The Possibility to Truly Live

by Nicole Serafin, aged 40, Australia

I thought that I had the perfect relationship: a partner who was totally trustworthy, supportive and always allowing me to do whatever I felt to – he never questioned my decisions or my choices. We had a great life; travelling overseas regularly, being able to buy whatever we wanted to, whenever we wanted to, had great friends, three dogs and an amazing property. Along with a successful business which I had built up from scratch in an area I had only just moved to.

Things were going well and I could not really ask for anything more – that was on a superficial level. We were kept busy with work and living a busy life full of many different distractions, some of which were maintaining the property we lived on, looking after our dogs, the business… and sitting back having the occasional drink and joint. The ‘occasional drink and joint’ was our way of rewarding ourselves for all the hard work we had done either earlier that day or that week; also it was a way of dealing with and trying to forget any of the stresses that the week or day had presented.

I began to consider, why was it that we needed a reward for all that we had done or put up with, why was it that we could not just enjoy what we had or what we had achieved without having to reward ourselves? Was it possible that we would be able to appreciate all that we had and all that we had achieved without drugs or alcohol? I began to make some small changes to my life and the way that I lived: soon it became obvious that it was possible to live without the drugs, alcohol or rewards, even though it was something that I was definitely not used to and found difficult to accept. I was surrounded by people and a society that stated otherwise, I had been conditioned to live in a particular way that encouraged and supported the rewards, no matter what they may be… some being more socially accepted than others. We, as individuals and as a society, had become so used to being rewarded (not just as young adults but also from birth), that we had forgotten how to live any other way.  

It was a sad moment to think that the only way that we could appreciate ourselves or what we had achieved was by rewarding ourselves with something, whether it was a nice meal, a drink, a joint, a gift, or a trip away to somewhere nice. When I look back, it had always been the same. When I was young I was given something as a reward if I had been well behaved, done as I was asked, or achieved something that was pleasing to another. This was a pattern that continued in my life and I had begun to reward myself as I had been rewarded as a child; in the same way that my parents also rewarded themselves.

I had no idea how to admire or appreciate myself for who I was, or the things that I did, without these rewards. I began to realise that, yes, it was ok to treat myself, but I needed to look at why I was doing this, and what was the purpose behind it. Universal Medicine allowed me to come to realise that I did not need an excuse or a reason to appreciate myself, nor did I need to buy myself gifts to reinforce that appreciation. However, I did need to relearn how to appreciate myself for who I was.

Well, to appreciate myself for who I was, without having to achieve or succeed, without the drugs, alcohol or excessive lifestyle, would be a whole new world for me (a world that at first I couldn’t imagine). However, with the support of what was being presented by Universal Medicine, I was able to feel that this was a possibility. That I was enough being me… and that yes, I was able to live in a way that at first I thought was not at all possible. Of course, my relationship that looked perfect was in fact far from it, and once I started making changes in my life and taking more responsibility for the way I was living, the truth of the relationship started to become exposed… and then it broke down. This was not due to Universal Medicine, but due to the fact that my relationship had many faults and flaws in it from the very beginning. These faults and flaws neither of us had ever dealt with, but instead pushed aside with a few drinks, joints or distractions of some kind… pushed aside until the next time they reared their ugly heads. With all of the distractions in life, along with the alcohol and drugs, there was never the openness to want to, or even be bothered to go there in the first place and address whatever was not working. Without the drugs, alcohol or the distractions I was able to see clearly that our relationship was one of an arrangement and convenience for us both.

We were living a great life, mostly funded by me, which was my choice. I wanted to live a particular lifestyle and he was able to live that life with me. When I began to look closely at why I was living in a particular way and started to change things he was not ready for these changes. He was not prepared for his life to change and that was his choice, a choice that I accepted. Every person’s experience is different; for me, my relationship broke down because we had never addressed the issues at hand in the first place, instead living a life of convenience rather than a life of truth.

I have now gone on to marry an amazing man and have a beautiful daughter, with a son on the way. We live a life that we both appreciate; we are both willing to address any issue that may arise and to deal with whatever is not working so as to continue building a life and a relationship based on honesty, truth and love. Our lives are now one that we enjoy completely… without the drugs, alcohol or rewards.

Yes, we still buy ourselves things and enjoy beautiful meals and holidays, but it is not as a reward; it is out of appreciation for ourselves, each other and what we have, it is no longer coming from an emptiness or as a distraction to fill that emptiness. We do not brush aside issues that need to be addressed, instead opting to confront them no matter how uncomfortable they may make us feel. For this I thank Universal Medicine, for the support and knowledge that they have shared with me and many others over the years. It has allowed me to see and feel that there is more to life and that there are possibilities out there for things to be different.

204 thoughts on “The Possibility to Truly Live

  1. Life motivated by rewards has a very subtle undertone that says ‘What’s in it for me?’ and feels somewhat revengeful. This way of living is not uncommon, and equally with this not uncommon outcome of not being met, we seek more rewards. I get a sense that this is just another aspect of withdrawal, that it does not activate our true essence for us to feel truly loved.

