Knowing your self-worth can help you unlock your full potential and discover endless possibilities. However, seeing yourself in a new light takes courage and the willingness to stray from your comfort zone. For most of us, the process happens gradually over time, and requires a lot of inner reflection.

For Celeste Frenette, it took a life-shattering event for her to realize her value. It all began on a cold, rainy November night.

“I ran out of the house in the rain, sobbing and shaking,” she recounts. “I was done. This time, I was going to leave. He yelled for me to wait, and I stood there at the end of the driveway as rain washed over me.”

In this moment, she had to make a decision. She felt empty and tired of hearing the same lies day after day. Promises kept getting broken, but she remained faithful and hoped things would change. One night, though, Celeste couldn’t bring herself to endure the pain any longer, and knew she deserved much better.

Her fiancé wouldn’t let her go that easily, after all they’d been through. He ran to her with an engagement ring and proposed to her in the driveway. He told her he didn’t want anyone else, but still, the words seemed hollow.

“As a little girl I dreamed about what it would be like to be loved. To have someone choose me to get engaged, to get married, have a family, have a home,” she said. “This really wasn’t how I thought it would go.”

In that moment, she didn’t know what to say. She’d waited years to hear someone say “marry me,” but imagined it differently in her head. She didn’t want someone to bribe her with a proposal just so she wouldn’t leave.

Knowing your self-worth sometimes means losing it completely

She saw only two possible paths she could take. One path would lead her to marrying him, of course. They’d been together for 10 years since high school, so marriage seemed like the next step for them. After all, he wanted to marry her, and she and her family loved him.

“And, there was this pathway to the right where I would turn around, leave, and never look back,” Celeste said. “Where I wouldn’t tolerate another lie, and instead of choosing him, I’d choose me. That pathway scared me – it felt dark and unclear and unfamiliar.”

In her head, she imagined this path being lonely, painful, and without love. She never thought that it could end up being beautiful, and freeing. Maybe she’d actually feel happier taking this path.

However, in that moment, she chose to take the safe route.

“I didn’t know yet that in life, I’d get more of whatever I said yes to,” Celeste says. “Over the years, our marriage was cluttered with more heartache. I reached many crossroads, and every time I held my breath, waves of knowing rushed into my body, and I pushed them down.”

She kept choosing the path to the left, the safe path, even though it caused so much pain. To her, it felt like the only option, because she didn’t know what awaited her on the other path. Her unhappy marriage drained her energy, but it was familiar to her. However, the alarm bells kept going off. She learned that knowing your self-worth comes with doubt that one must push through.

“When I was pregnant with my daughter, I found myself standing by the kitchen sink sobbing, gasping for air, pneumonia filling my lungs…the grief of abandoning myself was overwhelming me.”

The pain of taking the left path had finally caught up with her.

Celeste had reached her breaking point at last

“For 16 years, I kept telling myself I’d be fine. I pushed through,” she said.

She told herself it could’ve been worse, and that things would improve soon. However, all the pain built up inside her, and her body kept reminding her that she really wasn’t okay.

“This path that felt safer, wasn’t safe for me,” Celeste realized. “Everything that I had suppressed for years began to rise up, demanding to be seen until I was in the hospital and I could barely breathe.”

The path less followed might be the right one to knowing your self-worth

During this time, she had days where she felt like giving up. Every breath seemed more painful than the last. She felt like the regret and heartache was suffocating her.

“My body was showing me what my heart already knew. A nurse sat beside me one day; she looked me in the eyes and said: ‘You need to want to breathe. You have to fight for yourself.’”

However, Celeste didn’t know what she was fighting for anymore. In her head, her life was over, and she felt like her daughter deserved a better example. She would never want her daughter trapped in a marriage like hers.

Celeste said this:

“I was at a crossroads again, but this time, I needed to choose a different path. Not the safe one, or the easy one, but the right one. I wouldn’t survive the one I was one.”

Her intuition screamed loud and clear, and she knew what she had to do. She found her inner strength, and breathed despite the pain in her chest.

“I decided the time of abandoning myself was over. My daughter will meet a mother who isn’t afraid of the truth, who keeps her promises to herself. Who loves herself enough to rewrite her story and who makes the same choices for herself that she would make for the person most precious to her. ”

Knowing your self-worth means choosing yourself, even if it feels scary

“Our lives are not already written, they are being written. I’m writing mine right now, and it’s not over yet,” Celeste says.

We all reach a crossroads at some point in our lives. We can choose the left path that feels safe and familiar, where we don’t have to change. However, to stay here, we have to give up our power, our inner fire.

“When you look to the right, maybe it’s dimly lit, maybe it’s scary, but to your core you know it’s freedom. If you’re at a crossroads in your life right now, take a deep breath. Your birthright is in these choices. These big and little everyday choices make up the story of your life, and the choices may be hard, but they’re yours. At any given moment in time, you have it within you to choose differently.”