How I found what I was looking for. My work, my passion, my love, my life, my baby, my happiness.
Easy: What I feared the most, I ventured in to.
I know, the word 'easy' is easier said than done. But it's true. After coming this far, I can honestly say, that finding yourself, finding what you want in and out of life, is as "easy" as that: Follow your fears. What you fear the most, what your biggest insecurities are, are your own personal telltales on what direction to go towards. What to try, what to do, what you will be good at, what to dare.
I grew up creative. Creativity, drawing and painting is what I loved. What was my getaway, my sanctuary, my freedom. Yet, I always told myself I wasn't good enough. I didn't even see it as an option to support myself through doing it. I looked everywhere else for what to do in life - except for there. Because 'there' was filled with fear. 'There' was something I loved so much, something that made me so vulnerable, that I got scared of the thought of even trying. So it felt safer to keep it as a dream. As something others would be good enough to do... Until one day, life handed me the biggest blessing of all; a huge "fail" in life as I knew it, and I, through and thanks to that, got to feel how not so terrible, nor dangerous, a "fail" actually was. (More of a relief, in fact.) So through my weakness, in my newly found courage, I ventured into what I had always feared I would not be good enough to do: paint. And to show what I paint. And there I found myself. My pure self, my passion - me. A happiness I had never felt before. And a huge sensation of freedom. And through that, I found the me I could feel and be happy with. The me that could start to heal herself. Mend herself - by herself. The me that slowly began to learn not to rely on others to fulfill her. To not look in others for the sensation of safety, meaning of life, self-confidence and assurance. I faced my fear - and found nothing less than my calling. (One of them.)
So when one thing starts to feel genuinely good, it's hard to keep compromising in another. It was time for my relationships to feel as good as the rest of my life did.
I also grew up a people pleaser. What has felt and been the most difficult for me has been to express (and value!) my own needs, to speak my mind and to say 'No' when something hasn't felt good or right. I have been so afraid of rejection, of not making others happy, that I have not allowed myself to feel that I am just as important as the other. I put myself second to others, even to the ones that treated me bad (actually, especially to them). But so now I began to realize that feeling bad was something I did not have to live with (!). And slowly but surely I began facing my fears, which meant expressing my desires. I can tell you, it's quite hard at first. It's like the words are locked in your mouth, your tongue physically unable to say them. But the trick is to simply spit it out. Don't think, just do. Say it. And I did. All that I had never dared say or demand or stand behind before - I said. I wanted to be respected, supported, valued, heard, listened to and seen. And I meant it. And then, I had to have the courage to walk away from those who were not able to give it.
So with career, self-appreciation and -respect in place, romance, intimacy, family, love and motherhood - all still included a lot of fears. Because what happens when all of your life you've lived with the pattern of fighting for your partner's appreciation and love? That love, that appreciation, becomes what you fear the most. As that is the most unknown. And that I did. True intimacy was the scariest thing I could imagine, for that was something I had never experienced. True, pure, honest to god, vulnerable and open intimacy. And then this guy comes into my life, showers me with his kindness and pure appreciation. Really sees me, and wants to see me. And I fear him like a wild animal fears the warmth of a fire. Luckily, by this time life had shown and proven to me, that what I had feared the most, when ventured into, had brought me the most happiness in life. So I say 'Yes'. I slowly get closer and let him come closer (in retrospect, it wasn't that slow, but it did feel like it) - and my fears begin to release - opening up the door to nothing less but euphoria. To a peace I have never ever ever never ever felt before (no typo there, just wanted to make my point). And all falls into place. I don't fear romance, intimacy, becoming a mother or building a family anymore, because I dared open myself up to the absolute best man to do this all with.
They say 'Follow your dreams'. But if you don't know what your dreams are - as I didn't - then begin by following your fears. Dare recognize them, and then dare confront them. They will lead you to where you want to go. Your fears will lead you to yourself and to your dreams.