April 23rd- Progress not Perfection

April 23rd-Progress not Perfection

I am always amazed at how forgiving I am when someone else makes a mistake yet I can spend hours, days, weeks, months, years… beating myself up for the smallest infraction.

I am always quick to remind the people I care about, when they have a particularly trying moment, or find themselves once again dealing with an ugly character flaw, an unhealthy behavior, or a negative attitude that: it is progress not perfection.

We all have our bad days… act out, say things that we regret, become defensive in regards to our own poor behavior.

It is important to acknowledge it… work towards not repeating it… and then let the shame of the slip go.

It is better if I make note of the positives that come out of my digression:

Maybe I am repeating the mistake less over the course of time…

Maybe I’m humble enough to apologize for my behavior instead of rationalizing or denying my actions…

Maybe I am able to share my experience with another who is struggling with the same issue and therefore, benefit their spiritual growth as well as my own.

Today, I choose to focus on progress over perfection, apologize for my short-comings, and strive each moment to be my best-self.

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“Dear God, help me to remember that no person is perfect and that there are many life lessons to learn each day.”

 

April 22nd: Being Made Aware

April 22nd-Being Made Aware

When my husband and I were first divorced, I was absolutely sure that he was entirely at fault.

Our relationship, though full of love, had been a long and difficult one and I was positive, that I had had to put up with more from him over the years than he had from me.

But as I began to move through the pain of our divorce and look at my own part in our marriage, I became aware that there were things I could have done differently.

At first, as I came to this realization… I couldn’t help but beat myself up thinking, If I would have done this or if I just wouldn’t have done that… things would have worked out and everything would be fine. We would still be together.

But that is not an honest truth.

For our marriage to have worked out, we both would have had to change our behaviors radically and there was still no guarantee that we would have been successful in the end:

Marriage is difficult even in the best of situations.

After I grieved about my mistakes, and allowed myself to wallow a bit in self-pity, I got to the real work: looking at what I had done, my part in things, admitting that I wasn’t a saint in my marriage, and becoming aware of my own character flaws so that I could work towards becoming a better person in my present and future relationships.

Last night, I was asking someone for something I wanted in our relationship and worried that I was sounding like a “harpie” or making the situation worse. I said, “I don’t want to badger you about this…”

And their reply?

“You are not badgering. You are making me aware of your needs and if I am aware, I can work towards meeting them.”

I was thankful for their willingness to listen, to change, to move forward in our relationship together… both of us working towards meeting each other’s requests and I was reminded once again that being made aware can lead to more spiritual footwork but… will eventually lead to a stronger spiritual foundation if I have the courage to face my character flaws and work towards letting them go.

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“Dear God, help me to be willing to change. Help me to listen to requests from those I love with an open heart.”

April 21st: Pain and Change

April 21st-No Problem

Today, I was reminded how difficult it is to lose something or someone you truly love.

Sometimes, no matter how much you want something to work out: it just doesn’t.

Relationships change and change can be hard to accept.

I thought back to the time I shared with my special someone and I missed the way I felt when everything was new and exciting.

The way I was always the first person they thought to call and the last person they wanted to talk to in the evening.

How they loved the way I made them feel… loved the way I looked at them when we were together and accepted me just as I was.

I do not regret the time we had together… I do not regret my love for this someone… I just regret that I am no longer the first thought of their day or the women that will be in their day-to-day life.

I know that “this too shall pass” the good and the bad of life always does, but change is often painful.

There will be hard days when recovering from a loss but…

I must accept the reality of the situation, embrace my feelings, and have faith that my Higher Power will move me through to a better place.

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“Dear God, help me to be strong. Help me to have faith in your plan. Help me to let go with love.”

April 20th: Other People’s Opinions

April 20th- Other People's Opinions

Last night I was thrown off by an unforeseen event.

Someone dear to me had an opinion regarding my actions, my behavior, that I felt was unwarranted.

I was very upset about the incident.

I thought about it my entire drive home and most of the morning.

I didn’t like that my friend’s opinion of me on this occasion was negative and I began to have feelings about it.

I truly felt that I had done nothing wrong… that I had acted this way in my friend’s presence on numerous occasions before… yet tonight, for whatever reason… they were uncomfortable with my behavior.

