“Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.” – Lao Tzu
One of the most transformational experiences in my life was to find out I was underpaid. I will never forget that day. I turned into a mountain of anger. I felt misused and stupid, blaming everyone and everything.
The moment I took responsibility for that situation and I realized that was the result of all my previous choices, everything changed. I had never negotiated a salary with my past employers or asked for a raise. I became aware of my limitations and the barriers I was putting against myself by not feeling worthy of receiving the best things life had to offer, including money, as if I didn’t deserve getting such a financial “gift.”
I grew up in Eastern-Europe, under the Ceausescu dictatorial system, with a strong mentality of scarcity and lack. That is why making a beautiful salary would have scared me to death. In other words, it felt like “too much for me.” The day I understood I was in that situation because I allowed it, everything shifted. That’s one of the main reasons for me becoming a life coach and empowering women to know their own worth. I’ve turned my struggle and life experience into a mission.
Sometimes in life, we are going through challenging experiences without realizing that every difficult situation comes along with learning behind. In reality, we all are students at School of Life, and every single day is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, what we want and what makes us truly happy and fulfilled.
Let me give you two more examples from my personal life and career:
From previous romantic relationships that didn’t work out, I learned what I wanted from a romantic partner. I wanted to be with someone who is supportive, warm-hearted, intelligent and kind. I am thankful for experiencing “unfortunate” relationships in the past, and I am married to that wonderful man today.
From not being able to find good employment opportunities within the Supply Chain industry during my stay in South Korea, I realized that supply chain was nothing I enjoyed working with. I knew how to do it well and achieve excellent results, but it didn’t bring me any happiness. So I took one year off to study and certify as a life coach, and today I do what I was meant to do in the world.
You see, oftentimes, life is bringing us blessings in disguise. It all depends on how we look at it. It’s all about perspective and what we make every single experience mean to us. Everything is a story we are telling ourselves about the past.
Wayne Dyer was right: ”When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
“What could I have done differently?,” “What am I taking with me from this experience?”, “What’s the gain in pain?”
Such questions are powerful and empowering. They take us out from the conditioning of a victim (“Life is unfair,” “How could this ever happen?,” “How could he do that to me?”), and take us to a place where we are in charge of our actions.
So here’s what I learned:
I choose to believe we live in an intelligent, supportive Universe where things happen for my highest good.
My past has nothing to do with my future, and my old limitations do not define who I am. Today, I know that no one can hurt me or upset me without my conscious (often unconscious) approval. I am responsible for my actions, and my future is the result of my current choices.
Blaming others for taking our time, money, or love is unfair because we always choose how much we give and to whom. The moment I stopped blaming my past circumstances or other people for my situation, I set myself free.
And now, I would like to hear from you. Can you recall any challenging situations that finally turned out to be such blessings in disguise? If so, what was your learning?
Sara Fabian is a Women’s Empowerment & Career Coach and inspirational speaker, on a mission to help professional women to discover their unique strengths, gifts and talents, boost their confidence, find their calling and live a meaningful life of purpose. For weekly inspiration, subscribe to her free newsletter at www.sarafabiancoaching.com or follow her on Facebook.