Written By: Steph Sidwell

It’s a blessing when we are faced with challenges, as it gives us an opportunity to grow. I recently faced a very challenging time in my life; I had just moved to a new city (and country) in which I did not know many people.

Within the same month, I had appendicitis, lost my job and was informed about some family issues back home. Of course, my immediate reaction when faced with these challenges was: Why? Why me? Why now? 

What we don’t realize right away, is that there is a reason for each and every situation we are faced with. Each problem is an opportunity to grow. When we close a door, it only means that we are blessed with a choice. We can stand outside that same door and be damned that it is shut, maybe even try to open it again. Or, we can move on. We can come to the realization that we now have the opportunity to open another door; that there is an infinite amount of opportunities and new things to explore.

Our greatest problems, our biggest set backs, our lowest points, can also be our greatest strengths, our best achievements, our highest points; depending on how we react to them. 

“Become a witness of your emotions; do not fixate on them, but rather understand that, as the origin of the word indicates, they are in motion. Do not identify with them, allow them to change.”

This quote was very relevant to me when I was faced with these challenges, as I made sure I felt every emotion I was feeling. I did not try to pretend like I was okay., I did not put on a happy face if I was not happy. There was actually 2 days where I sat on the floor of my studio apartment crying my eyes out for hours. I just cried. I cried out every tear I had for my job. I cried out every tear I had for how badly I wanted to go to yoga but I couldn’t because of my appendix. I cried out every tear I had for my family back home. I cried out every tear I had for how much I missed my friends and family, and for how badly I did not want to be alone. 

The more emotion I let out, and the more I did not avoid my emotions, the better I felt. It was like I was shedding weight every time I truly let my body feel what I was feeling. By the end of the week, I was a new person. I was no longer feeling sorry for myself, nor sad about the things I had lost, for I had already let them go. I realized that once I let them go, there was nothing to lose. My mind and my body released them; enabling me to move on, and filling me with happiness and excitement for new opportunities to come. 

Letting go of my job was one of the hardest things I had to face. It was one of the main reasons I moved to LA. It was the only company I had ever worked for. I poured my heart and soul into it and was not expecting it to end there. And that was the main problem; I was not “expecting” it. My problem was that I was attached to my job. My mind only had one idea, one thought, and that is that I worked for this company and that was who I was/ why I was here. What I didn’t realize was that my heart knew there was much greater opportunity for me. My heart knew that was not who I was it was simply something I did.

My heart was not with my job, my mind was. So when I released my mind from being an employee of this company, my heart was able to speak up. And I listened. My heart brought me to what I love to do, what my passion is. I put a list together of my desires, what I’m passionate about, what makes me happy; and suddenly I was filled with many ideas about what to do next. I made the choice to close the door and walk away. 

I did not linger. I simply moved forward. I accepted the change and had the opportunity to open any door I want. I am now grateful for these challenges, because they allowed me to grow.