Picture from Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
(7 min read)
In 2014, I left my well-paying and comfortable job in Singapore and moved to South America. I was in search of a change and my ticket to freedom. While it seemed to everyone that my move was a dream come true, the truth is that the journey hadn’t always been a smooth-sailing one.
Because of the decision I had made, I also had to let a lot of things go.
Last year, I went home briefly for a visit. However, I realised that things were different when I was back. To begin, I felt a huge disconnection between my friends and I. Maybe, they felt that I had changed. Maybe they could not understand my current lifestyle and mindset. Also, my traditional and conservative family was upset that I was leaving again. There were lots of expectations they had of me which I didn’t fulfill.
In that single trip home, many relationships and friendships that I thought were evergreen became diluted and superficial. I felt like I had lost my support system. The people whom I thought understood me and would stand by me through thick and thin kind of vanished into thin air.
I remembered when I was returning to Argentina, I headed to the airport by myself, feeling more alone than ever. It was a surreal feeling, to be leaving your home nest and not knowing how your life would pan out next, with no support and no one by your side.
I was really sad.
When I arrived in Buenos Aires, I had no idea why I was there, except for the fact that I wanted to be there. I had no job, no friends who really knew me for who I am, had limited amount of money and no purpose except to dance Tango. This time round, it was even harder as I had no one to call for emotional support back home. It was also extremely tough to be back in the city where I was reminded of a romantic relationship that did not work out, and I was still healing emotionally from it. At some point, I seriously felt like the biggest loser to have dropped everything back home and idealistically thought that I could make this new life work.
I was in a pretty bad space. And I could not, for the life of me, figure out how I landed myself in such a crappy situation. Lost, unfamiliar in a foreign land, had a luggage barrier and no solid relationships.
The tipping point after hitting rock bottom
I spent weeks feeling miserable and could not remove the dark cloud from above my head. I felt that it was consuming me and I hated that feeling.
Eventually, I got so fed up of feeling sad. It did not make me feel good a single bit and I felt angry with myself for putting myself in such a pathetic state.
That was when I told myself I had 2 options. To let the adversity get the better of me, or to take charge of the adversity.
I chose the latter.
Empowering ourselves and taking control of the situation
I started taking active steps to get myself out of the rut.
First things first, I got myself out of the house EVERY SINGLE DAY even though I honestly didn’t feel like going anywhere. I kept meeting new people and making new friends even when I wasn’t in the mood to socialise. I kept visiting and exploring new places, and went to the parks religiously for my daily dose of sunshine. I kept dancing Tango even though it brought back nostalgic memories. I kept doing all that because I was determined not to let my negative emotions get the better of me.
I found new inspiration. I made new friends. I found renewed energy. I rediscovered my passions.
I basically, created my new life.
I also found the motivation to start this website, and found the courage to start this venture that fully resonated with what I want to do.
I found a new sense of confidence. For the first time in my life, I felt that I had found my own voice.
I created something out of the bleak and I am really proud of how far I’ve come.
We all face adversities and we can overcome them
I know that I’m not alone in this journey and many of us would have at some point in time experienced similar situations (or worse) with what I had gone through.
First things first, I want you to know that you are not alone and we all experience moments where life is crappy and bleak. However, it will pass and you can create a new beginning from it. Trust yourself, you can do it.
Adversities are terrible experiences to go through, but they are invaluable for us to become stronger beings.
I am, however, aware how difficult the journey can be. In hope of making the process more smooth-sailing for you, I have listed 5 steps I had personally taken to help me overcome my adversities and create my new beginnings. I hope that this can help lighten the load for you and keep you going.
Trust yourself that you are deserving of great beginnings and a great life. Don’t give up!
5 ways to overcome adversities and created new beginnings
1) Let go of what you cannot control
The most important thing I did first was to accept the situation I was in and stopped questioning why it happened. I stopped comparing my life with others and accepted things for what they were. When we let go of what we cannot control, we can then live with what we have now and start working on what we want next.
