Sunday, 11 March 2018

Be Your Own Hero

Today's post won't be on entrepreneurial or fitness related matters, but a bit more personal.


Shariff and I celebrated our one year (dating) anniversary yesterday. We have been somewhat private about our relationship. He won't be overly thrilled that I am sharing his photo here, but he will understand...I think! (Or at least I hope 😋 !!!)

For the longest time ever, I have been unlucky in love. I was dating someone that I was deeply in love with when I was in college but I broke up with him after I graduated because I had to move back home to Malaysia and he was based in the USA. This was in 2004 when I was 23 years old. Since then, I have been having the worst luck when it comes to men and relationships.

I hit rock bottom in 2014. I was engaged to be married to my Brazilian fiance. I was living and working in Sao Paulo, Brazil for two years and during that time, I met and fell in love with Thiago.

Tragedy struck in 2012 when my father passed away suddenly. In 2013, I made the decision to move back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Sao Paulo, Brazil to be closer to my grieving mom. Thiago and I have been dating for a year and I had prepared myself to tell him about my decision and the eventuality of ending out relationship when I had to finally move back.

When I broke the news to him, he took my breath away with his reaction when he got down on one knee and proposed to me. "I will follow you anywhere", he said.

I believed him.

We decided that it was best for me to go back to Malaysia first to settle in and spend time with my family before he came over. He also needed time to sort out work related matters and wanted to spend time with his family before the big move.

In mid-2013, I moved back to Malaysia. Thiago was to join me a year later. Everything was going fine and as the days went by, the time for him to move over to Malaysia became closer and closer.

One fine day, out of the blue, Thiago called me. He tearfully admitted that as time went by, the realization that he had to move over to Malaysia and to leave his family, friends, work and life in Brazil became more 'real'. He realized that he couldn't do it. "I'm sorry. It's off. The whole thing is off". And then he hung up and I never heard from him again.

I was completely devastated. I cried every day during the first month since hearing the news. I talked about this this in my TEDx Talk which I gave in December 2017. This talk also covers my recovery and how Fit Rebel came to be. You can watch the video below, if interested:


Once I bounced back and was my usual happy, bubbly self again, I got into another relationship. This relationship also only lasted one year and my failure to make it work broke me. Again.

One thing that you start to realized when the same pattern keeps repeating itself over and over again is that 'maybe it's something within me that needs to be examined and changed'.

A friend of mine suggested that I attend a 10-day silent meditation retreat to get away from it all, be still, dig deep, ask the right questions and sort myself out. And I did. I attended the 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat.

This was one of the best things that I could have possibly done for myself at that time because I did exactly what I had to do:

Be Still
Dig Deep
Ask The Right Questions
Sort Myself Out

Since then, I realized many things about myself.

Because I was influenced by Disney cartoons, Hollywood, etc, I always felt like I wasn't enough and that I needed a man in my life to feel complete and happy. Whenever I was in a relationship, I expected my partner to make me happy. Like it was his responsibility.

It took me a while to realize that Jerry Mcguire's "You Complete Me" declaration shouldn't be taken too seriously when it comes to real life.


You are enough. And to expect someone else to make you happy is the most selfish and laziest thing a person could ever do because each person should be responsible for his or her own happiness.

I made the decision to work on myself. To find and do things that make me happy. To challenge myself. To grow into myself and find a path that fulfills me and makes me feel complete. And I did.

Getting to know yourself, being comfortable in your own skin, loving yourself and ultimately being happy by just knowing that you are enough isn't an easy journey. But it's worth it.

I recently came across this post and I could totally relate:


By the time I met Shariff, I promised that I would go into any new relationships with a different approach. That I wouldn't need my partner to make me happy or fulfilled because I can offer all those things to myself. But to help each other become better people and to bring out the best in each other.

And that is what this relationship has been like for the both of us. We could not be happier.

My journey was hard AF but I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm better and stronger because of it.

To everyone who is finding your way, trust the journey. Things will not always make sense at first. Life is unfair and can be hard, but keep on fighting the good fight and things will always turn around, sooner or later, one way or the other.

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