One year ago today, my world was turned upside down when I realized that my marriage was over. Something I never thought would happen or gave a second thought to was suddenly my reality, and I had no idea where to turn, what to do or how to react.
Anger, depression, frustration, desperation and rejection ran through my mind and heart, and over the next few months I probably went through the grief cycle about 693 times. I would read countless blogs, listen to speakers and life coaches talk about how to get through it, confided in my friends who had experienced it and got plenty of unsolicited advice from others about what to do.
And although I took in much of what I heard and consumed, ultimately I had to figure out how I was going to go through it on my own. Afterall, it was my journey- not anyone else’s.
As I’m reflecting on this past year, I decided that I wanted to share some things I learned on my journey. Maybe you’ll relate if you’ve been though it; maybe you’re starting to go through it and don’t know where to turn. Maybe you’ll think that I’m an over emotional man and spend too much time over analyzing things- or just maybe it will give someone some hope and empower them to grow in their personal strength.
YOU WILL CONSTANTLY DOUBT YOURSELF
Unless you enjoy swimming in your own narcissism, chances are when bad things happen in your life you automatically take the blame for them. It’s in our nature to feel guilty, and to think that it’s always our fault. And even though both may be at fault (that’s usually how it happens), you will always look inward first and force yourself to think of all the millions of things that you could have done differently.
As you are moving toward the future, it’s good to know what you need to work on to be a better spouse, lover and friend. What’s not good is wallowing in all of those feelings of defeat and losing respect for yourself. When you allow those negative feelings to overwhelm your psyche, you will find yourself getting stuck in a tailspin of negativity. You will convince yourself of how horrendous you are, and every single negative thing that happens will reaffirm those irrational feelings in your brain.
Find balance within yourself, and remember that the relationship with yourself is the basis of every other relationship in your life. Taken the opportunity to learn what to improve upon, but don’t set up camp in the shadows; you don’t belong there!
CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE
I did the grocery shopping for our family; it’s something I always enjoyed doing and often shared it with one of the kids. Not long after we separated and were at the beginning of the end, my son and I walked into our usual grocery store on a Tuesday morning. As I was pushing him in the cart and thinking about what I needed to get, I quickly got overwhelmed with emotion. I won’t be buying her favorite coffee creamer anymore, or surprising her with one of her favorite snacks. I won’t be sending her the text asking if she wanted anything as we were waking in. Every aisle seemed to have something that reminded me of her, or of us, and it was extremely difficult; it was when I walked past that damn coffee creamer that I realized I couldn’t shop there anymore and we had to leave.
I had to change my environment so that I could change my state; if I’m starting over I couldn’t be walking through the same aisles- physically and metaphorically. You have to make changes- whether it’s your grocery store, favorite restaurant, even shows you watch on television. It’s hard to change those routines and traditions, especially when there are kids involved. Focus on the blessing that it is to create new traditions and habits, and don’t allow yourself to stay focused on the loss of the old ones.
ALLOW THE KIDS TO HELP YOU HEAL
Our children are still young; old enough to know that mommy and daddy aren’t going to be together anymore, but young enough to not be concerned with the “why’s” and “how’s”. They just love us both unconditionally and cherish what time and energy they spend with us. Take a cue from that; focus on the love, happiness and joy you give each other and allow that beautiful energy to help you build your new life and future. Kids should never, ever be pawns in the spiteful battles and emotional manipulation of a divorce; they are beautifully innocent and don’t deserve to feel an ounce of the angst you may hold toward the other parent.
Their peace, comfort and love will help you heal; they may not be able to understand why you’re feeling sad or rejected, but when those precious arms squeeze your neck may that be a reminder that they need you to be strong and to love them hard.
FOCUS ON THE NEW
As a society we always celebrate the new things, right? New school year, new shoes, the new year, a new job, etc.. Does it help the student who’s starting the new school year to obsess about last year’s teachers and classes? When you are lacing up those new shoes, are you thinking about how your left heel squeaked on the old pair, and that rip on the right toe? On the first day of the new job, are you introducing yourself to your co workers by telling them all about what you used to do and the company you came from?
We don’t do any of those things- so why when we are moving on in relationships do we hold on to all of the pain, hurt and rejection? That doesn’t serve us; that prevents us from growing into our new life. Once you are through the stages of grief and into acceptance, it’s time to focus on the new and build your new life. You can’t confidently drive forward while your eyes are on the rear view mirror.
YOU WILL LOVE AGAIN…. WHEN YOU’RE READY
When you lose what you believed was your forever, it’s extremely hard to think about loving again and being with someone else. And the ironic part is that when you force yourself into a new relationship it just makes you feel even more helpless. Too often, we allow our broken heart to lower our standards and accept less then what we deserve. We think that jumping into a new relationship will make us feel better because attention from a new interest and the honeymoon stage is so euphoric. And then as time goes on, you realize you’re still not happy, and you’re with someone out of convenience instead of passion.
You cannot enter into a new relationship until you have healed, until you can love yourself, and until you are content with your own company. You cannot expect fulfillment and ultimate bliss in a new relationship if you haven’t learned from the lessons the divorce has tried to teach you. You must take the time to understand yourself, what makes you happy, what your passions are and dedicate your life to your purpose. When you learn your strengths, and use them to build your self worth and self love, you will be so busy loving your own life you won’t even be worried about finding love.
And when you reach that point, THAT is when love explodes into your life.
It doesn’t gently knock, it won’t be found by pursuing it, you won’t find it if you’re looking. When you least expect it, it’ll kick in the door and fall on top of you like Chris Farley on the coffee table as he’s telling you about his van down by the river; and you’ll love every second of it!
I could spend a few more hours writing, but these five points are my biggest lessons from this past year. Don’t hesitate to let things go if they no longer serve you; whether it is physical belongings, bonds with people that have hurt you, or the emotional baggage you’ve carried out of obligation. It’s time to let it go, give yourself credit for getting through the hurt and rejection, and move on full of self worth and love.
You only have one life to live; don’t allow the past to take away the bliss that awaits you in the future.
Thank you for your time; much love to you all!
#loveMORE #beMORE #doMORE