Monday, September 29, 2014

Extraordinary Life (aka, things I learned from my second divorce)

These are the things I wish I'd known or been able to tell my newly-divorced self a couple of years ago:

-There are things you could have done and things you did do that didn't make a difference. In the end, it would have been the same no matter what you did. You do not always have that kind of power over situations or hearts. Sometimes, it is the other person's issues that you are taking on, or their messages about your worth. Besides, the pursuit of being "good enough" for someone is an aimless and unworthy pursuit in life.

-It gets better with time. There was a time when I could not even LOOK at an intact family without having to excuse myself from whatever it was I was doing and go cry. Yes, seeing families made me cry, with a dad's arm around mom or asking her what she wanted him to do with a kiss to her forehead for comfort. I didn't want to lose my family, or even the dreams and illusions I had of what that should look like. But that passed, and I am much better now. My family is what it is, and we are a single-mom family.

-You can't make a person: love you, like you, be aware of themselves, apologize, care, accept you, acknowledge you, value you, tell the truth, respect you, hear you, hold you, listen to you, make peace, make amends, feel remorse, stand up for you, want to be married to you, put in an effort, be compassionate, support you, do what they say they will do, be who they say they are, recognize how they have hurt you. These behaviors are a choice. You cannot MAKE anyone do these things for you, and their choice not to is a good indication of what they are able to offer you (hint: not much.). (This goes for ex-family, too. If tempted to engage with them again, remind yourself it only brings more hurt).

-People who are shut off like that inspire in me an urge to explain, persuade, and prove my worth. See above. That is no longer where I need to put my efforts in life and I am sad that I got sucked into that kind of situation, that most unworthy of pursuits.

-Chances are your gut instincts were right. And are still right.

-healing takes a long time, and anger lingers for a longer period of time than you are comfortable with. You still have to travel that path, learn what you need to, and know that a commitment to spiritual healing is absolutely vital. Divorce, especially the second time around, is deep pain on so many levels. It causes you to grapple with humanity and suffering and meaning in your life. It hurts. It sucks. You loved deeply, and you cared about your family and marriage. That deserves ALL the energy and ALL the emotions that come with sincere healing.

-You can maybe compete with another woman, but you cannot compete with a man's mother. If he did not stand up for you to his mother, that is just sad. Lesson learned.

-Rejection can be a gift. If you had been living a half-life and were forcefully booted out of it, then a whole-life is waiting for you, and it is never too late to have an extraordinary life. Now you have the freedom to do it. No, you are not too old, too broken, too worn out by love, too caught in the wringer. You can start now, and your life will be full of grace.

-control is not love, love does not hurt, and walking on eggshells is not a normal state for a happily married woman. It's true. This should help you get over him.

-it is possible to be grateful for those who have deeply hurt you and it is possible to forgive without having any closure (or hearing apologies). Forgiving heals your soul, them apologizing heals theirs. Here's the catch, though: you can only heal your own soul. Quit expecting people to do things they are incapable of doing. Make the apologies you need to make and then move forward. So much grace is to be found in this type of gratitude!

-Men, or a special man, will come along and show you what the other side can look like. You will have the time of your life and laugh raucously again for the first time in years. You will be treated with a queen! Your heart will fire up when you thought it was dead. You will feel more alive and loved in those moments than you have in years. You will even begin to hope and (gasp!) love again. You are not permanently damaged and you do not hate men because of your experience. No, it will not "take a crowbar to open your heart" again, even though you go around saying that all the time (stop that!). You will realize too that you DO have things to offer a man, no matter what someone else did to obfuscate that fact. Wonderful things. Because love and joy and lightness are your natural states, your birthrights, you will absolutely reclaim who you are, and then some.

Now go, have a splendid, extraordinary life!
(and by the way, it's my mother's birthday: Happy Birthday to the best mom ever! AND it's Michaelmas. For further reading:

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