isabelle thye

Sometimes, loving yourself means throwing a life away

“Death is giving meaning to your life. You’re the one who throws your life away.” — The Untethered Soul

My heart skipped a beat when I saw this line.

THROW-YOUR-LIFE-AWAY.

A year ago, these exact four words were like a heavy pile that pinned me down on the ground, so harsh and so strong that I was powerless to bounce back.

The journey of losing my soul

I felt like the luckiest person in the world when a mentor of mine offered me an apprenticeship in the international MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) industry.

Despite the vision of changing the world and the opportunity to be part of a UN agency, I soon realised that the reality of making an impact wasn’t as rosy as it sounds.

I was always racing against time, taught to live life second to work.

One day, being late to an appointment with my mentor, he told me that ‘you’re throwing your life away’, followed by a 2 hours lecture on how I was privileged to have the opportunity to be ‘world class’ and how I underrate the opportunity.

Tears of regret rolled down my cheeks, I actually felt like I was throwing my life away.

The privilege of shortcut

My mentor used to tell me that he saved me 20 years of time when he put me in the same room with leaders and diplomats.

I learned the trick of finding the ‘hotspot’ of every person we met, mapping out the web of values exchange, and approaching business meeting like a chess game.

I was always cautious of the diplomatic protocol, always seeking for approval from people who are at least 20 years senior.

In the game of power, politics and resources, I swam in a world where I couldn’t be myself. How could I touch people’s lives when I lost touch with myself?

Life is not something you get, it’s something you experience

While I truly appreciate the opportunity to earn a seat at an important table, the pain I felt told me that it was not the mountain I was meant to climb.

I had to ask myself: what kind of life do I want to live? Whose life am I living? Whose rule am I living by?

When I self-published my life story, I realised that being able to interact with readers gave me more fulfilment than shaking hands with important people.

The height of achievement didn’t matter when I couldn’t love the person I was becoming.

Life means a lot more when I am able to experience each moment fully, say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.

Maybe, my version of changing the world starts with doing the little things right, spending 20 years to build something from ground up.

The life I threw away gave me a chance to live, to love, have a go at making an impact with all that I am.


Hi, I am Isabelle, author of ‘The Art of Owning Your Story’, I write about conscious living and personal growth, building a podcast called ‘Own Your Story’. If you enjoy what you read, subscribe to get the latest contents sent to your mailbox! Thank you 🙂

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