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Whether we realize this or not, we all come here, on this earth, to find “Love.” Sometimes we spend years or perhaps all our lives searching for this one “True Love.” The one true love that would make us happy and complete. The one true love that would give us wings so we could fly.

We keep looking for the perfect match, but we often fail to realize that the love we came here to find is “Love for Ourselves.” The true love and unconditional acceptance of who we are, just the way we are; flawsome – awesome with all of our imperfections. And as the saying goes…

“If you’re searching for that one person who will change your life, take a look in the mirror.”

I’ve always loved myself, or so I thought. I had always loved myself when I was perfect, friendly, beautiful, conscientious, polite, or correct. I loved myself when I achieved a lot, moved higher and higher up the ladder. I loved myself when I was best in class. I loved myself when I closed a deal. I loved myself when my reflection in the mirror was all glammed-up. Still, in reality, I was only prepared to love a perfect picture, painted by an eager perfectionist who wanted to get the much-needed reassurance – you are enough – from the outside world.

I was never satisfied. I never felt it was enough. I never felt I was enough. Internal inadequacy made me seek external confirmation and recognition. Perfectionism and the heightened need for achievement have helped me to get quite far in life. But its effects were very short-lived because one can always do better, achieve more, be more.

Success is a lousy teacher, and we only learn from our failures.

I know that from my own personal and harrowing experiences. I had to lose everything, and I mean ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, to find myself and realize that I am enough. To find that one “True Love” that would make me happy and complete.

My early career was like a rocket launch. In less than a year, I went from the HR manager position to the steel-galvanizing plant CEO, followed by establishing my own steel trading company. The business was flourishing, and the company was growing exponentially.

I had everything I could possibly want. But then came the crisis of 2007/2008, and in a matter of months, I was utterly broke and massively in debt.

I had nothing, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, left from my previously highly successful life. I had to start reinventing myself from below zero. I had to look inside.

As I was looking inside myself, different emotions gradually began to surface and unfold. I had to face unfamiliar emotions and finally – my shadow, the opposite of my ideal Self – ugly, imperfect, and very, very scary.

Going through fear, disregard, and facing this frightening Self, I reached acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, integration, and ultimately, self-Love. I learned to love myself, just as I am – in all my imperfect perfection. Flawsome. To understand that I and my “sufficiency” were never related to my roles or external signs of success.

“It’s never about anyone else; it is always only about you.”

It didn’t happen overnight, but as a result, I was finally able to embrace myself. To be truly grateful for all my life experiences – really and heartily appreciative.

I am thankful for my real story, with all the very high climbs and even more painful falls. With all the “bad” feelings and genuine emotions, I finally discovered who I truly am and the hidden treasures that no one can ever take – our unique strengths, values, passions, and why.

I also discovered that knowing who you really are, what you really want to do, and most importantly, WHY you want to do it, makes the most significant difference between true success and failure. And the biggest problem that most of us have is that we don’t take the time to stop and look inside.

As Carl Jung once said, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakes.”

During this journey, I have also gained the inner courage to start sharing my story with others. At first, quietly and with a trembling voice, one small piece at a time. And then the next time, a little more and a little bolder, until finally, I fully embraced my unique story. I’ve discovered that I can only tell my story boldly and clearly by getting to know myself and accepting myself just the way I am. That I need to tell my story in a way that reaches other people’s hearts, touches them, speaks to them, and inspires them to look inside and discover the hidden gems that make them so unique and so precious.

In retrospect, my most painful experiences have been my greatest hidden blessings – and that is where my most extraordinary personal power lies.

Owning your story and fully accepting yourself gives you wings. Over the years, I have learned to understand, appreciate, and be who I really am. All my life, I have wanted to inspire others to act. Now I know that to inspire others, all you need is to be yourself. To feel, accept and love yourself just as you are.

By living life in harmony with our hearts and sharing our stories, speaking directly from the heart, we reach into others’ hearts and inspire them to seek their uniqueness and passion, which gives them wings and the freedom to fly high.

The moment I realized this; my life changed.

I found a way to make things work again as I became a two-time best-selling Amazon author and built a successful coaching and consulting business. But most importantly, I get to spread my passion and live my WHY, inspiring others to find their own uniqueness, passion, and why.

I encourage my clients to take action and make the most of themselves by truly making a difference in their own lives and the world around them.

As Howard Thurman has said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Let others get inspired by how you do YOU, how you live your passion, deal with your imperfections, spread your wings, and fly high.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through this process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. There is no need to tell the PERFECT story to inspire others – just the REAL one.

And once you do, your people – the right customers, right partners, and right employees – will come to you.

Because of YOU. Because of YOUR story. 

Don’t wait for your hero journey to come to a happy ending before you are ready to tell your perfect story. You will never know what you are truly capable of until you make that very first frightening step.

And you will never know who needs to hear YOUR story “right in that moment” until you decide to tell it.

The article was originally published in Modern Warrior