After a year of uncertainty, adjustment and disappointment, you may be doubting that 2021 will be any different.
Perhaps you feel as though you are stuck in limbo (check out the English Tip below if you haven’t heard this expression before!), and it feels like you can’t move forward because you’re uncertain about what lies ahead.
Inside The Ladies’ Project (TLP) community, women from all over the world have shared stories about how they have overcome this fear and embraced uncertainty – whether it be uncertainty caused by the pandemic or other personal circumstances.
We know that one woman’s story can be another’s inspiration, so we spoke to two women from inside the TLP community — a midwife and an author — who have gone through their own journey of personal growth recently.
In this article, these two incredible women openly share the obstacles they have faced, how it has impacted them, and how they have harnessed uncertainty and forged a pathway to discovering more joy, growth and alignment to their purpose. TLP member and professional psychologist, Petra Moldes, also provides practical steps to help us focus on what we can control, even in the face of uncertainty.
Be prepared to feel inspired and uplifted by these stories from women just like you, who have turned a ‘red light’ (negative situation) into a ‘green light’ (opportunity for growth), to create lasting change.
Trained midwife, cat-lover and much-loved TLP Community Manager, Pinar Efe, shares the challenges she experienced after taking the bold (and unexpected) step to move seven hours away from home, in pursuit of new opportunities, independence and personal growth.
“I moved to a new city in April 2020 because I got offered another new job (It’s my second job, in addition to TLP).
When I applied for the job, I really didn’t think I would get it. I didn’t even want to get it – it was in a city I didn’t even know the name of, but I applied because I thought it would be a good opportunity.
So when I found out I got the job, I was not only shocked, I was actually filled with fear and dread. In fact, I even called my mum saying “Mum, I just heard the most terrible news!” (I laugh now looking back at this because it’s definitely not what you expect someone to say when they find out they got a job!)
One day my parents and I were talking about the opportunity and, at this point, I was adamant that I was going to turn down the job offer.
But then we started looking at photos of the city, and it actually looked really nice! So, we made a split decision to get in the car that day and drive the seven hours to have a look at the area. You won’t believe it, but we ended up signing a lease to rent an apartment that very same day.
I have lived with my family my entire life, so the thought of moving seven hours away was very scary for me. I had no idea what was going to happen.
For the first seven or eight months, I had growing insecurities about myself and I questioned why I ever made the decision to move away.
Of course, this was all throughout COVID-19 lockdowns as well, so being away from family during this time added other complexities and emotions into the mix!
Quite often, I just thought, “What am I doing here? There is no reason for me to be here”. I took the job because I knew I would learn so much, and I wanted to learn to be independent and confident on my own.
But at that point, I felt like I was losing confidence, not gaining it. I was feeling more insecure and more vulnerable. I felt hopeless.
I thought, “I’m losing my power. I’m not learning at all,
I’m just losing.”
I wanted to give up. I wanted to resign. But, when these feelings came, I reminded myself that God always knows the best and he’s going to give me the experiences I need at that point in time, even if in that moment I can’t see the reason for it.
As the months passed, people at work started to tell me that I looked more confident and more sure of myself.
It’s definitely taken a while, but I’ve learnt to be comfortable with my own company, and have come to love my independence. I’ve started seeing the benefits of coming here, bit by bit.
And when I think about it, it’s the same when you are learning English as well. In the beginning, it’s so easy to think, “I’m stuck. I’m not getting any better, so why am I doing this? I should just give up.”
But that’s what I’ve learnt through this process; it’s always in these exact moments – the hardest ones – that you need to keep fighting and pushing on, because chances are, you’re only a few steps away from seeing positive results. It’s happening little by little all along, but you may not see that for a while. It’s not until all those little pieces start coming together one by one that you begin to see the bigger picture. And that is a good day!
