It wasn’t until I turned thirty that I’ve posed myself a question I should’ve asked a long time before.

What makes me happy?

As I thought of an answer I was both shocked and relieved. It was a simple question but for the first time in my life I was at a loss for words, maybe because I never allowed myself to follow true happiness. Not in the way I should’ve, at least.   For years I walked on paths that should’ve been right but were clearly based on how others perceived me, or what they expected of me. Maybe it was about what I expected out of myself and that expectation itself was skewed severely. So I thought about the true person that lived behind the roles I needed to play in my everyday life. That’s when I felt relieved, too. For the first time I allowed myself to consider what made me happy—and that felt great.

Don’t get me wrong. Like many women I know, my happiness is often tied to the people and situations around me. I think that’s realistic and even an essential part of our existence. I have a loving marriage to an amazing man, wonderful children, and I’ve been blessed in many ways. That is happiness, but at the same time, I know now that true happiness is when we love ourselves and everything that comes along with it—the good and the bad.

Over the years I learned to rely on my instincts. They were there all along but it wasn’t until I learned to hone them and to follow them that I became in tune with myself. I started to see that my weaknesses aren’t something to be ashamed of, but something to help me improve. I realized that the way others perceive me isn’t more important than how I perceive myself. That came closely tied to the fact that if I don’t like myself, how could others? Yet, if others don’t like me does that mean I’m not a good person? How could I teach my girls to love and respect themselves by being a good example?

I used to think of my past; failed relationships, bad decisions, even things that happened that were beyond my control. They all added up in a bucket, drop by drop, a murky water of regret and resentment, threatening to spill over and flood my heart with grief. All of it had prevented me from moving forward and to be the better version of myself. I had created a huge barricade that kept me from forgiving others and myself. That’s when I understood that everything along the way had taught me to rely on my own power to succeed and, most of all, persevere.

The best part of my journey has been connecting with artists and writers who like me have learned through their own struggles and experiences.  I’m not a self-proclaimed feminist; in fact I respect and love the opposite gender and appreciate the balance a man brings to a woman’s life, thus enriching her own worth.  Still, I believe that as women we are gifted with a sixth sense, a special connection to our souls.  When we harness this inner connection we are no longer only benefiting ourselves but also the world around us.

“The Age of Bold: Women Gathering Courage, Strength and Wisdom” focuses on women’s inner strength and self worth, especially as we mature and learn to follow our instincts.  It’s a tribute to others who like me have learned to follow their dreams, love themselves no matter what, and understand the true beauty within.

To kick off the theme, I have a very special guest blogger.   Amy Oestreicher is an artist, writer, actress, singer and speaker. Most importantly, she is a survivor. Bringing you a mind-boggling story about surviving a life threatening medical condition, Amy will recount her fight to persevere, never giving up on life and the true joy of living. She will share what inspired her to live, what helped her through the toughest times of her life, and how her huge talent has inspired others to do the same. Don’t miss Amy’s guest star blog tomorrow, as I promise you her story will inspire you for years to come.

All guest blogs will be under the Guest Bloggers tab.



<—–Please subscribe for notifications on featured guest blogs. The Age of Bold: Women Gathering Courage, Strength and Wisdom” will feature a total of three inspirational women.  Don’t miss out on their stories!

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