Photo by Stefan Lindeque
FlyWheel instructor Nour Mansour is known for her positivity and great energy and in many ways has had a fabulous year – she got remarried, has had some great holidays, has made a lot of fun memories with old and new friends. However, she says that losing her ex-husband – the father of her four-year-old son Reefy – at the start of the year has impacted her in a way she couldn’t have imagined and that, despite all of the positive things that have happened this year, it has made 2016 one of her hardest years yet. One of counsellor Helen Williams’ favourite therapy tools is to ask her clients to write a letter to themselves – past, present or future, depending on the scenario. So we asked Nour, 'If you could go back in time to give yourself a letter on January 1st this year, what would it say?' This was her answer:
A letter to myself on January 1st 2016
All right Nour, listen up. You have no idea what’s about to hit you, but you do know one thing, you will get through it. You have to.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be sad when it happens, on the contrary. Be sad, let the tears flow whenever they need to, don’t be scared to rely on all the people you have in your life that love you and want to support you.
Don’t be scared to be let down by people when you go through one of the worst things that will happen to you. Even if they do let you down, rise above it all and look to the support you do have. You have a beautiful son, an incredibly supportive husband, and two unbelievable step-children. You have a mother, brother, cousins, friends… the list is endless.
You will experience loss, and it will make you feel like things will never be the same again. They won’t. It will make you feel weak. You will be. It will make you question everything. Question away. And then, when you’ve done all of that over and over again, remember that you have already gone through so much, and you always made it out the other side.
Nour, you’re going to lose Shams this year. I wish you didn’t have to, but such is life. Now, Reefy needs you. He needs you to be real, to be strong, and to teach him everything his father wanted to.
He needs you to remind him of how special and beautifully flawed we all are. He needs you to cry when you’re sad, but then show him that, after you’ve let it out, you stand up again. You need to look into his eyes and see Shams in them and realise that he was Shams’ purpose on this planet, to create this beautiful little boy who will continue his legacy as a kind, pure soul with the energy of a million raging bulls.
But Nour, don’t forget, you have a life that needs living – a husband and kids that need giving, and yourself that needs loving.
Be kind and gentle and careful with your life. It’s precious, and it’s short. You’re going to experience so much this year and learn so much about yourself. Take notes but don’t judge yourself, or put time limits on when you should feel ‘better’.
Try to meditate, read, dance, laugh with friends, indulge, go to the movies, play with the kids and appreciate your life. You still have to live it. Live it truly and live it completely. Someone told me this before, and it’s perfect for you to remember this year: ‘Take a winding staircase all the way down to the cold, dark, lonely place in your heart of hearts. We all have it. Sit there for a bit, feel the sadness and the loss, give it a little hug, and then climb back up the stairs. Visit that place often, and eventually it’ll start to feel a little warmer.'
Find more in our open letter series here