When I left the Netherlands one year ago, some people (read: my mom and dad) were afraid that I would meet the love of my life at the other side of the world and never come back. Well, one year later, I think I did. But don’t panic, it’s not how you might think it is so let me explain this to you.
I have always been insecure. Insecure about my body, insecure about my talents and insecure about my social skills. Actually, I was insecure about everything. This wasn’t a big deal for me, or that was what I thought. To me this was normal, I had always felt like that. I lived a normal life, with (what I thought were) normal problems. I gratuated from university, I had a long-term relationship and my life seemed to go in a certain way which, I thought, would be an amazing life.
Well, fast forward a couple of years later and my life couldn’t have more changed than it did.
No relationship, travelling solo to the other side of the world and meeting the most amazing people from all around this beautiful world. I hear you asking: ‘what about my insecurities?’ They were still there. I ignored it, I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t insecure, that I could do anything that I wanted and that I shouldn’t be afraid. It worked, I did the most amazing things without being afraid and I met the most amazing people without being shy. But inside my head, there was always a little voice telling me that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t funny enough or that I wasn’t beautiful enough. Always. And that’s exhausting. Always telling myself that I’m able to do it, that I’m good enough and that I can do it. It was working, but it took so much energy. And because I wanted to be good enough, smart enough, or beautiful enough, I only focused on myself instead of on the people around me. I knew this should be different, I tried to stop thinking about my insecurities and to give all my attention to my friends when I was with them. But it didn’t really work, although a lot of times it felt like I was getting more confident. I kept on trying, and I was learning how to do this. But I wasn’t quite there yet, not were I wanted to be eventhough I didn’t really realise this at that time.
Right now, I have been living in Indonesia for 10 weeks. It has been the biggest challenge I have faced so far. The different lifestyle, the heat and the language made it very hard for me to settle down at this place. Quiting wasn’t an option, eventhough sometimes it felt like that was the only right thing to do. I had to remind myself that I came here for a reason, eventhough I wasn’t sure anymore what that reason was. I had to convince myself that I could do this, that I would be able to finish this project and make the most of this amazing opportunity. I didn’t count the times that I told myself to keep going and not to give up, but it happened a lot.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Everyone that I have met crossed my path for a reason. Everything that has happened to me, taught me new things about life.
So that’s why I didn’t quit my project in Indonesia. There must be a reason for me that I am here right now, at this point of my life. I tried to think of reasons, but couldn’t really see what it could be. Of course I was learning a lot. About teaching, about the English language and about living in Indonesia. But what is the reason? Why did I have that strong feeling a few months ago, that I should do this project and go for a new challenge in Indonesia?
Last week, I found my reason. Now I know why I am here, why this opportunity came on my path. It’s because I have found the love of my life. No, not my soulmate or a partner who I want to marry (don’t worry): I found myself. Finally I know where my insecurities came from: I didn’t love myself. I’m 27 years old, and for the first time in my life I can honestly say that I love myself. I love myself. I could never say this about myself. Why would you love yourself? My legs were too fat, my hair was too short, I was too shy, I was not funny enough, I wasn’t good enough.. there was always a reason why I wasn’t satisfied about myself and why I couldn’t say to myself that I truly love myself. I always knew that I should love myself, because that’s what you hear all the time, and I always thought that I loved myself. I loved myself, but I had to change this or that. There was always something to change. That’s not loving yourself, would you say that to your partner? I love you, but you should loose some weight. I love you, but you should be more social. No, you love someone because he or she is perfect to you, perfect with its own perfect imperfections. And that’s how you should love yourself. Of course I am still not satisfied about a few things, but that doesn’t make me, as a person, less than anyone else. And that’s my biggest lesson learned so far. Loving yourself is the base of everything. Without loving yourself, you can’t love anyone else. For ten years I gave all my love to someone else, I thought he was the one. Now I see why it didn’t work out between us: I didn’t love myself. I wasn’t honest to myself, I was holding on to something that wasn’t actually there. Now that I love myself, I know what I want. I know what to look for and I know how to handle tons of different situations. I can trust my own intuition and my own heart. This year has given me the love of my life as I have to live with myself for the rest of my life. It’s the biggest present I could get, and I’ll be grateful for this for the rest of my life. The feeling of honestly being happy with myself and my own company, is a feeling I never want to loose.
Maybe I left the Netherlands one year ago with the hope to find my soulmate, the one that could make me happy for the rest of my life.
I haven’t found him yet, but I have found something a lot more important. Anyone else couldn’t have made me happy, that’s what I realise now. Nothing would have worked out, because I had to learn my biggest lesson first. I won’t brake up with myself, I can trust myself, I will keep working on the best version of myself and I promise to take care of myself for the rest of my life: that’s all I need. Everything else will find its way into my life when I’m ready for it, that’s the beauty of living in this amazing world. Trust and love, that’s all you need 🙂
By the way, I’m also still teaching English which is of course as important, or even more important, as my own learnings. Here are some pics of teaching in grade 1/2 and with my colleagues:
And my hostfamily in Malang: