My name is Stephanie. I was born in 1988 and raised in Hungary, living about 17 years of my life in the capital city Budapest. I grew up in a small family of four with no privileges but in a loving environment. My personal troubles started from the very beginning by having the wrong role models. My parents loved me and provided me with everything to have a good start in life. I will always be thankful for that, and I love them unconditionally, but they had a profound negative effect on me what they were not aware of.
My parents had a very unhealthy relationship and I grew up mimicking it. I was raised in a traditional gender role specific home, so I never learned the good distribution of labor, my father overpowered my mother, so I learned that I need a man to control me, I was told that life has limitations so I never learned to dream big. In my country mistakes were not tolerated, so instead of helping me to not make the same mistake again, I was made feel terrible about myself. And what do people do under a lot of stress? Mistakes.
Around the age of 12 when I was playing professional basketball. My coaches were emotionally abusive and I didn’t dare to speak out. While being professional, I considered taking my own life, just to end the abuse. I stayed on the team because my father was so proud of my title as a European champion.
Leaving my country
I left home at the age of 19 and moved abroad because I was always told what to do and never had room to experiment, I was judged, limited, unhappy. Until I was 28 I didn’t know that this my subconscious working for me, saving me, giving me a new beginning. Unfortunately, even when I was away from home, I looked for the familiar. I locked myself in jobs I didn’t like because I was supposed to have a fancy title so my family can brag about me. I stayed in unhealthy relationships because that’s what I knew from my parents.
Going from one job to another, from one country to another, I always ended up being unhappy, until I ended up becoming depressed for 6 months. That was the lowest point of my life. I was living in a country I hated, having a job I hated, being with a man who wasn’t good for me. Little did I know that I could never escape my problems by changing my circumstances. I had to face the demons.
Enough is enough. I went back to Hungary to search for answers. That’s when the transformation started. I accomplished my one and only childhood dream I set 20 years prior. As a girl, I grew up watching a game show and when I was asked what I wanted to become when I grew up, I said: “I want to be on that game show.” In 2015 I flew to China with the Hungarian team of Olimpic and national champions. My self-confidence and self-worth exploded. I knew I’m destined to do big things. I just reached a goal I set 20 years ago!!! – I thought.
I quit my life when I went hitchhiking around Europe. Everyone warned me about the danger of getting into strangers’ cars, but I never felt more alive than when I was breaking all the unwritten rules, looking danger in the eyes, pushing my limits and defeating my fears. The freedom tasted wonderful. It was like my own personal drug. I knew this was for me. Adventures.
A few weeks later I had a 45-pound backpack on my back, and I was on my way to leave my old life, social expectations, and the past behind. I hitchhiked a sailboat and crossed the Atlantic ocean. Once touched land, I carried on hitchhiking and traveling in Latin America. During my 1 year trip, I spent all my hard earnt savings defeating the fear of poverty, the unknown and the uncertainty. I learned to accept the differences in the world, to never judge something or someone without having personal experience, I defeated all my fears (listen to my experiences on fear here), I learned to face social critique and just follow what makes me happy.
No, I didn’t know the first step, I just took one. The biggest lesson of my adventures was to find love within myself. I no longer depend on external sources, such as a boyfriend, money, job…etc. If I find happiness through an external source, that can be taken away. So I trained myself to stay happy without money, without a boyfriend, without a job, without family and friends. Now my life is like a cake; with cherry on top, it tastes even better, but the cake is perfectly delicious without it too.
‘Me’ comes first
It was hard to start prioritizing myself because it felt like it did at the expense of others, but now I know that without being at peace and love with myself, I can’t be in a healthy relationship, I can’t enjoy my work and my life is just powered by fear. I will always be my priority because I have the key to my happiness, but now that I’m truly happy, it is time to give back and help others who are still searching. It is
If I could have given one advice to the 6-year old me, it would have been this: Dream big, don’t let people question your decisions, block society’s pressure out, constantly educate yourself, never let other people’s fears infect your curiosity, courage and most of all, love yourself unconditionally.
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