For the first time, I cried. I cried that hysterical, uncontrollable, full-body, ugly looking sob.
You know the cry I’m talking about.
But I wasn’t crying because I was sad or heartbroken or devastated. I had done that plenty of times.
This time was different.
This time I cried for the simple fact that I was overcome with pure joy and happiness. Joy and happiness and genuine love for myself and how far I had come. It was unlike any other feeling I had experienced up to this point in my life and it was a feeling that I wanted to take and bottle up for everyone in the world to feel.
While I can’t exactly do just that, what I can do is share how my journey of self-love and discovery got me to that beautiful experience, and hope that someday you will get to experience it too.
You see the last year and a half has been a roller coaster of emotions for me, but if I’m being fully honest and vulnerable, it started way before that. My childhood wasn’t cupcakes, rainbows and fairy tales. It was divorce, separation and a longing for a “normal” family. Of course I had loving and beautiful memories too, but the trauma of it all became the movie reel I decided to play in my mind over and over again. I let my story become my identity and I wore it proudly like some sort of badge of honor.
As I got older and started life in the real world, I continued to feel like something in me was missing and it became my mission to fill the void.
“If only I had my dream job making a ton of money, I wouldn’t feel so lost.”
“If only I had the perfect partner to start a life with, I would be complete.”
“If only I lived closer to my family, I wouldn’t feel so alone.”
If only I had realized in those moments that the only thing that was going to fill the void in my heart, was me.
Filling voids became my thing and money was no different. If you knew me, you’d know that I love to spend money. I love things. Nice things. Lots of things. And just like the possible dream job, romantic partner and relocation home, I spent money on things to fill a void. It’s so important to say this out loud because for a long time I didn’t realize that those expensive dinners, those shopping sprees, those six trips in a year was me easing the pain of loneliness.
So I had no problem spending money, but when I went to sign up for my first personal development course and they told me it cost $867, I quickly said, “No f*cking way I’m spending that much money.” Funny how quick I was able to turn it down. But after 6 months of using that as my excuse, I finally hit a wall and knew that this kind of money, this investment, was going to be the best one I could make for myself.
And so began my personal journey of investing in me.
One that was long, relenting and sometimes so dark that I wasn’t sure if I’d see the light at the end of the tunnel. But as a wise man once said, “Happiness isn’t for the lazy” and lazy was the last thing I intended to be.
That personal development course was the start of something so magical, something so beautiful, that the way I saw myself began to shift and I knew that I needed to learn more, grow more and experience so much more.
Spending money on myself became easier and easier.
I hired a life coach. I hired a nutritionist. I said yes to a life-changing trip to Thailand. I hired another life coach. I went to a therapist. I signed up for more personal development courses and coaching programs and any experience that was going to push me so far outside of my comfort zone that personal growth was my benefit.
It wasn’t easy. It was hard work. It was full of ups and downs and twists and turns. It was scary and weird and uncomfortable. But through it all, things in my world slowly began to change. My relationships changed. I changed. And yet, for someone who hated change, this change became so damn welcoming.
I started to see that light at the end of the tunnel and to quote one of my favorite movies, “It was glorious.”
Through the fear, the tears, the anger and the sadness I started to heal.
All the pain, discomfort and suffering was a pathway to finding my peace.
All the confusion and worry that I’d never feel fulfilled began to dissipate.
I started loving myself more than ever and embracing parts of me that I once despised. I let my story go and stepped into my power and truth. I was investing in myself, giving myself the greatest gift of all, knowing that I will continue to do so any chance I get.
So you see, as I stood there, sobbing uncontrollably with pure joy and happiness and accomplishment for how far I had come, I finally knew that my mission was complete. I was complete.
My heart had mended and I was the one who filled it with exactly what it needed.
First published on The Huffington Post