Integral Life Coaching

Independence: The Theme of My Story



(548  words – 4 min read)

I’ve been thinking… is having the power of independent decision making freedom? And if so, is that what I was after in my life? Is that the theme of my story?

Throughout my life, the word “Independence” has been the goal, the motive, and the driver of my life. Ever since I remember, I wanted to be independent and to be able to live the way I wanted; beyond clichés. Being raised under an authoritative and male dominant culture, and a totalitarian government, it was always my biggest dream to be able to make decisions on my own without the influence and manipulation of parents, husbands, or the government.

I always felt, when someone else made a decision for me, I didn’t use my intelligence. It always made me feel I was not intelligent enough, not good enough. But I also knew that when we find the courage to make decisions for ourselves, using our intelligence, we feel confident. I knew it would feel liberating and would help me live my life based on my own core values and not others’. I knew it because my favorite author “Samad Behrangi” seeded the dream of independence in my head early in my childhood by his magical book “The Little Black Fish”. The little black fish made the decision to leave the little pond she, her mother and her ancestors have lived in forever, to go explore the sea and find something bigger to live for. She made her decision, left the pond to go find the big sea, became independent, and led her life for bigger dreams.  In the end, she sacrificed her life but she was not regretful because she realized her dream of seeing the big sea. She became my role model.

Repressed under an authoritarian structure, it took me a while to realize that I could become independent, make my own decisions, and use my own intelligence to lead my life.

Yes, this is the theme of my story. My story shows how I fought to make my own decisions. All I had to go through. I had to get married to come out of the dark shelter of authoritative parents, to get divorced to leave controlling spouses, and to leave my motherland and emigrate to the west to liberate myself from a totalitarian regime. It took a lot to take ownership of my own life and live it under my own leadership.

By making one right decision, I moved one step forward but then wrong decisions put me 3 steps backward. I then moved 5 steps forward and 2 steps backward but I moved forward. The more decisions I made on my own, the more confident I became to make another decision. I love all the decisions I have made; wrong and right! I feel liberated and powerful. I feel I have my life under my control. I feel “Independent”. It is the biggest joy of my life to make my own decisions; wrong and right! There is no other pleasure deeper than this. I fought to get to this point and will continue fighting to maintain and expand this state of “Freedom”.

This is the story of millions of us, women and men in this world! This is “A Story of One of Us”.

Celebrate life!


Editing Credit: M. Curtis

Picture Credit:

P.S. “A Story of One of Us” is the working title of my book. 🙂

Author: Shabnam

Shabnam Curtis was born and raised in Tehran, experiencing the Iranian Revolution of 1979 firsthand. In 2004 she immigrated to the United States, where she now works as a passionate life coach and a writer. Shabnam is a certified Integral Coach with New Ventures West and International Coaching Federation. She offers one-on-one coaching sessions as well as workshops for groups. Since September of 2021, she also has been the life coach in residence for Dimension Science Bridges Non-profit organization.

3 thoughts on “Independence: The Theme of My Story

  1. Such a powerful story of persistence, Shabnam! I can relate to your story, as you well know of my family leaving for the very reasons you did. It is amazing when we know, deep down in our soul, the clarity of the path we want to travel on. The natural tendency of our will to change what we know deep down in our hearts is wrong, in your case of oppression. You make every effort in everything you do to make it happen. In this case, freedom was the grand price. Your story is fascinating to me. Thank you for sharing it. John.

    • Thank you John! You always have encouraging comments for me. I agree with you. I have to say the biggest outcome of this journey I think is to learn to be in peace with the darkness of the past, only because past is part of our existence and hating it is hating part of ourselves. I am learning a lot and cant be more grateful!

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