So I haven’t posted any text online for over a month. I was thinking of making the entrance into the New Year with a very special topic, one that would impact people, even if in a small proportion. I have several topics on my to-write blog list, but I thought that the best one would be the one to talk about humanity, about our traits of character and how they influence our lives. There is no better inspiration for me or any other person in this world, than the human being itself! And as long as I have committed two years ago to being my true self, I’ll go ahead and let you in to see what was going on in my mind lately.
|A USSR postal stamp|
I was raised in a soviet/post-soviet country, where you have very specific rules and views regarding bringing up a child, education and further growth. As a child, you should listen to your parents and teachers, never reply back to their scolding or arguments; you should think pretty much like everybody else, otherwise you will be considered a rebel and a wrong child; you should study hard and have high grades, or you’ll be considered the waste of the society; you should do as you are told, but if you try to do things your way, you are misbehaving; you should also strive to be perfect in everything you do, learn a lot about a lot of things, respect the tradition/culture; you don’t have your voice regarding family matters, because the adults know it better; if you answer wrong at any given question, be that at school or during family meet-ups, you’re considered stupid and pretty much everybody makes you feel like you’re worthless. Let me tell you – things like self-development, self-esteem or doing what you want are pretty much never on the list in countries like mine. You really are lucky if your parents are slightly less rigid than the rest of the society, and they let you do your own thing when they try to prepare you for life, or when they just don’t have time for you.
|The USSR is the socialist state
of workers and Christians
Many of the rules in my society were very alright, because they taught us integrity, respect towards other people and animals, how to be hard-working, how to adapt ourselves to the hardships in life and cope with them well. Yet, because of the strictness and rigidity prevailing in the entire soviet society; the “musts” and “shoulds”; the kolkhoz – a form of collective farm, where 2 people would work and the rest 10 would watch them work then steal food at the end of the day; the narrow vision upon life because of political interests and what they taught our parents in school back in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – all this amounted to a limited society with an acute inability to do things differently, or, as they say, “outside of the box”.
All this, as you probably picked it up already, had influenced my life as well. I had a happy and interesting childhood, where things of not-being-entitled-to-my-own-opinion did not affect me too much. I was popular in school, taking every opportunity to participate in different extra-curricular activities, like girls’ camp in the south of the country, scholar conferences gathering youth from all over the country, organizing concerts in my very dear school, hosting public events or school events, doing creative projects with my classmates or other youth, having parties, and so on. During my university years, I just enjoyed the freedom it came with, even if I lived with my sister in a small student dorm. I got a job at the university after only 3 months of studies, so I never felt the necessity to make close friends or whatever. I just wanted to start my adult life and I was excited for the experiences I could get. I worked for the entire time I was studying in the university, I was my group’s leader and I liked everything I did. It started getting harder in my 3rd year there, though. My classmates started getting so opinionated about how I was doing my “job” as group’s leader, that I kind of never made peace with them until the end of the year, and only because I never had time – I just wanted to work.
Until I got my big-girl-real-life job at one of the biggest corporations in my country.
I just turned 22 years old and I had no idea how my life would turn. I started excited that I was getting this wonderful opportunity to be part of that amazing company. I had great colleagues with whom we discussed our issues in a friendly manner. And I had one of the best managers, who would understand you and would stand by you, no matter what. But, fast-forward to my consequent promotions, I was among important people, doing big, important job. It was never a piece of cake to do my job, and I was learning every day to be able to deliver what I was expected to do. I liked my job very much and I enjoyed doing different things, constantly. Yet, after some time, I found myself in the difficulty of personal opinion. I was torn between doing my job perfectly and learning to deliver my opinion in the correct, corporate way. I felt like I was never enough. For the very first time in my life I wanted to fit in, to belong. There were many people that challenged my personal values, which were rooted in me since childhood, and trust and kindness were the biggest of them all. Because many didn’t care about each other at work, things were being dragged, postponed, remade, constantly questioned. I wanted to speak to someone, but I saw that there was nobody I could see as a real friend. And in a way, that was correct, because work should be work, and your personal life should be private. Yet, there’s the flip side of the coin I believe in, that your professional life inevitably interferes with your personal life, because you spend so many hours at work, and that work can’t simply be done without humanly feelings, reliability and sharing. So, after some time, I started changing and losing myself into a battle I couldn’t understand myself. My interior battle got the best of me, and I lost my true self. I wasn’t the adventurous person I used to be. But I had learned so many things from that time that made me stronger for the long run. As the adage says: “Short loss for a long term gain”.
Three years later, and I immigrated to Canada. I never felt quite “at home” in my own country. And there are so many reasons behind the decision to leave, but one of them is that I never had room to spread my wings the way I wanted, canvas to show my true colors and hearts to understand my motives. The way things were happening in my environment made me realize that I need to find my own space to grow, and that my life is important. So I left.
|“True Colors” by Leonid Afremov|
My reader, if you can relate to anything I confessed to you, if you ever found yourself in a loop where you thought you have no way out or it simply seemed confusing, where you encountered difficulties to move forward because you’re shy/honest/compassionate/humble/perfectionist/self-doubting/etc., I want you to know that it’s all OK and you are beautiful the way you are.
Everything you are going through in your life is an inevitable journey that teaches so much: how to learn, how to fail, how to stand up, how to brush it all off, how to rise above even stronger than you were before. Embrace the craziness of life and enjoy the challenge, because it only brings you thousand more opportunities. You’ll learn to adapt even quicker than a supersonic plane. You’ll learn to feel the wind on your skin and smell the ground under your feet. You’ll become more profound, but most of all – you’ll become the best YOU ever!
There are so many books, online courses, audio books, conferences out there that teach you how to be happy/successful/mindful/integral/etc., but look no further, because the only true lessons and the most honest conversations you can ever have, are from and with yourself.
It takes a little courage to look deep inside yourself and face your own demons, but once you do it, you’ll understand that nothing is impossible for you anymore, and that you’re unstoppable. Don’t make a huge list of whatever goals only because the world does it – just commit to finding your true self, to making it visible, and loving it with your whole heart!
What you think that stops you from living life fully, what you think that makes you weird and nobody likes you that way, and that your traits of character are hindering you from a, b or … z – know that these specific things make you unique and special! These are your talents and gifts, these are your core and your drive, these are your everything. I haven’t got life figured out yet, and I never will, but neither does anybody else in the world. So, never let anybody tell you how to live life or adapt to this world, because you can make your own life and your own world, with what you have on hand right now. Trust me!