Eat, Pray, Love.

 Cloud Forest, Singapore. 

Cloud Forest, Singapore. 

Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.

I had to do it. I had to travel by myself for myself. I had to do some soul searching again. So, I embarked a journey within myself.

I ate a lot, I prayed a lot and I loved a lot. Traveling to new countries reminded me that I was so small in this big and wide world. It humbled me and now I’m slowly letting my ego die. 

Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.

Last year I had my ego and emotions get in the way of everything. They controlled me instead of me controlling the bad habits that they were. I did things without even thinking. I made so many mistakes and even though I wish I could take them back, I know that I can’t. So, I take full responsibility for my actions and the things that I have said.  I don’t want to be a coward. I want to have the courage and own up as someone who is experiencing growth. Although my past and mistakes are what shapes me into the person I am today, they don't define me. They were there for me to learn from so that I know now who I am and who I am not. 

For the first half of 2017, I was the worst version of myself, I didn’t know who I was. I hated myself. Seeing myself go through rock-bottom was the scariest thing for me to watch. But seeing myself grow and build myself up again is the most beautiful thing for me to experience. And I’m still experiencing it to this day. 

There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.

After countless of nights crying, I finally cried to God. But I was hesitant because it felt like I didn’t deserve God’s mercy. But the thing is, Allah is the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate. When you hit rock-bottom it doesn’t mean that you will remain a failure or depressed for the rest of your life. It’s an opportunity for you to build yourself up to the person you want to be. And its also God’s calling for your journey to return back to Him. 

Sincerely crying to God is a very intimate experience. It’s just between you and God- it’s only Him that’s listening. And although you’re not even talking, you don’t need to, He already knows what’s in your heart. And at the time, in my heart, I really wanted to be ‘Yantie’ again. The one that was soft, kind and loving. And I really wanted contentment. Because my heart felt so much pain. 

Then one day I woke up and something had just instilled within me. I just told myself that enough was enough. I needed to change for my own sake and so that I could stop myself from toxic patterns. I just kept telling myself that I needed to do it for myself. 

At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.
 Bukit Tinggi, Malaysia. 

Bukit Tinggi, Malaysia. 

And so I let go of all the things that were toxic to me. My thoughts, people, habits, and mistakes. I forgave and asked for forgiveness. I became aware of all the actions and responses that I would make by clearly thinking about them first. I learned how to breathe and how to calm myself down so that I can become still and present. I planted seeds to become grounded in my values and morals. I was finally aligned with my true and authentic self. And yes, I learned to love myself again. 

Everything manifested so quickly once I let go and allowed myself to alleviate higher. I’m now full of myself, in the sense that I feel whole and no longer empty. Rather than chasing validation and attention, I gave my own validation and I focused on myself. It may seem selfish to others but when you want to grow as a person, you have every right to focus on just yourself. You can’t help others when you need to work on yourself first. It’s only after you have worked on yourself that you can help more effectively. 

Along with focusing on myself, one of my goals in 2017 was to focus on being smarter financially. I wanted to save the money that I worked so hard for from working at the meat-works. I wanted to prove to myself that I can be independent and can take care of myself. I also wanted to give my grandmother a holiday that she’s never had before. Seeing my grandmother so happy and the rest of my family gave me so much joy and contentment. 

I know that some people are wondering where I get all my money from. I’ve been working since I was seventeen and I haven’t burdened my parents since as they worked so hard for all their lives. My family and I are not rich and I know that we weren’t always middle class. But my parents always encouraged my brothers and I to explore all the opportunities available. The older I get, the more understanding and appreciative I am for my parents. Therefore, nothing is ever handed to me on a silver platter. I seek out for opportunities and work towards them. Nonetheless, I know that all rizq comes from God’s mercy and my travels would not have happened if it weren’t for His blessings. 

 Halong Bay, Vietnam. 

Halong Bay, Vietnam. 

And what a blessing it was to see His beauty in my travels. I went to Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. SubhanAllah, I visited so many amazing places that left me in awe. I met so many people that gave me valuable advice from their own experiences which really helped me with my growth. Without even saying anything, every day, someone, whether it was a family member, a friend or even a stranger would come up to me to assure me of something that has been on my mind or has been making my heart unsettled. It was like they were sent from God and so I became more aware of His presence guiding me and protecting me wherever I went. Everything happened at such perfect timing and time finally felt slow as I was living in the moment and cherishing everything. I found myself reflecting so much on past experiences and I learned so many things about life. I had a clearer and positive perspective. I changed my story and the negative beliefs that I had. Now I feel contentment as I truly understand that no matter what happens, everything will always be okay as God is always with me. And I’m still working towards the woman that I want to become. 

I grew and grew and grew. And now I’m excited about the growth that is yet to come.

 Krabi, Thailand. 

Krabi, Thailand. 

I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love.

P.S: If you haven't already, you really need to read 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert. 

Nurul ShamsulComment