so subjective. One person can tell a truthful account of an event, which to another person, can be seen as contrived, exaggerated, or a straight out lie.


This is why we need to take the time to wear emotional earplugs so we can only hear only our own voice. It is much like meditation. I did an exercise with someone I know who is amazing at this skill. She told me to imagine my safe place. I started imagining my safe place, describing it in all details. It came to me later that this safe, perfect harbour for me looked much like Hawaii, even though I had never been there. My safe place image is much like this picture, sitting and watching the sunset (or sunrise) with my two beautiful children. If I think this long enough, it calms me down and takes the noise away.

Now, my thought process at the face of meanness and hurtful criticism, is systematic. Is this person a true friend? If this is a boss, a teacher, or even a parent, I stop and think, “Why does this person’s voice matter?” Is what they are telling me true to me, and applicable? What happens if I fail them, or do not live up to their expectation? Once I think it through, I realize that more often than not, their opinions will not have a significant impact in my life, nor will it help to improve it. It only appears to be that way while being in that phase. Only while I seek approval from this person. We cannot impress everybody.

If they dissaprove, is that because it is tapping them in a sensitive place? Do those negative feelings they feel have anything to do with my actions? Most truths are subjective because every truth is filtered through the person’s scars, past experiences, and how they were taught and raised. The next question is, how do they make me feel about myself? If I often feel that I need to change myself or act a different way, or not be able to share certain things, perhaps, they are the noise that stops us from hearing my own voice. If I often feel judged or misunderstood by this person, or if I have to explain a lot, this is a mirage. If I give a lot and I see my energy disappear into nothing, instead of building and creating an amazing ball of energy with both party’s input, this is the illusion of someone who wants to appear to care.

The noise, or the mirage, or reacting to find approval to this noise will only take us further away from finding our truth and solid identity.




Why This Blog?

There are thousands of blogs on the net. What  can I bring  that is not already out there?

My experience. My words. My thoughts. They are unique. Every single person’s life and experience is so special. We are singular.Q4824-infinity-jewelry-infinity-necklaces-pendants-gemologica

I wanted to start a blog since 2005. Eleven years later, I am finally believing my own words enough to start this journey. I used to write a lot, but I never allowed anyone to read it. I was too embarrassed. I wrote a book when I was 8, which I shortly discarded. I wish I still had it. I would write, pour my heart into it, then rip it into pieces, in case someone – a parent, or a sibling – may look at it. My deepest thoughts were the most precious and sacred. Nobody could have access to this treasure.

My last ten years of experience made me realize that this treasure is my greatest vulnerability, yet my most powerful instrument. I always wanted to work in a field that makes a great difference in people’s lives. I always knew that I had a way with words. I am charged of emotions, deep thoughts, and love, which is truly the greatest gift of all.

So why the title?

There are certain challenges in our life that follows us around. Until we conquer this challenge and make peace with it, it continues to reappear in forms of different circumstances and people. Mine was, and is, to be strong and successful. One part of success, in my own terms, is true happiness, which I describe as long periods of feeling grateful, which is unrelated to circumstances. In other words, it is the mental state where we are able to feel gratefulness in our lives, no matter what is happening to us and around us. In my life, I was continuously tested by circumstances. It took many decades of uphill climbing and swimming against the current to understand how it feels to be truly grateful. I have not fully conquer this challenge, but I have accepted it, instead of running from it.

My greatest challenge within this experience was to find peace as a single person. This is not to challenge those who find peace in their partners. My challenge was about having absolute peace with myself. Being by myself, hearing my own voice, hearing my own words. Getting to a place where I was content with befriending myself, spending time on my own, being in complete solitude. Finding the strength to never want to shred my own voice again, whether that was in the form of writing, or by continuously allocating my identity in relation to others, such as a sister, daughter, friend, girlfriend, wife, or a mother. I first had to find me, become my own best friend, lover, and the person who understood and cared for me. The more I practiced this, the less I felt compelled to have to explain myself. I started to not feel as much need to protect my tresure within so fiercely. I became stronger. Vunerability, and the fear of being misunderstood by others started to slip off my skin. I started to gain peace and confidence, because I truly started to believe who I am.

I hope some readers can relate, and make this a beautiful journey together.