Finding Happiness and Inner Strength

For most of my life, I have been a chameleon, ever adapting to be what I believed people wanted me to be. Being of mixed race and adopted, my issues have been around acceptance and rejection. My belief was that if I wasn’t always carefree and jolly, if I ever ‘upset’ my parents, I would be sent back to the adoption home. Oftentimes I believed it best to judge and reject myself before others got the chance. Indeed, if anything painful or horrible happened it was my fault in some way. Even when I was raped at nineteen, I kept it to myself for fear of being rejected or accused of ‘asking for it.’

My deep fear of rejection resulted in great isolation, not only from others but also from myself. In the extreme, this has meant depression and flirtations with suicide. I ‘practiced’ taking overdoses and then vomiting, just so I knew that, if I ever needed to, I could swallow enough pills.

I had longed to find a way to be my true self, and to stop apologizing for being ‘too much’ or ‘not enough.’ I read Happiness Is A Choice and then embarked on the exciting adventure of Grand Summer Sequence; it felt dangerous, frightening, wild and exhilarating!

I was amazed to discover that a great deal of my beliefs about the world, others and myself were beliefs I had adopted in order to be ‘acceptable.’ I had been brought up to believe that wanting anything for myself was selfish and pointless and that, if I helped others achieve their desires, I might receive an indirect benefit. This meant I was dependent on others to get what I wanted. A major breakthrough for me was believing that what I want IS important and valid, for me and others.

Incredibly, during my first week of Grand Summer Sequence, my husband wrote to let me know he’d had an affair. This was a major blow for me and, of course, an opportunity to buy into my beliefs about rejection. I couldn’t have been in a better place to confront the myriad of feelings that came up for me. I received immense support and came to genuinely see that what seemed on the surface to be the worst experience of my life was actually a major opportunity, a gift. My husband, who had attended the first part of Grand Summer Sequence the previous year, joined me for the last 4 weeks. We worked hard on our relationship and ourselves and came away with a much deeper friendship. I am genuinely grateful for the upheaval that his affair caused because our relationship is the richer for it.

I now am more my true self. I am stronger and much happier. I am profoundly grateful for Grand Summer Sequence and the wonderful teachers and friends at The Option Institute. I AM a happy, loving, sincere person now, but also REAL and my care of others is born of genuine love rather than fear of rejection. I witness daily the benefits of Grand Summer Sequence and see that our children, friends and family are experiencing these benefits as well. I can triumphantly declare that I don’t experience or even believe in rejection anymore because I no longer reject myself. I feel empowered, strong and very much worth knowing, because I AM ME. Thank you so much.

Nimmy Burke, Actor, England

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