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Chapter One

Surmounting Obstacles to Achieve Freedom

What constitutes a barrier? A barrier represents anything that obstructs or hinders movement, whether it's a problem, an individual, or a challenging circumstance.

 

Robert A Schuller, a renowned author and televangelist said; Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do. The adversities we encounter either propel us to surpass them or tempt us to surrender. Each of us is inherently unique, a fact universally acknowledged. Adopting a pragmatic perspective on life allows us to discover valuable lessons within our trials.

I once stumbled upon the phrase, Don't wait for the storm to pass. Learn to dance in the rain. Amidst the global turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, many find themselves in a state of panic and confusion. The most prudent course of action involves adhering to safety protocols while refraining from excessive worry, as fretting only exacerbates matters.

The pandemic has wrought separation, loss, and economic downturn, threatening to isolate us all, whether symptomatic or not. Often, the underlying issue is the fear of contracting the virus, a fear rooted in falsehoods that can wreak havoc on the psyche.

The pervasive fear leads individuals to overcompensate, disrupting their lives. While caution is necessary, allowing fear to dominate impedes freedom and fulfilment. Therefore, it's imperative to strike a balance between vigilance and maintaining a sense of normalcy.

Trials and setbacks are inevitable, but waiting for them to subside can be futile.  Staying occupied and responsible, prioritizing precautionary measures, is paramount. Succumbing to the negativity propagated by the media only fosters anxiety and despair.

For many, remote work presents an opportunity to spend more time with family—a silver lining amidst the chaos. However, it also poses challenges, particularly for parents juggling work and childcare responsibilities.

In a recent BBC interview, a guest's attempt to balance work and family life was inadvertently disrupted by his children, illustrating the complexities of remote work. While some view this arrangement as a blessing, others perceive it as a burden.

Conversations with unemployed individuals reveal a sense of despair and a belief that life offers no prospects. Yet, adversity often conceals opportunities for innovation and adaptation. Rather than assigning blame, embracing creativity and resilience is essential for navigating challenging times. Many are reluctant to take risks, paralyzed by fear of failure. However, growth and success often require stepping outside one's comfort zone. Embracing uncertainty and learning from mistakes are integral parts of the journey toward achievement.

Overcoming fear involves challenging negative thoughts and fostering a positive mindset. Seeking support when needed can provide invaluable assistance on this journey towards personal growth and liberation.

Sometimes, it's essential to be self-reliant, meaning we must depend on ourselves to fulfil our needs for survival. While we rely on others, there are moments when assistance may not be readily available, and we must navigate challenges independently.

I recall a period when I unexpectedly lost my job a few years ago. This experience prompted me to realize the importance of having a contingency plan. No one is irreplaceable; a sudden job loss can leave us stranded. This realization motivated me to enrol in a fashion design school while still employed as a teacher, ensuring I was prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Eventually, when I was unexpectedly laid off, I was relieved to have acquired additional skills, particularly as a single mother responsible for two children.

Being a single mother underscored the importance of financial stability, prompting me to prioritize equipping myself with skills to sustain my family. While optimism is vital, realistic planning is equally essential, particularly for those with dependents.

Rather than dwelling on problems, I learned to seek solutions and embrace opportunities for personal growth. For instance, I pursued courses in drapery design and honed my sewing skills, which proved valuable during challenging times.

Employment provides a sense of security, yet it's crucial to recognize its limitations. Grateful for the opportunities afforded by my employers, I understand that not everyone is suited for entrepreneurship, which demands financial investment, dedication, and self-discipline.

While employment offers stability, one's innate talents and skills remain immune to termination. My decision to enhance my skill set was influenced by my mother's experience, who had to quit her job due to childcare challenges. I believe every individual, especially women tasked with family responsibilities, should possess a skill set to navigate life's uncertainties.

Facing adversity, particularly job loss, instilled in me a determination not to replicate my mother's experience. Surrendering to challenges would only disadvantage my children. Resilience is key; in times of hardship, we must persevere and refuse to succumb to weakness. Life's challenges may be daunting, but surrendering is never the answer. Instead, we must cultivate the strength to endure and overcome adversity.

Chapter Two

Embrace Resourcefulness

Encountering challenging circumstances has been a recurring theme in my life. When I found myself pregnant with each of my children, I lacked the support of a strong family or social network. However, necessity drove me to become adept at navigating single motherhood—a role that demands relentless dedication.

Balancing work responsibilities with childcare is undeniably demanding, can often leave parents feeling overwhelmed. Yet, surrendering is never the solution. In some cases, parents may even feel compelled to relinquish their duties when faced with a child's challenging behaviours, particularly if it escalates to violence.

During a particularly arduous phase of parenthood with my last two children, I grappled with minimal assistance, particularly during early shifts at work. While I received sporadic help from friends and neighbours initially, circumstances eventually shifted, forcing me to chart my own course. I vividly recall a period where my workdays stretched from dawn to dusk, leaving me scrambling for reliable childcare solutions. So, I approached my manager and asked for support, which was to allow me to miss lunch time, and used that time to resolve my childcare issue.

 

I am aware that single parenting is challenging, and this is why I am using my story to help other single parent to navigate their way out of their dilemmas. Overcoming the hurdles that hinder single mothers became my mission. Single parenthood, as I've experienced first hand, isn't straightforward and I had to draw upon my intuition and inner strength to help me navigate as I go along. My vividly remembering how my own mother's endured difficulties in her relationship whilst rearing her children. I watched her struggled and that serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of complacency. Witnessing her struggle to break free from that cycle, I resolved never to succumb to a similar fate.

Consequently, when confronted with adversity, I refused to succumb. Instead, I embraced the challenge head-on, seeking out solutions through sheer determination and resourcefulness. My journey taught me that adversity, far from being insurmountable, often serves as a catalyst for growth.

Reflecting on the myriad obstacles I've encountered; I'm reminded of the power of positive thinking
in navigating tumultuous waters. Faced with the spectres of returning to a life marred by domestic
violence, I chose resilience.

Push Past Barriers emerged from a realization that my struggles were not unique; countless others grapple with similar hardships daily. Engaging with diverse perspectives and motivational content, I discovered a common thread of resilience woven through tales of triumph over adversity.

 

My journey out of domestic violence, chronicled in my book Overcoming, epitomizes this resilience. Though unsure of the outcome, I refused to be paralyzed by self-pity or regret. Instead, I clung to faith, pushed past fear, and steadfastly pursued a brighter future.

Today, I stand in a place of newfound strength and stability. While my journey has been fraught with challenges, it has also been imbued with invaluable lessons. Amidst moments of isolation and uncertainty, I persevered, recognizing that adversity is not a roadblock but rather a springboard for personal growth.

Embracing fear as a companion rather than an adversary, I likened my circumstances to a perilous
plane ride. Confronted with the choice to remain aboard or leap into the unknown, I opted for the
latter, trusting that my metaphorical parachute would guide me to safety.

Life, I've come to realize, is a series of calculated risks, each presenting an opportunity for growth. Though fear may cloud our vision, it also serves as a compass, guiding us toward untapped potential. As I continue my journey, I do so with a renewed sense of purpose, fortified by the knowledge that every obstacle surmounted is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

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