Self-development? What's the point, if I still feel down?


So many times I have heard my friends ask me: "What's the point of self-development when you are still feeling down?" or "Don't you know how to make yourself happy, and you are talking about being happy & healthy coach?" I think it's time to demystify this delusion.

Being a certified Integrative Nutrition Coach, I have been taught to assist, support and guide others but primarily myself to a happier and healthier life. Having this certification, it does not mean that I have gained immunity to any human feeling or state, such as sadness, downtime, sorrow, irritation, fear, impatience, or God forbid, illness.

Being a certified Health Coach simply means that I have invested a lot of my free time, instead of i.e. watching TV,  in reading, learning, studying, investigating, experimenting what works and doesn't work for me, what makes me happier and healthier person, in terms of nutrition, spirituality, professional, social, love or any other area of my life. I invested time in self-development, which then led me to my certification. But, despite all that, I am still a human and still entitled to all of the "regular" states and emotions everyone finds themselves in.

What self-development and personal growth taught me

"It's easy for you to talk about positive thinking when you live in Qatar!" Yes, this is true. But, Qatar was my dream ever since I left it, back in the 1994, and I made it happen. That's why it's easy to talk about it now. I simply knew that was a place where I belonged and that was a place where I would be happy. But, it wasn't an easy journey at all. It seemed as if everything was against me on my journey to fulfill this dream.

Everything I did was planned in my mind, in order to make it easier for me to get back, and when I actually started applying for the jobs, it was a disaster. No one ever replied back. Then something that seemed as an opportunity, launched me to the stars in terms of my hopes and wishes, and then - smash - I landed back on Earth so painfully. This was my life's crossroad. I thought that loosing my mum was the toughest thing that happened to me and transformed me, but it wasn't me. At least not consciously.

It was this year of 2008 when I thought I had gotten my chance to leave and then nothing happened. I must make it clear that I always had a nice life, above average, my parents always took really good care of us and I never ever lacked anything. I was also living a great life, had a great job that paid so well for a few months of work and the rest of the year I was actually on holiday. What more to wish for? But I wasn't happy. I did not fit in, I did not feel good there. Not for financial reasons, not for any other reasons, simply, I wanted to go back to the place I considered home.

Only people who were with me knew what a stressful period this was fir me. One day, I was tired of this powerless me, I was wondering if it really was the case that we do not have any power over our life and it is entirely up to our destiny or pure luck. Luckily I started questioning the power within us which led me to the path of my self-development. And this path led me to making my dream come true.

Downtime taught me to actually take the power over my life into my own hands. I figured out that unless I accept and start appreciating my current life, I would not move on. It made me start doing mindset work, positive affirmations (when a friend of mine told me I was crazy), and creating my dream life on my own terms and the way I imagined it to be. Guess what? Four years later, I did move and now I am living my life exactly as I dreamed of it to be.

This is the benefit of self-development and self-growth.

Life is really beautiful. Believe me, it is. No matter what you've been through, what you are going through or what you will go through, it really is beautiful. Would you believe me if I told you that it has absolutely nothing to do with your circumstances, with external factors, with how much money you have, or what job you are doing? It merely depends on you and your perspective of it, of everything you are going through, how you perceive it, how you approach it and what you focus on. Energy flows where focus goes.

That is the benefit of self-development and self-growth.

When I was only 19, I lost my mum. Can it be more tragic than that? A loss from which most probably, on some deeper level I have not yet recovered, and maybe I never will, but I have absolutely no problem talking about it. I like to say that it was the worst but at the same time the best thing that happened to me, as it made me grow up faster, it made me more independent, more serious, it made me look at life from a different perspective. It made me more responsible.  It made me stronger. What use would it be to sit and cry and feel sorry about myself? Could I have changed anything? No. So, I had to accept it. Get up. Move on.

That's the benefit of self-development and self-growth.

When I lost a baby, I said to myself, there must be something bigger planned for me. What can be bigger than a baby? But there is always something else that can make your life more beautiful, only if  we allow it. And guess what, two weeks later, I finally got my job in Qatar.


That's the benefit of self-development and self-growth.

When you are committed and dedicated, passionate and totally in love with what you do, but you cannot seem to express yourself fully due to certain obstacles. Or, when people around you are playing dirty and undermining you, preserving your peace and calm, your inner strength, not allowing them to break you mentally, psychologically, but observing it from a peaceful perspective and knowing that the power is in you.

That is the benefit of self-development and self-growth.

When something undesirable happens to us, it is not always easy to believe and see the positive reason behind it. Interestingly, there is no good or bad situation, it is us who give the value to things with our thoughts and emotions, and the same way it is us who can control the perception of it. An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards, so when life is pulling you back with difficulties, it means that it will launch you into something great.

Now this is the benefit of self-development and growth.


Self-development does not mean living happily ever after. All emotions are perfectly normal, natural and they should be there. They are there to teach us something, to guide us, to get our attention. The only difference is the approach and the perspective, how you look at them - that is what changes and that is what can be different. Your freedom to choose how to react.

Suppressing feelings only amplifies their strength; embracing them, making peace with them, helps them pass by easily. Suppressing is never a good choice. Every emotion needs to be heard, observed and only then we can prevent the negative events from happening. "Negative" events happen in this order: emotion - thought - feeling - event. The emotion that is expressed, that we are conscious of, when we recognize it and act accordingly, we avoid thoughts and consequently no feelings are created, therefore the event is eliminated. This is why, I love my downtime. I embrace my sadness. I love when I am feeling blue. It is there to show me something. I allow it to speak to me. It is not a failure but a progress of one soul, to recognize and appreciate certain emotions, make friends with them and let them just be... And let them go.

My every downtime brings me new insights, transformations and takes me a step higher...

Now that is the benefit of self-development and self-growth.

Photo credit: