What It Means to Make Peace With Yourself

Posted by Olena Mytruk

If you often fight yourself, if you often find yourself having internal conflicts, then this post is for you. 

Maybe you’re a mother who thinks she works too much and is, therefore, a bad mother.

Maybe you’re beating yourself up for the mistakes you’ve made.

Or perhaps you overthink your decisions and start to doubt why you were entitled to make that decision in the first place.

If any of that sounds like you, you’ll want to stick around and read about my most vulnerable story and how to be kinder to yourself.

MY STORY — I AM FROM UKRAINE AND RUSSIA

Many of you know I am from Ukraine, but I’m actually from the Crimean Peninsula, from a city made world famous thanks to Tom Cruise and his latest Mission Impossible movie. 

It is called Sevastopol. 

When I was born, the whole region was part of the USSR. Then, it became Ukraine. Then, in 2015 Russia took it over. 

I grew up speaking Russian and feeling proud of being from a city with a rich Russian history. 

When I was 21, I moved to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

I lived there for nine years. I made a lot of friends and fell in love with the Ukrainian language and culture. To this day, I have many friends in both Ukraine and Russia. 

So, when the war started, it was a shock for me. On February 24th, I was up late and saw on the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine.

I couldn’t believe it. Even as rumors spread, I couldn’t believe that it would happen.

It’s a tragedy, and the war is still ongoing after all these years.

The biggest tragedy however is all the hate that people have towards each other on both sides.  

Several friends from Ukraine broke up with me because they thought I wasn’t Ukrainian enough – I wasn’t screaming all over the internet how I hate all Russians. 

But I can’t do that because this is my native language and where I’m from. I will never say that all Russians are evil. But that does not mean that I support war. I stand strongly against it, always have, and always will.

On top of that, my family is divided.

My sister and my parents have opposing viewpoints, and they don’t talk to each other anymore.

And I felt like I ended up in the middle. I felt like I needed to choose a side. 

My brother-in-law, my sister’s husband, who was fighting in the Ukrainian army got captured in March of last year, and in may he was sentenced to death. Then, until September of last year, no one knew if he was still alive or not, and then finally in September he was released as part of the prisoner’s exchange.

It was one of the happiest days of my life. (I cannot even imagine what my sister had gone through and how she was able to keep hope throughout all those months.)

And here’s another story.

I mentioned already that in 2015 Russia took over Crimea. In 2017, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, she had access to modern equipment and professional doctors in the brand-new hospital that had just been built.

If it wasn’t for the fact that Russia had built this hospital, my mom would not be alive today.

For many months, I was being torn apart by these opposing opinions. I was having a terrible internal conflict.

THE WORLD ISN’T BLACK AND WHITE

Media manipulates us to believe the world is black and white, but it’s not. It’s so much more complicated.

Even though I struggled with which side to choose and how to navigate that conflict within myself, I finally realized that my purpose was to stay true to myself.

My native language is Russian. And it does NOT mean I support the war. I have friends on both sides and family on both sides. 

And the reason I’m telling you this story isn’t for sympathy but to tell you how I finally made peace within myself. 

I say “made” peace because it was an intentional decision. 

I told myself, I just can’t battle myself anymore. I can’t please everybody. No matter what I do or don’t do, some people will call me a betrayer or a bad person. So, what I really need to do is be who I am, and stand by that.

And to stand by who you are, you have to know who you are. Because it all starts with self-awareness. 

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR

What do you stand for? What do you really want to be known for as a person? Start from there.

When you find that peace with yourself, you don’t need approval from anybody anymore.

You can direct all that energy you were wasting before battling yourself and channel it toward the things that make you show up and get out of bed every morning.

There are so many bad things in this world, and you are NOT one of them. 

So, please stop fighting yourself.

Instead, use that energy to be yourself. You are here in the world to make some meaningful impact.

You are here to make a positive change. But the only way to do that is to stop wasting your energy fighting yourself.

Stop doubting yourself and trying to be someone you are NOT. 

Instead, rediscover who you ARE and then stand by it proudly. 

That change doesn’t have to be big.

If you’re a mother who is struggling with working and spending time away from your kids, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother.

Our kids need us to show them what it is to live our lives the way we want.

Set an example of the life you want to live, embrace who you are, and show up with integrity.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. I choose to show up not as black and white but as a whole range of colors. We can be happy and sad at the same time. We can hold several different opinions at the same time. To me, this is what makes us human.

If this resonates with you, I’d love for you to join me on this journey – to embrace who we are and take charge of our lives. 

Until next time,

Olena xx

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