Diane and I initially met on a private FB group, where we interacted frequently, we shared a lot of similar values, and steadily increased communication, until we eventually met in person at her place, when she hosted a brunch for women who shared their high hopes for Libya. There were women working for the UN, for NGOs, for charities, private companies, and a few small business owners such as myself. I am still in touch with about half a dozen of the women I met that day, including Diane, whom I last saw at a charity bazaar she helped organize, where all the proceeds went to finance a newly opened, privately run battered women’s shelter in Tripoli (a novelty in the country). I still have a couple of things I bought there on that day, and remember her fondly each time I look at them!
We parted ways shortly thereafter, due to the instability that ensued in the country, and we’re an ocean apart now, but we keep in touch via FB, messenger, and email. This is what she shared about herself:
About me: Life has given me an immense appreciation of the abilities and strength we all have. I would like others to know that the thing I know for sure is how much more meaningful and enjoyable our lives are when we take the time to appreciate those around us. This has always been a core value to me. However, it took me many years to gain the self esteem I needed to ensure giving didn’t also deplete me.
On my life goals: It makes me laugh out loud when I remember my goals. I wrote them out very, very clearly in a school project. I achieved them beyond my wildest dreams! 😉
a) Marry a tall, dark, handsome man;
b) Have beautiful children;
c) Have a home with windows I would clean with windolene and newspaper (I was 10, with guidance I could have thought them through a little more! But it shows the power of writing down your goals).
On lessons learnt: I learnt how little I actually know and that I need to listen more (both to my intuition and to what others are actually trying to say, not what I think I’m hearing). I definitely didn’t choose an easy path, that’s for sure. I was naïve and believed I knew what I was doing was right for my husband and children. There is much I could share but the main lesson I learnt was that life experiences don’t matter as much as what you take from them.
What surprised me most: My life has been a string of surprises, this has surprised me most. I had no idea life came with such responsibility, joy, and pain.
On motivation: I haven’t always been motivated, and spent years going with the flow as long as I aligned with my core values. I am, however, very driven and do not compromise these values, so when I’m aware something must be done, motivation isn’t required, determination and focus take over and do all the work.
On friendship: Friendships remind me of my journey through life, they add joy to the moments we share and I love how each friend adds something to my general knowledge and understanding of life.
The best advice ever: The best and worst advice I ever received was from my father when he heard I was moving to Libya. His advice was “when in Rome, Di, don’t expect people to change for you, you are their guest.” It absolutely shaped the way I interacted with everyone I met in Libya and allowed me to learn more about Libyan people than if I had set boundaries. When I look back at the compromises I made and the inflexibility I imposed upon myself and my family, I realise my father had no idea what he was talking about. 😉
Legacy: I would most like to be remembered for any joy or ease I brought to others.
Why I care: I helped because I could, there was no real hardship to me, and if it helped anyone just a little, then alhamdulillah (thank God). I wish I could have done much more. I don’t feel as if I do anything unusual, but perhaps I surround myself with people who care. I am motivated to do what is right and to give back a little of what has been given to me.
Our best contribution would be: To be kinder to ourselves, others, and our planet, and try to leave this world a better place than we found it.
Diane is Motivational Coach, Advanced Hypnotherapist, and Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming with EFT and EMDR, she can be found on her Facebook page:Diane in Manchester