Lessons in Self-Love

'You have to love yourself', she said. Oh my God!, I thought and rolled my eyes. We were sitting in Starbucks on College and Euclid. I have just met Abbey. Abbey is a therapist. It was our first meeting. I expected something more than a person telling me to love myself. I cringed. I cringed and I was swallowing my tears at the same time so desolate and desperate I felt. Desperate for a change and directions that I would do everything and anything to stop feeling the way I felt. I wanted to solve problems, I wanted work on things, I wanted a formula for a good relationship with a male human being and there she was telling me that all I had  to do was to establish loving and carrying relationship with MYSELF. The rest would follow, she suggested.

This is what I have learnt about self-love:

1. It's looking after myself physically and mentally.
2. It's being gentle with myself.
3. It's making sure that I tells the truth which belongs to me without the fear of being rejected.
4. It's being aware of my capacities and limitations. 
5. It's a constant dialogue with myself and checking where I am with myself and other humans.
6. It's making sure that I take the ownership of my life. 
7. It has nothing to do with being arrogant and self-centred.
8. It's nothing to do with sacrificing  myself in order to make others happy.
9. It's allowing myself to be. 
10. It's a path, it's a challenge, it's a process. It's hard work.

When talking to a friend few days ago I said that I feel I have finally realized that there won't be anyone to rescue me and that I am the only person who can really influence my life. I am the engine. S. said that it seems to him that everybody really carries this fantasy of a savior or a good god-mother equipped with an array of magic spells to help us out. A normal human thing. We concluded that indeed we don't get saved by anyone but we do get and meet people on our way who help us out. People who we encounter to teach us something when we are ready to receive a lesson. (If we are not ready the lesson will come back to us again and again, and again. In the next life as well, won't it, Shirley?) 

And so I met women and a Man who gave me examples of how to love oneself and live by this principle.


Back to Asia 2012

It didn't happen without my strong objections. I wanted to stay. Even my creepy landlord wanted to help me by marrying me or marrying me off to his friend Harry. I was told: Ania, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Sometimes you even have to do things you won't normally do. Hmmm, not even tempting but thank you, Jack. I might have considered his offer if I were in desperation and running away from some sort of terrible oppression. But wait, then Canada would accept me no problem.

Then it was work. They tried to help but before hiring a foreigner in Canada an employer has to prove there's no citizen/preeminent resident to fill the position. I am not a neuroscientist, any scientist, I have no money on a bank account. I'm not a skilled worker too: I can't plumb, I can't lay bricks, I don't know how to wire houses. I ain't no asset for the Canadian economy. Not yet, at least.

But I am an asset in Asia.

So here I am back in Asia.
Back in Bangkok.
Another circle in my life.

I came on Monday, which I thought was on Sunday. And so Steve waited for me at the airport on Sunday morning when at that time I was still in Abu Dhabi. I really got confused with the time zones plus it didn't cross my mind that it is possible to travel for two days. I mean with the time changes.Whatever it was I was late. A day late.

And then I arrived in Bangkok.
Here I am, back in Asia.

Not a Mindless Coffee Serving

I miss my coffee shop. I will always remember it and go back with memories to Timmothy's in Atrium on Bay.
Oh, what a splendid time I had there! What fantastic people I met. Each person different, each with a story. I wanted to hear out each of them. It'd never been a mindless coffee serving. I wanted something more. I wanted people who come to me feel special, taken care of before the reality of a day hit. 

I'm not a big fan of getting up but there was a time when getting up and going to these people was a lifeline. When nothing made sense, making coffee and serving it with all my ethusisasm were my ways to survive. This job gave me so much pleasure, pleasure of being there for people and with people.They felt it and gave me wonderful feedback. With some of them I became close friends and I know these friendships shall continue. Many of them I will probably never see again but nevertheless they contributed to my growth, to my being a better person. 

I spent wonderful six months working with a really good team, with really friendly and helpful managers. Thank you Linda, thank you Evangeline, thank you Andrew, Sanaz, James and Di. It was a pleasure to work with all of you. I hope I will see you again.


Giving My Thanks

It's Thanksgiving today and I have some things to give my thanks for.

I am thankful for the whole year of difficult work I was assigned to do. When I was coming here I didn't know what was awaiting and that I will receive one of the most important lessons in my life in the days to come. My life has put me on a path which I will follow: the path of self-appreciation, self-respect, self-trust and other selves which I can't think of. Self matters. Self matters to each of us and each self is important. Try to ignore your self and you will cheat not only yourself but everybody around you. Try to ignore who you really are and you will die, your spirit will die, your body will die. I witnessed that. 

I am grateful that I have people around me who told me: you matter and what you feel and think matters. Your life should be lived the way you want it to be lived and only you have the power to change it if such is your wish. I have received a gift of unconditional love which I see in the eyes of my Shirley each time she looks at me. I know that I don't have to be anybody else. I know that I am enough. I am taking that all with me.

I am grateful for lessons of love and compassion when I needed them from my friends in Poland and people who just met me here and recognized the great need in me to be hugged and reassured that everything will be fine, that the pain goes away and that Life doesn't give me more than I can handle. Sometimes it felt as if I would not go through the next minute, so huge the pain was. But I did. And these are also valuable lessons of how resilient a human being is.

I am finally grateful for and daunted with the task of taking the responsibility and ownership of my life. I had a history of victimizing myself, looking for the answers to whys in wrong places when it has turned out all the answers were in me. Slowly and not without resistance I am unearthing my truth: my truth about myself and who I have become in the past years and the reality that almost everything in my life comes from me - not some external powers working outside me.  I am the beginning and the end of my own journey.

I am grateful for my Family. We have been through a lot and I understand that each and single of us has challenges. I know that each of us is trying to make the most of what we have at our disposal at the moment. I trust that there is a happy end, against all odds.

Finally I am grateful that I am.