The moment you know who you are, a sense of empowerment will never leave you. The Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges once said “Any life, however long and complicated it may be, actually consists of a single moment — the moment when a man knows forever who he is.” Have you ever noticed how a lot of people don’t really know who they are or what they want to do with their lives? People who don’t know where their passion lies?

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Years ago, I met someone who I thought was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She also seemed to have the kind of life that would tick all the right boxes. She had a job at a big corporation, a house, a supportive and caring husband, a cute baby, a busy social life and looks to die for. At the time, I had a dead-end job — one of those you do just to get by. I wanted to do something else and knowing how passionate and driven I have always been about making films, she remarked that I was very lucky because at least, I knew what I wanted to do even if I wasn’t doing it then. She went on about how she wished she knew what she wanted to do with her life. Suddenly, that beautiful woman looked sad, lost and slightly resentful of the life she was leading. Despite her youth, beauty and money, she felt invisible.

As a woman, there have been times when my heart has been broken. Times when I have cried my eyes out, but this has just been temporary. Come the next day, I was back to how I have always been since the day I discovered who I was. By remembering that, the pain of lost love didn’t matter anymore. I had my worth, my pride, my own self-respect, a talent to develop and a life to live. Yes, you will encounter people who may not value you, but guess what? It’s not important. It doesn’t matter because it is you — and only you — who can value yourself. Moreover, no one can hurt you or lower your self-esteem without your permission, so make sure you don’t allow this to happen and you will be fine.

One of my all-time favorite artists is Maria Callas. You could say she had it all, but the one thing she appeared to lack was a sense of validation. The whole world was in love with her voice, her effortless elegance, her beauty. However, Maria just wanted the validation of the one man who wouldn’t give it to her, Mr. Aristotle Onassis. “You are just a larynx,” he once told her, and unfortunately, Maria seemed to love Onassis more than she loved herself. During the years they were together, Maria gave up on her singing career while allowing Onassis to squeeze the life out of this delicate flower, infatuated with a man who out of the blue, left her for another bloom, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy.

“The Invisible Woman” or “I love You not” wouldn’t have been made, had I not experienced life the way I did on my journey of self-discovery. Whoever you are and whatever you do, make sure you use any experience you have — good or bad — as the clay you need to transform your sculpture into a piece of art. You may not see it for a while, but there is always something to learn and gain from any misfortune that may befall you. Life is one big opportunity.