I have been living in Los Angeles for a year now and I can’t help but think about all of the amazing things I have learned since I moved here. I wanted to share some of these lessons with you to finally open up about a few things, and hopefully, help someone that is going through a similar situation.
Moving to LA was not easy for me because I was in the midst of a very stressful personal situation, but making the decision has turned out to be one of the best of my life!
Here are the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during my first year in LA.
DIVORCE IS NOT A FAILURE
If you have been following me for a while, then I’m pretty sure you noticed some drastic changes in my personal life. My marriage ended a little bit over a year ago, and as confusing as it sounds, it was probably the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me.
One of the hardest things I dealt with during this process of healing was hearing this constant voice in my head saying “I failed at life, and I failed at my marriage.” Nobody gets married expecting a divorce; I certainly never thought I was going to get a divorce even though I realized a few years down the line that we were definitely not meant to be together.
Throughout this year, I have learned that my divorce is not a failure in my life – it was a necessary stepping stone that I needed to go through to find myself and reinvent my life! Most importantly, I learned that my divorce does not define me nor will I allow it to haunt me in my next relationship.
Have you ever heard the saying “out of bad comes good”? Now I believe it! I’m someone completely different today than I was 5 years ago. I love life, and most importantly, I love myself. My “failed” marriage made me who I am today, and because of that, I’m able to see life in a different perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I go through my ups and downs like everyone else, but I feel like now my life has a purpose and that is the best feeling in the world!
FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY TO HEALING
Oh boy, this is probably the most powerful lesson I learned this year. Forgiving someone who has hurt you is not easy, but it is not impossible, I can tell you that.
The day that my ex-husband decided to end our marriage was by far the worst day of my life, and it wasn’t because I was against it, like I said – I knew we needed to end our marriage – but the way he did it…that was probably the most painful thing I have ever experienced. But now, I actually see that day as the biggest blessing I have ever received.
A lot of my friends and family asked me, how did you get over your divorce? And I always say, I forgave him and I forgave myself because I also did a lot of things to hurt him. Let me now tell you something… I spent 4 months crying every.single.day. It was a vicious cycle of me reading texts, looking at photos, re-living memories in my head, being upset 24/7, listening to sad songs, you name it… of course, I was not going to get over it like that, but one day with the help of God I said to myself: enough is enough!
I took action and over time, as I studied the word of God with a friend of mine, God started to reveal to me how damaging and unhealthy it was to live life with so much anger about another person. Most importantly, he revealed to me the benefits of letting go and forgiving.
When you forgive someone who has hurt you, you are actually doing yourself a huge favor! I learned this from one of my favorite pastors, Joyce Meyer. She said in one of her podcasts “as you release the bitterness and anger in your heart, you are able to live with real peace and joy” and I’m the living example of that. As soon as I applied that to my life, I began to see changes. All of the sudden…I started to get more opportunities, sad thoughts started to disappear, I was happier and happier every day. I saw how my world changed right in front of my eyes!
At the end of the day, forgiveness is a choice, and you have the choice to forgive and move on, have a great life and wish everyone well… trust me, it is the key to happiness!
GOD IS GOOD
Finding God was the biggest gift I have ever received from my sister. Because of her, I became really really close to God and I have never looked back ever since. God is not only good, in fact, he is pretty amazing and he can do the impossible!
The hardest moment of life was definitely my divorce. The separation happened really quickly. I woke up one day and my life was a complete mess. I was depressed, unhealthy, I was a sad soul, but as soon as I started to trust in God, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, I love my life, which is far from perfect, but I’m okay with that. I have learned to love my current situation and the season I am in. I’m also grateful for every single situation I have been through, including my divorce and when life gets difficult or doesn’t make sense, I can trust Him to work things out His way and in His perfect timing.
I AM WHERE I NEED TO BE
Moving to a new city with no friends and no family was extremely scary and not the easiest choice for me given I was in the beginning stages of my divorce, but for some reason, while everyone was telling me “you should move back to Panama to be with your loved ones during this difficult time,” there was something inside of me that was telling me “go to LA, don’t quit your plan!”
I’m so glad I took the risk because I knew my life needed a fresh new start. See, the original plan was to move here with my ex and start a new life here in LA, but I quickly learned that moving here meant the end of an old life and the beginning of an extraordinary life full of blessings. I look back and I can’t believe how far I have come since that happened. I’m telling you…Everything happens for a reason!
I also used to be this person that always thought the grass was greener on the other side. I would constantly think of ways of making my life “better” – whatever that meant. Today, I have learned to enjoy my life the way it is – with the ups and downs – because now I understand that in adversity lies a hidden opportunity to learn something important about life and grow as a person.
LOVE WHAT YOU DO
Last year, I didn’t feel great about my blog as much as I should of. One of the reasons why was probably because my ex-husband wasn’t a fan of it and also because I hated pretending I had this “perfect marriage.” I felt like I was lying all the time, pretending I was happy when in reality I was so broken inside.
Now, that I found myself and reinvented my life, I realized that I truly love what I do. I love creating content for you here on The Girl From Panama. I’m passionate about this career I have chosen. Ever since I was little, I dreamt of working in fashion and doing what I do today. It is beautiful to see how when you remove some bad things in your life, you start to see the good in other areas. Not going to lie, some days are difficult and it’s very stressful to run your own company, but you have to look at the big picture.
My advice? Find a job you truly love and you will enjoy your life more and more every day. Don’t settle and don’t let anyone tell that you should quit. I was so close to shutting down my blog one day and I’m so glad I didn’t! The Girl From Panama is here to stay!
Sorry for the super long post! I hope this is the beginning of a closer relationship with all of you. Thank you for reading my blog and allowing me to have this career. Love you all! – Pam
Photos by Felicia Lasala.