I am 45 years old. Three and a half years ago I was miserable and I couldn't really work out why. I had a husband who worked very hard to make a good living for us and our three lovely children, a boy and two girls who are now all teenagers. I didn't have to work and could fulfill any hobby I wanted which I did with great gusto. Part of me knew I was unhappy but even I was unwilling to face this. I met a young man who I thought was going to take away all my unhappiness. I didn't realize at the time that I had to find my own happiness within myself.
To cut a long story short my husband found out and promptly moved out. This was when the true misery really began. My family was torn apart, my son started to play up at boarding school (drug taking) and having not worked in paid employment for a few years, I found I had no way of supporting myself. My husband and I were in a state of crisis. This was so painful, and we both cried so many tears. After a short separation he moved back home. However, we still deemed ourselves separated.
I did some long, hard thinking and lots of reading (especially Feel the Fear and do it Anyway) and I realized that I needed to have my own life and that I had actually never experienced true happiness. Ever since I could remember I had wanted to be a primary school teacher. When I was 17, I had applied for teachers training college but somehow never went and never fulfilled my dream. I also had some unfortunate teenage experiences which so eroded my sense of belief in myself, one of these being a rape. With the help of a therapist, I have finally dealt with this and other issues that I had buried deep within myself.
Somehow a campus for Christchurch College of Education had been established in my city a number of years ago meaning that older students could go to university and study to become teachers. During this transitional stage in my life, I had read a selection of self help books and I still continue to do so. I decided to enroll to become a student and to obtain a degree which would enable me to teach primary aged children.
I have finally completed my three years of study and will soon be graduating with a degree called a 'Bachelor of Teaching and Learning, Primary'. During my second year of study I completed an educational programme at Outward Bound which is based in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand. This involves living and experiencing the outdoors, sailing, rock climbing, two nights sleeping solo in the bush, tramping and swimming. It was the most fun I had had in a single week ever in my whole life. It was very hard physically and when I came home my legs would barely work because the muscles were so sore. During my week there I took The Little Book of Confidence and used some of the quotes to inspire myself and others.
Despite some rocky moments, my husband and I have remained together, and our family seems happier and more honest. Our son has had problems with alcohol but despite this will graduate from his apprenticeship (butchery) next year.
My journey over the last three years has been rewarding, challenging and fun, and I have met the most fabulous people who will be my friends for the rest of my days. The journey at times has also been painful and there have been many tears. I have just started working as a relief teacher and applying for teaching jobs, and I feel that I am definitely in the right place.
As for my happiness? Wow! The sense of accomplishment and the final fulfillment of my dream has lead me to feel the happiest I have ever felt in my whole life. I have found that positive thoughts and affirmations have helped my frame of mind tremendously. I have come over to the light and can see all the positive things in my life, and I use my sense of gratitude to thank the universe for my life and the people in it every day.
Thank you Susan for the role you have played in transforming my life. Without your books my journey from misery to happiness may never have taken place. In some ways I feel I am still at the start of my journey and my happiness is something I will need to work on daily. I intend to keep using self help books, CD's and my own positive affirmations along with visiting my therapist from time to time (she is also an angel sent to help me).
Haere Ra from New Zealand
Kathryn, Rotorua, New Zealand
First published August 2008