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Finding Myself All Over Again

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Discovering my voice, authenticity, and confidence beyond external validation

Written By: Kemi Alake

“You are out of your element.”

This statement had a profound impact on me and made me feel disheartened. Although I strongly disagreed with it and felt the need to prove otherwise, I found myself in a vulnerable state where I began to engage in self-reflection.

I had just relocated from my home country to a completely new environment with a different language and culture. I faced issues any immigrant could, from discovering the dishes I liked, making new friends, the language barrier, and housing issues to understanding the transport system (I can't count the number of times I arrived late because I took a train or a bus going to a different location).

I did my best to make sure that no obstacle interfered with my purpose for relocating - to continue with my education. I was also dedicated to maintaining a stellar performance at my remote job - a source of income I very much needed at that point.

Honestly, this was the first time I felt truly challenged. I realized a lot of my values and the confidence in the core of my being are deeply rooted in the quality of my relationships both with myself and with people around me. I cried myself to sleep a lot of nights and fainted in the metro once out of exhaustion. I was way out of my comfort zone. I was struggling.

I knew I had to find myself all over again and embrace this new version of me that I didn't like very much. But do I seek external validation by making “what’s wrong” right on the outside or accept who I am and where I am right now and focus on the inner work on the path to being the best version of myself?

I figured out that I had to find a balance between being authentic and dealing with people's perceptions of me. Below are the ways I redirected my energy to improve the quality of my life:

1. Understanding how to manage my emotional, mental, and physical energy: I began to prioritize efficiency in completing tasks which helped me make conscious decisions throughout the day. It's impossible to do everything at once no matter how hard I try. My time and effort are directed only to things that uplift me, align with my goals, and are a source of happiness.

2. Remembering my WHY: I needed to discover the reasons behind everything I do. There are moments when I pursue a goal and on attaining it, I don't remember as much why I wanted it. This is the reason I always write down my WHY and it has helped to keep me in check when I lose connection with my purpose.

3. Opening myself up to relationships especially with women of like minds: Being around women who understand my pain helped me realize that I am not alone in this. So I made it a routine to schedule time with the girls to talk about what really matters and share our thoughts, opinions, and laughter.

4. Allowing myself to be seen and expressing my doubts, needs, wants and insecurities: I learned that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It's ok to be vulnerable. People see the real you and love you for it. It took a while for me to understand that I am deserving of love especially when I don't feel like it. So I opened up about the difficulties I was experiencing and the ways that I needed assistance.

5. Doing activities that bring me joy and being open to new possibilities: I am doing more of what makes me happy and it has helped me be at my best. Fun-filled, adventurous, and fulfilling activities are included in my schedule. I live in one of the most beautiful countries in Europe with good weather and lots of remarkable landmarks for me to explore.

In addition, I have always loved research and food - every dish has a story. I am discovering the cultural impact of traditional cuisines of different regions and sharing my insights and recommendations for tourists and people from different cultural backgrounds. I deeply appreciate these interactions.

I am finding and loving myself all over again and in the process loving others better. Embracing myself is an endless cycle but I am committed to nurturing this newfound self-love and spreading its positive influence to others. With every step, I am reminded that the greatest gift we can give to the world is our authentic selves and genuine kindness for one another.


Meet the Author

Kemi Alake

Kemi Alake's experiences have increased her interest in nutrition and health. Most of her writings are centered on developing and maintaining good relationships in and out of the workplace, adopting sustainable practices when making food choices, mindful eating, and embracing a healthy lifestyle.


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