Toastmaster Speech – CCS #6
Fear, Betrayal and Love: This is my journey of Personal Growth – CCS #6
There’s a Chinese proverb that goes like this: “Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”
I find this to be so relevant tonight as my speech is about some recent events that affected me greatly both personally and emotionally.
Good evening Madame Chair, Fellow Toastmaster, and most welcomed guests!
In 2002, I started taking personal growth courses. It was right after my divorce and ignoring my mother’s opinion that it was going to be a waste of my hard earned time and money. She said that I didn’t need these courses anymore since I was already a mother of 3. But something in me urged me on my road to true happiness and how it had everything to do with myself internally instead of externally. I wanted to spend my money on these courses. I saw value in them. I have had many bad experiences from the time I was a refugee at 5 years old till my 2nd divorce at 32 years old. And they all left me with many deep scars. I wanted a chance to grow past these scars into a better person from them.
I remember that while I was taking EQ class which is part of personal growth, I would describe the levels in EQ as a tower. So a person from level 12 of a building will of course be able to see more than what a person on level 2 could even if they both look out the window facing the same direction. Therefore there is nothing to argue since they are just both saying what they see. So when I first started these classes, I figured I was on the single digit level of that EQ tower only and my goal was to reach the sub-penthouse level someday which was level 19 to me at that time. By the time I got to that level, I realized that the EQ Tower actually had 40 levels. Then when I reached level 39, I realized that there was really no end to the EQ tower because growth is something that continues until the day we die. And therefore I continued joining different programs to the growing path on and off throughout the years.
Last week, a very close friend of mine decided to terminate our friendship. I got only a 24-hour notice from him. I was in shock because nothing had happened between us. Everything was just so normal, no ordinary, so every day. He was my badminton buddy, squash buddy, boating buddy and travel buddy. It turned out he had been a secret admirer since 2 years ago when we first met. My goal back then was to travel. And now my passion and focus is on MC. This is what he told my girlfriend when she asked him why. He said, ‘The fundamental truth is that I could not entirely extinguish my hopes that in travelling the world, we would find a passion that excited us and a love to sustain us. That is no longer the case. It probably never was the case for Amy but hope is a powerful emotion. It drives us and can consume us. Now as Amy says, old hopes have to move out before new ones can arrive and try as I may, I cannot separate Amy’s friendship from the hope I once had. So, it is time to go separate ways. Amy’s friendship is too consuming for me to do anything else.
One of my favourite quotes is ‘To travel hopefully is often a better thing than to arrive.’ I have arrived with Amy at a place she may not have been looking for but it has found her. And I will now travel hopefully once more.” End of quote.
The truth is that I had never had any romantic feelings for him from day 1 to tomorrow. I never misled him in any way. He never told me even remotely that he was interested in me either. Thus, so surprised was I when I got that 24-hour notice that our friendship was to end. How odd is that? I felt so betrayed. So soiled by someone I deeply trusted. I felt abandoned. He left me questioning his motive for everything he did with me and for me over the last 2 years. It was like “I love you but since I can’t have you, then I don’t even want to be your friend.” How elementary level is that love? Wouldn’t a higher level of love be one that would make you happy as long as your loved one is happy? I felt so abandoned and so hurt because he has become my closest friend over the last year. This is the first time I felt this way since I was 12 years old when my dad left me. I cried for a good 3 days but I told myself I could only respect his decision. I wish him well in his new journey. He will be back on the road to continue traveling alone. I hope he will find his who or his what soon…
The reason I am grateful for having taken so many years of personal growth is that through this experience, I was able to reconfirm that one can have all the wealth in the world but if one’s mental health is not stable, then one can never find true joy. I find that for someone in his mid-50s to choose to completely end a friendship he invested so much time and energy in for 2 years is a total sign of a mental state that is unhealthy. Loving someone is not a sin but not being able to differentiate fantasy, hope and reality is really something serious. There was never even a single moment of sparkles or hints of potential romance between us!
He had promised me to help me with the new App for MC. But he left just like that while I was left to deal with it myself. I was stressed & nervous since I am not tech savvy, but I told myself that there’s no such thing as I can not live without any one single person. So I worked and worked until I got the app completed. I felt so proud of what I had accomplished. I am grateful of having invested so much time and energy into personal growth or else I would not have been able to deal with all the adversities I have been experiencing through out the last decade of my life.
I continue to believe there is magnificence in everything. Through this recent experience, I learned that I have some serious abandonment issues that have been suppressed ever since my dad died. This explains why I have always been the one ending my romantic relationships when things were not the way I want them. It was my way of protecting myself from the feeling of being abandoned by whoever I was in relationship with. I now acknowledge my scars and have reached out to counselors for help already. Maybe I need to thank this friend in the end for being my trigger or else it won’t have a reason to get help and be healed once and for all. The experience hurts but I am not going to pretend that the issue is not there when it clearly is. Knowing the issue yet not working on it will be unfair to whoever I am in a relationship with next. Because it will be like an instant bomb of me saying let’s break up whenever we get into minor fights which happens in every relationship. I will not allow myself to drown in this fear anymore now that I have discovered it. Worse of all is the realization that I was not being compassionate with myself therefore I didn’t shy to get help. I did it before and I will continue to do it because personal growth is a continuous thing for me.
Being FREE is such a high value for me. But in order to be free, one needs to be detached from things we are personally vested in. To be free, we should not buy into things we are fearful of since fear is just a reaction to an imagined outcome. It is hard to be free when we have been locked into negative unfree behavior for decades. Thankfully we live in a society where help is available if one chooses to get help.
We need to understand the cause and effect of every choice we make in life. We need to accept that life is not always how we want it to be because we need to respect that everyone has the right to make choices for themselves too. I don’t like experiencing sad times but I also recognize that it takes rain before I see rainbows. I don’t necessary like my tough times but I have no fears about them because I know they will just help me expand my range of emotions, bringing me to a higher level in my EQ tower.
I do want to live with a bigger range because that will allow me to see wider view from out of my window and will make life more colorful. I am not afraid of growing slowly, only of standing still.