The star of today’s IHP topic is one of our Inspiring Human Potential blog and podcast – Inner Growth Inspirational “Be Yourself” Stories.
You get to hear from Lena about how she has experienced being herself; the importance of courage; and having the courage to live your life with being yourself in the forefront, while also being considerate and loving towards others, in the world, and in life.
Here you find Lena’s answers to the Inspiring Human Potential Inner Growth Inspirational “Be Yourself” interview questions, of which the first part is what you’ll hear about on the IHP podcast episode.
Part I Questions & Answers – Being Yourself and Life
- Q: What was the most challenging experience in being yourself growing up and how did you overcome this challenge to be all that you can be?
A: So far there hasn’t been a bigger challenge than this one. The challenge is experienced day by day. The biggest challenge with being myself has passed, but I can tell you what I am still experiencing today. I have always experienced my country as a great prison for self-realization. I come from Naples, I am Italian, and in recent times, it seems that having a degree and living by one’s passions seems to be one of the greatest idiocies that a person after the age of eighteen can do. I have always lived with passion, heart, instinct and I have always said, “I feel lucky as long as I study what I love because it makes me feel alive, it makes me feel good.” Then one fine day, when this dream of mine called university was over, I stepped into the cruel societal world. My country never prepared us for a job or for life through our college education; it only “parked us” aside for a moment from society with the illusion that one day we could become what we wanted and live our dreams after college. This big lie took me to where I am today: Rotterdam. Or perhaps, it was the search for the realization of those dreams, the ones that are not so clear to me, that pushed me to get here (to Rotterdam). Slowly I realized that there is no perfect country, or one society better than another, that my country is no worse than others and that my being Neapolitan today is worth more than before. Going away from home is the biggest challenge that an individual can do, not because you move away from loved ones, but because it is the first big journey within yourself; I think it is only at that point that you know yourself. You learn to know your doubts, your fears, to recognize your failures and your victories, you learn to know your limits. When you have accepted your limits without fighting them, persist in going against them, only then will you know; and you will finally be yourself. It’s a challenge that I fight every day here.
- Q: What major event or situation got you to know from your heart that it is ok to be yourself completely and how do you find inner harmony and peace with being you and the world outside of you, how do you respect you and others?
A: It was precisely having physically moved away from my roots that made me understand and know myself, who I am so that I can be myself; but not my experience in Holland, which is in a constant hate-I don’t understand you relationship. Instead I am referring to the most beautiful experience of my life: having been to China. Here I found myself, without needing to judge my actions, my mistakes or my flaws. I understood that making mistakes is a part of our life, that there is nothing wrong with making mistakes and that you don’t have to be ashamed, that you don’t have to be afraid, that you should always dare always in respect of others. My way of relating to others is to always listen to them, to always be there when there is the need.
- Q: What’s one piece of advice that you would give someone who’s having a hard time being themselves harmoniously and consistently through their actions, thoughts, and words in their every-day life; and how or what brought you to do this in your life?
A: I would always advise them to follow their heart, no matter what others think, even those closest to them. I say this because often my choices were changed at the last minute out of love for my most important bonds.
- Q: How does unconditional love for self, others and the world play a role in your life and you being yourself completely in who you are and what you do?
A: I am not always completely myself. Often, my love for others conditions (influences) my most important decisions.
- Q: Are there any things/areas about being yourself (your true self from the heart) that you choose not to share with others and the world? Would you share (with us) why this is, how you manage it from the heart and mind (emotionally and through your thoughts), if you foresee any transformation with this challenge or anything about it that you think others (who are also facing something similar) can learn from, find comfort in, and be helped with in knowing they’re not alone?
A: Yes, there are. And I have understood that only time settles everything, listening to one’s self, working through deep hurt and consistent checking in with one’s self and confronting/comparing topics with others helps us improve.
Part II Questions & Answers – Being Yourself and Your Life Endeavors
- Q: What do you do in life: as your life purpose, job, business, whatever “do” means to you that is the way you actively participate in and contribute to the world you live in, and the society you’re a part of?
A: I work in a shoe shop today. It’s not my first job, but it’s my first real job. I’ve always managed as we say in Naples, “l’arte di arrangiarsi”. I have been a dishwasher, bartender, receptionist, shop assistant etc. In everything I have done, and I do, I try to do one thing: put myself in it and respect everyone else, whether they are colleagues or customers. I share smiles and joy, I listen, or provide comfort. For as much as you can like or not like a job, whether it’s your dream job or not, I always try to create bonds with my colleagues (where I can, here in Holland everything is a little more complicated because of the language and their different approach towards others). But also as a student, I remember always being the one who passed the notes or had the assignment copied in the classroom because giving or being myself has always been more important than having things in my life. Perhaps the aim is to make others happy, to make them feel good, even share a smile.
- Q: Does this “do” reflect who you are from the heart completely? If yes, how so? If not, how does this affect you from within, in your day-to-day life, and overall quality of life?
A: I am a person who lives of others, of their presence in their lives, despite great periods of solitude.
- Q: Are there other life endeavors (things you “do”, participate in, actively work on or pursue) that reflect who you are from the heart and bring forth the “mark” and transformation you want to see and leave in this world?
A: The only way that maybe I do this is to give my person with optimism and positivity to others, to listen to them and understand them and help them when necessary. I’m not someone who has friends, but I always try to be a good friend. My must in life is to start to change things beginning with yourself, and not to wait for others to do it.
- Q: Was it challenging to find and establish harmony and abundance with being yourself and doing what you “do”, pursuing all the life endeavors you are actively involved in?
A: Every day my life is a continuous battle between what I am today in society, among others, and what I would like to have become. But it is a path that gets put into place in my everyday life and not in a distant one.
- Q: What part of what you “do” makes you most excited and proud? Why and how is this a success for you and the world?
A: It makes me proud to be a good person, full of love and things to give, but I don’t give who I am to others immediately. I don’t connect with people right away on a deep level. They discover me in time, and afterwards, they can’t do without me.