2) Embrace the loss and let yourself grieve
This is hard, really hard. I cried buckets, I really did. But here’s the thing – if I didn’t embrace the loss and allow myself to grieve, I would never have been able to move on. Many of us avoid this step because of the potential pain we might face. However, there is really no running away from the pain if we want to free ourselves from it. The faster we accept and embrace the situation, the faster we can move on with life.
I once baby-sat a beautiful 3-year-old toddler. While we were playing and running around the house, she had a fall and got her lips badly bruised and cut. She cried hard, really hard. And I could feel her pain and misery as I embraced her in my arms. However, 10 minutes was all she needed to grieve; before I knew it, she was up and running around, laughing and happy again.
The faster we embrace the pain, the faster we can let it go, and the faster we can empty the space out for new things to enter our lives.
3) Forgive yourself
The one person that we have to learn to forgive more often is ourselves. How often do we blame ourselves for the things that didn’t work out, or for relationships that failed? How often have we wished that we could turn back time so that we could do things differently for different outcomes? How many times have we beaten ourselves up for things that we did or didn’t do?
To err is human; we all make mistakes. And it’s okay. We need to be gentle with ourselves because that is the first step to self-love. We deserve to forgive ourselves and trust that we have done our best in that given situation. This allows us to focus on the next big thing without guilt tying us down.
4) Keep trusting yourself and your beliefs
Closely linked to point 3, we have to keep trusting ourselves and what we do. The reason is simple – if we don’t trust ourselves, how can anyone trust us? Credibility starts with evidence and faith. We have to walk the talk and keep our eyes glued to the end goal of what we want. This is especially important at times of adversities where emotions often cloud our visions and paths. Keep telling yourself you deserve to be happy and keep going for what you believe. Be determined!
5) Be consistent in your actions
Finally, be consistent in your actions, night or day, rain or shine. A lot of times, adversities get us down and derail us from our normal activities – we lose the mood to do anything productive and end up seeing everything as bleak and hopeless.
However, if we keep doing what we believe in even if we are not emotionally up to it, things will eventually become better.
Emotions are great indicators of how we feel but don’t let the negative ones cheat us of our deserved happiness. In fact, most emotions are fleeting so we don’t have to give in to them all the time. However, if we keep going with our intuition and let our compelling desires be our guides, the feelings of loss and dejection will dissipate. And before we know it, there will be light shining through again. So keep going my dears; the pot of gold is not too far away :)
Are you feeling overwhelmed with disappointments and really want to get out of this crappy situation? Allow me to support you and ride through it together with you.
Dear jane! Heya remember me your friend?!!! Thanks so much for the wonderful and really timely read. I was at a loss as i quit my well paying n pretty senior job in aug last yr after just 4 months in the co. I was working 14 hours day and even going back to office on sundays and was having an unreasonable and slave driver boss. Then i quit, triggered my my dad's legs condition hence he needed to retire and we r finally moving out of the shophouse i was born in n the shop ( watch repaira, clocks) he has opened faithfully for past 46 yrs ( longer if we count another earlier session) Truly i was at a loss. Shall write more another time... Now i need to go help in shop n pack the v old n dirty place as the big move is tomorrow. All the best and stay safe , friend. Keep on writing , i have shared yr article with two other good friend who also took the leap to quit without job. It aint easy as i probably sent out 100 applications w jus one interview n i havent receive any news of being shortlisted into next round for futher selection at all. Its all very trying n tiring. So pls keep yr flame alive n know its illuminating some of us out there!
Hi Marie!! So good to hear from you again after so many years :) I'm sorry to hear about your dad and I hope he's feeling much better now. There seems to be tons of transition going on for you too and it seems overwhelming... Jiayou! Take time off to breathe a little and know that you did the right thing since your previous job was obviously eating you up. You know what, you are such a talented painter and I think you have really given yourself time to develop that wonderful talent of yours and you should be so proud of it!! Keep focusing on doing what makes you happy and before you know it, everything will be in place. Jiayou!! And maybe one day I will get to buy your famous painting ;)
P.S. your Dad will understand why you quit your job eventually, so don't feel upset about it, ok? Hugs.
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