A Journey From Despair To Hope

A Journey From Despair To Hope - student project

I was born as a very sensitive person and for a long time, it was a curse. When I reached my teens, I was feeling completely lost about life, as many people do at that age. I found nothing would make me happy or fulfill me. I felt that life had a deeper meaning but that I could not see it.

Very soon, I realized I didn’t fit in. I started caring excessively about what others thought about me. Fearing judgment for being weird, I closed myself up and adopted more conventional beliefs.

I resigned myself to be a victim of my life. I tried to imitate the cool kids. I drank alcohol and sometimes took drugs. But the more I did that, the more I felt depressed and hopeless. I thought I had no place in this world and considered suicide several times.

But when I was 15, I got my hands on a little green book called “The Method Lafay”. That book saved me. It was a bodyweight training program, not the most direct answer to my problems. But at the time, I was very ashamed about my skinny body. So I started working out at home. And in the year that followed, I had a huge physical transformation. This gave me hope for the first time.

With this newfound strength, I got into one of the best universities in France a few years later. Although I missed the entrance exam on the first try, exercising kept me going. With a lot of effort and discipline, I made it into the university of my dreams.

My first two years there were much more fun than any of my previous ones. It was a new beginning for me and I made many new friends. I joined the rugby team and had a lot of success there due to my previous training. But my existential anxieties persisted. I still pretended to be somebody I was not and felt a gaping void inside my chest. I felt like an imposter. So I was back at square one.

But a second turning point happened when I decided to spend a year abroad in China. That experience transformed me. I took a deep dive into the unknown and explored all my fears during that time. My quest for meaning led me to discover Buddhism and Vipassana meditation in Myanmar. After my first retreat, I finally had a sense that there was more to life. I felt like I had found my answer. I was more grounded and stopped being anxious.

When I went back to France, I thought everything had changed, but in reality, I still had a lot of work to do. The new “spiritual me” did not fit-in anywhere. My family did not understand me. I felt foreign to the things I enjoyed before. I clashed with my friends and my girlfriend. I tried to create a social enterprise that turned out to be a massive failure. At the beginning of 2018, I hit rock bottom again despite having tried everything. I wanted to give up completely.

Funny enough, at that point I stumbled on a dusty book at my house called “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Reading that book altered my perception of life. I understood that I was the only one responsible for my happiness and no one else. I stopped dreaming too big and made my goals much smaller and attainable.

Over the next few months, I experienced a much more profound change in myself. I learned that growth is gradual and that consistency on some core habits led to incredible results. I also learned that you had to start by working on yourself before you tried to change anything in the world. As I grew, I let go my past beliefs, even if it was painful. I began to trust myself and to be true to who I am.

The years that followed also had their ups and downs. But with the foundations I had built, my life was far more balanced. I continued to grow and expand my sense of possibilities. I began to open up to others in an authentic way and made new friends that were more aligned with my values. And in 2020, as the coronavirus hit the world, I started creating again.

I’m not sharing any of this to brag or get recognition. Today, although I still have my bad days, I feel fully comfortable with who I am. I share my story because I know that there are a lot of young people that feel hopeless, that are searching for meaning, and feel like they don’t fit in. I just want them to know that there is hope.

Now, my goal is to start sharing back what I learned on my journey. There is so much potential hidden behind the limiting beliefs we hold on ourselves. I want to help others grow and find meaning too. And I want to dedicate the next years of my life to this.

Thank you for reading my story, I hope some of it helps.