So if there is one piece of advice I could give to other ladies facing obstacles – no matter it is – it would be: “don’t make any rash decisions when you’re feeling at your worst. Let the negative emotions come, but keep going and give yourself time to adjust before reacting. There’s positive things just around the corner!”
“Don’t make any rash decisions when you’re feeling
at your worst.”
Merche received a diagnosis that changed her life. Despite this hurdle, Merche has used her story to encourage, support and uplift other women who may be experiencing a similar situation. It’s a story of sisterhood, empowerment and pure strength.
“[Almost two years] ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. After the operation I had to spend 3 months on chemotherapy.
Fortunately, medicine is very advanced and everything has gone very well. But, the experience is hard and when you finish it, you are not the same as you were before.
But I think that we have to be positive, and these situations teach us a lot and bring us many good things.
In fact, during that period, I wrote a book recounting the experience in a friendly and positive way. Just today I was handed the printed book.
Things happen to us in life and we react to them. Our gaze changes the meaning of each moment, and our response changes us.”
Merche’s book, titled Historia de un Momento (English translation: Story of a Moment) was published in April 2020.
Throughout the book, Merche honestly and gracefully describes her experience with cancer – from diagnosis, surgery and treatment, all the way through to the impact this had on her personal relationships, her journey of emotional healing, and the strategies she used to overcome obstacles and remain positive in the face of fear and adversity.
Merche reached out to other people who had faced similar diagnoses and included several testimonies in her book.
“Our gaze changes the meaning of each moment, and our response changes us.”
Despite receiving a life-changing diagnosis, Merche didn’t shy away from the uncertainty or hide in the face of fear. Instead, she consciously decided to turn this ‘red light’ (negative situation) into a ‘green light’ (new opportunity), and has created lasting change – not only in her own life, but in the lives of several others.
TLP member and professional psychologist, Petra Moldes, reflects on her experiences and observations about the current state of global uncertainty caused by COVID-19, and shares the key to coping with fear of the unknown.
I believe that we show more of ourselves through what we do [rather] than what we say. For me, it is very important to do things – [to] create beautiful moments with the people that matter to me, and create beautiful, creative and emotional moments for myself.
For example, walking in nature gives me back the beauty of life; the sea, the forests, or the park of my city. Surrounding yourself with nature is a good way to feel good.
One way to focus my mind on producing happy thoughts is working on projects where I need to focus, such as writing, taking photos, or building a potted organic garden.
Another way is by helping others. For example, I use online platforms to produce podcasts with those affected by mental health issues – we share stories and laugh together.
I think it is a great time to do things (rather than sitting and waiting for this pandemic to end) because waiting encourages anxiety, fatigue and boredom. Whereas, doing gives us back control over ourselves and our own life.
No matter what happens to me, what is really important is “what I do with what happens to me“.
It is true that they ask us for physical distance to avoid the spread of COVID-19, but no one has spoken of emotional distancing, it’s not necessary.
I personally think it is a great moment to create and share. Focus on skills that we have, or skills that we want to improve or achieve and create something for others and ourselves.
I think that through doing things, we can find new ways of being in the world and dealing with uncertainty. We have a lot to discover about ourselves and others – it is an opportunity to find ourselves as humans.
So, to the slogan of “stay at home”, I would add “and do something to improve yourself and be better than you were before”.
“I think that through doing things, we can find new ways of being in the world and dealing with uncertainty.”
There are hundreds of inspiring stories just like these inside The Ladies’ Project. And it’s always so beautiful to witness the support and encouragement offered by other members when someone openly shares about the obstacles and uncertainty they are facing.
Despite the many different backgrounds, cultures and religions represented in the platform, it’s an environment of belonging that is often described by our members as “the TLP family”.
In the spirit of sharing, we want to hear from YOU! Can you think of a negative situation you have experienced in the last 12 months that you have turned into an opportunity for growth?
We’d love to hear about it and celebrate your journey of growth, wherever you are on your journey.
Tell us about it in the comments below!