  2. Appreciating ourselves for who we are and not what we do.. this is such a huge turnaround for most of us who grew up with concept of being rewarded for ‘being good’…good behaviour meaning well behaved and not causing any problems – complying with someone else’s idea of what being ‘good’ and doing well is, and all based on behaviour. To start to appreciate – even accept ourselves – for who we are and not what we do can feel like a significant challenge to start with, but as we drop the layers of protection, start connecting to and expressing what we can feel, slowly the self acceptance, appreciation and love builds, and becomes a foundation for everything else.

  3. Life teaches us all of the time, we know that our actions have consequences and choose to be aware of it or not – but in time we do see the truth and the results of our consequences.

  4. If we continually need to reward ourselves at the end of the day simply because we haven’t stopped and appreciated such things as the simple moments of clarity, wisdom and love that we have experienced throughout our day we will forever be stuck in the superficiality and survival mode of daily human life.

  5. Seeking distractions and remaining in reactions feels really miserable. But that misery only comes to light after experiencing what it’s like to address issues and express what we are feeling to ourselves and others.

  6. I think we all can feel that there is more to life, or at least we can come to that conclusion since the life we try to make work always have holes in it, and no matter how exact we fulfill that picture we have of the perfect life it’s still never enough.

  7. Nicole, this is really interesting; ‘I did need to relearn how to appreciate myself for who I was.’ I can feel that we can get conditioned in society to appreciate what we do rather than who we are.

  8. We use the Word ‘reward’ in two different ways: one as way to celebrate our choices, which means that we made ‘the right’ choice, and then we also use it as a synonym of relief, which entails that the choices we seek relief from were not that great. The second one, though is more honest than the first one. We reward ourselves only because of our self-worth issues which are behind the choices we make that created the tension in the body that needs relief.

  9. Having beautiful and loving activities as an expression of oneself, rather than as rewards, brings a whole different dimension and way of living to the one that is at present generally accepted.

  10. It is ironic to acknowledge that so often the form of reward with which we reward ourselves is actually harmful, i.e. alcohol, sugary things, etc.

    1. Curiously I looked up the origin and definition of the word Reward. It’s a repayment. So then if our repayment is harmful to the body was what we put out loving or also equally harming?

    2. It is very interesting to note that most of our ‘rewards’ are in fact detrimental to our bodies – so what is really going on here?

  11. I like this distinction between appreciation and reward. Reward seems to be something that keeps us where we are, it says – well done for that and asks for no more. Whereas appreciation is like a constant beholding, because with it there is an knowing of who you are and of what you have yet to discover. Appreciation, I find, is encouraging for more.

  12. Reward for me means something that is given in exchange for something, and is never free. I might have worked very hard or done something really well, but if I needed a reward, could it be that I didn’t really enjoy doing whatever I have done and perhaps there was an element of resentment for it to be recognized and reciprocated in the form of reward? So if I need to sprinkle my life with rewards, what is going on? And here I can feel how I can play with words – reward/celebration/appreciation etc. and trick myself into justifying or judging whatever I call what I do but really, in my honesty, I do know what is going on, and it is worth appreciating.

    1. It will be interesting to observe what happens if I bring more appreciation into my life, will that reduce my desire for a reward?

  13. Yes we can absolutely live a ‘normal’ life but the intention is to support ourselves rather than escape the misery we are experiencing…the two may look similar but the quality of life is completely different.

  14. It’s amazing how appreciating ourselves we open up a much deeper dialogue with who we are, how we move and how we live everyday and thus we are able to grow from these opportunities also. Appreciation is a much bigger expression because, we are not only appreciating who we are but also confirming others within this movement too and that is very powerful.

    1. I love what you shared about appreciation here kellyzarb, ‘It’s amazing how appreciating ourselves we open up a much deeper dialogue with who we are, how we move and how we live everyday and thus we are able to grow from these opportunities also.’

  15. Nicole, I love what you are sharing here; ‘we are both willing to address any issue that may arise and to deal with whatever is not working so as to continue building a life and a relationship based on honesty, truth and love’, this is very gorgeous and feels like a truly loving relationship.

    1. Yes Thomas, the reward reduces us. We are much more than enough just for being who we are and this is complete in itself.

  16. Lovely sharing Nicole, thank you. Yes, it seems we seek rewards when there is a lack of appreciation – and this lack is because we do not appreciate ourselves. This is such an important thing to understand and to live. It is a ‘new’ pulse to life, a pulse of appreciation.

  17. The biggest “reward” these days for me is to spend time with myself. I’m with me all day but often I can be so focussed on the doing that I’m not really with me. The times during the day where it’s all about me and my connection – the shower, putting on my makeup, cooking…these moments are growing and they are a lovely foundation in my life.

  18. Exploring life without drugs and alcohol is a brave step because it opens the door for who you truly are to start to come out and be expressed, which brings change.

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