Posted on: November 3, 2016 Posted by: Felicia S. C. Gooden Comments: 0

lesson in painAll things heal with time, but the time it takes to heal can be a trying one. Reflecting on past memories and what they all mean can be a difficult process because you are forced to go back to the moments that hurt the most. However, these moments are the most meaningful. They provide insight into what we have to face and allow us to assess whether or not we faced the ongoing problems. What was the lesson? Was it learned? The greatest lessons are often the most painful and purifying ones, but once they are learned and understood, we are faced with an unprecedented amount of freedom.

Lesson 1: Know Thyself and Thy Work

Creating your own life is based on knowing who you are and what works for you. When it comes to career building, you have to figure out what kind of work is best for you. It begins with the kind of work you do — what industry you want to work in. Then you go on to find whether you thrive better as an employee, a boss, or an independent contractor. The major dichotomy in how we work is a standoff between employees and employers — workers and bosses. Many find themselves happy with being generously compensated for executing tasks no real responsibility. Others want the higher pay and some responsibility, but they still want to not have everything riding on them at the end of the day. Finally, there are the free spirits — like me– who love what they do and prefer to get in, get paid, and get out. The freedom to do what you love without the huge hassle of being told what to do or the stress of having everything fall on your shoulders.
In my last year and change at Burberry, I found myself learning that I do not care for the workpolitics of the professional world. I do not want to be caught up in the pettiness and cattiness of trying to fit in and impress people who mean nothing to me. I don’t like to be controlled, and compromising who I am — becoming like a 2 year old to make the white bosses more comfortable — is not a way to live out my life over a period of time. I need to be free, so freelancing is the way for me.

Lesson 2: Never Live in Fear

Many of my co-workers at Burberry settled for a job that made them miserable because they allowed themselves to get comfortable and didn’t push the limits of what they could achieve. Many of the middle managers lived in pure fear of consequence for the smallest infraction — or the lack thereof. It was a discouraging environment, and upper level management did everything they could to ensure that they could put the fear of God into anyone they came across by way of abusing power and manipulating company policy to their own ends.
I found myself in many situations where I was bullied, verbally and professionally. There was a point when I allowed myself to change my ways, just enough, to get the big wigs off of my back. This was in conjunction with the results of my multiple HR complaints where my writing talents came in handy and to my aid. This was a tough time for me, as I had developed a character that refused to be afraid of anyone, and by the time I left the store, my spirit had been badly bruised, my mind warped, and my sense of self virtually depleted.
Fearless sign with road background
Then, again, I was faced with unfair scheduling against the reality of what I could afford, and finally, upper management got what they always wanted from me — my resignation. However, I left on my own terms and of my own free will. I found myself a warrior,  unafraid to fight the good fight! I took my power back in ways I didn’t know I could! After various life defeats that left me in a pattern of starting and never finishing anything, I finished, and I left with a significant increase in pay with a dream gig that Burberry management did everything they could to dangle in front of my face without ever giving me a real opportunity to achieve. In the end, by the grace of God, I won, and it felt amazing!

Lesson 3: Love Does Not Exist

The hardest and most painful lesson that can be learned is the lesson learned in love. This lesson rips your heart out and leaves a gut wrenching impression to last a lifetime. For the last time, in that toxic store, I learned my most important lesson: stop looking and hoping for a love that does not exist. For the last time, I totally and completely embarrassed myself on a quest for a dream lover. The one who would hold my heart in his hands and protect me in some way, and to my grand delusion, he manifested. There was a day when I heard his voice, and then I realized I had heard it somewhere. In my head whilst dreaming! Before I moved to New York, I had this image of my dream guy in my mind, and I could hear his voice and see his demeanor. I, as most of us do, subconsciously became attached to this figure, and when I found myself working at Burberry, I met his physical manifestation. However, this turned out to be my greatest lesson in dreams being nothing close to reality.
When I allowed myself to take a good look at him — when he wasn’t pissing me off by being a condescending boss — I became fond of him, or at least the dream I could see manifested in him. At the time, I was also going through a bad break up from the worst relationship in my life, and I wanted to have a mental placeholder to take my mind of my former lover. However, this innocent seed took root, and for some reason, the spirits made sure that there were abundant synchronicities to make me believe things were real. From his saying what I was thinking to his ability to respond to my moods, I was grossly mislead. I found myself obsessively seeking tarot and oracle readings to understand what could come between us and what I had to do to make things so. Dreams only work if we do, right?
However, I found myself in a deeply delusional whirl of embarrassment. At first, there was an air of mutual attraction, but then came my arch nemesis: a manifestation of everything I am and am not in one person. She was a new employee with a beautiful smile, and gorgeous shape, and long, beautiful flowing hair. Everything I am not. She came in, caught everyone’s attention, made everyone fall in love with her, and got everything she wanted, including my own job preference. Everything I have done in the past; everything I am. She, especially, caught the eye of my manifested dream lover. Immediately, I ceased to exist, not only to him, but also to everyone else. Suddenly, I was mediocre and obsolete — easily replaceable. I had no worth. I was nothing. I was on my way out the door everyone want to see me walk out of. Finally, they all found something better.ludwig-borne-losing-an-illusion
This sparked a jealous outrage in my soul, and I took it out on my dream lover. I took all that I knew of him and her, through experience and rumors, planted a seed in her mind — knowing she would run and gossip about it — and it was over. The wild fire spread, and everyone knew that I had feelings and that I wasn’t afraid to attack. Everyone knew I was crazy. Everyone saw my potential for obsession, and everyone really turned against me, even more than what they already had! I figured, if they must hate me, then allow me to give them good reason — and so I did. Lover boy then became distant. He didn’t know how to more forward as my boss, especially since my heart and mind combined would not budge from him. He didn’t know how to move forward as my friend, finally realizing that maybe his manipulation of others in subconscious revenge against a former lover would lead to his own demise. He had overplayed his hand, and I destroyed myself.
Finally, as I cleaned out my locker, I found myself at ease, finally able to realize that love does not exist. The dream lover I saw in my mind does not exist. The potential to face the reality of him does not exist. The magic that comes from love does not exist. What we perceive to be love is only obsessive delusion, and it is dangerous and toxic. The willingness to evolve on personal desires to compromise for the beloved only wears on the soul. Destroying yourself to hurt or benefit another is not love. This false illusion of love that we have been sold over time does not exist. There is no perfect, true love. Only settlement. Only an ongoing willingness to tolerate another person in a somewhat fair and even exchange of resources. There is companionship and partnership, but there is no such thing as love — true love.

Final Thoughts

With all the drama and trauma, the blessing that I received when I took a leap of faith to quit my steady job and return to a freelance life let me know that finally, I learned the important spiritual and physical lessons that I needed to learn. I finally faced and knocked out the various blocks to abundance and a better quality of life. I finally learned that obsessive love is not love, and that it really is okay to be happy alone with a career path that is fulfilling. There was once a time when I wanted love over money, and I believed that it was a virtuous choice. Yet, life taught me that choice would actually be more detrimental, and that kind of thinking came with a very closed off and naive view of life, love, and the institution of marriage and relationships.
While I will continue to need time to heal from the purifying fires of this experience, I can go forth in life confident that I have grown and matured in every way that I need to. I find that with all of the pain and trauma, the experience at that store did wonder’s in preparing me for dealing with to greater adventure known as life. Every person, every experience has its meaning and serves its purpose for a reason, during a season, bringing lessons that last a lifetime.

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