I of course wanted to discuss it with them, find a way to mend our quarrel but, I knew that I would also have to look within myself and be willing to reflect on why their opinion bothered me so.

Was it because they were my dear friend, and so their opinion really meant something to me due to our intimate friendship or…

Was it because they had pushed an emotional button… triggering something deep inside of me that caused me to feel vulnerable and attacked?

I cannot allow my self-worth to be contingent on another person’s opinions no matter how close or dear they are to me but…

if that opinion reveals a need for my own spiritual footwork and growth…. then maybe I need to step back and address any of my issues that I may still be struggling with today.

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“Dear God, help me to hold my self-esteem intact. Help me to let opinions fall away, positive or negative, and walk my own path with a positive attitude.”

April 19th: Projection

April 19th- Projecting

For the last several weeks I have felt that I have wandered off my own spiritual path through actions I believe to be adverse to my spiritual growth.

And though I am trying my very best not to beat myself up regarding every mistake I have made along the way… I have caught myself involved in one of my least favorite defense mechanisms: projecting.

I have been projecting my undesirable thoughts and feelings onto a person that I truly love… and punishing this person for a crime they haven’t even committed… haven’t even considered committing… and probably never would.

It is the residue from my past.

The fear of being hurt once again by someone I love.

The story of my divorce carrying over into my new relationship.

When I project, I become a shadow version of the true me and drive a wedge between myself and those I love.

It is harmful skewing of my world.

Projection creates a false reality that becomes real in my own mind and leads me down a path of constant worry, anxiety, fear, and ultimately despair.

I have to step back and address my own issues so that I can return to a strong spiritual foundation and place my trust back where it belongs: in those I love.

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“Dear God, help me to think before I act. Help me to overcome my anxiety and have faith in those around me.”

April 18th: The Little Things

April 18th-The Little Things

Going through a difficult divorce taught me so much about what I wanted in life and reminded me how much the little things matter.

What I missed most during our break-up were all of the small niceties that let me know that I was wanted… cared for:

A quick I love you at the beginning of a busy day…

Or maybe a short call saying that I was missed… in the afternoon.

Coming home to find a meal cooked… or the house cleaned.

Sharing a laugh… an inside joke between the two of us.

These were the things I pined for so much once I was no longer in my marriage.

The little things.

But the pain of those lonely days after my divorce became a valuable teacher. The moments I cherished, remembered, longed for reminded me of how I wanted to behave in my future relationships: considerate and thoughtful on a daily basis… taking the time to share the little things with the one that I loved.

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“Dear God, thank you for the daily kindnesses. The small moments that bring great joy.”

April 17th: Attachment and Change

April 17th-Change

One of the most difficult struggles in my life is dealing with attachment and change.

I am a creature of habit.

I love my world to be bound by routine.

My home life.

My work life.

My relationships.

So, when a change occurs that I perceive as threatening or negative… I tend to react poorly.

And though I have always struggled, my entire life, with attachment and change, my divorce intensified my fear.

I was told so many times by the person that I trusted and loved that:

Nothing was wrong.

It’s work. It’s not you.

I text and call less because I’m busy not because I don’t love you.

And so, I ignored my instincts, trusted in my spouse, only to find out that he was unhappy… he was leaving… and that our relationship was over.

His betrayal absolutely rocked my entire foundation and it has taken a significant amount of time and spiritual footwork to recover from that emotional blow.

I was attached.

I was in love.

I didn’t want things to change.

But they did.

Today, I must work diligently at stepping back from my emotional attachment when someone in my life suddenly changes behaviors and texts less, calls less, compliments me less, or is absent more often from my day-to-day world.

It is so easy for me to hold on to the “story” of my past and make-up a “story” about my present that says… It happened before. It will happen again.

And… I have to be honest with myself… it may happen again.

I cannot be naive about the fact that I may be hurt in my new relationship but…

I cannot stand in limbo… or live in doubt… because of my fears.

Life is constant change and I must learn how to move through it and find acceptance in the reality of my world.

And with my significant other?

I have to to be understanding and note that relationships do change over time, the honeymoon phase is always sure to end. I must choose to fight my fear as I watch and wait to see if this is a signal of some greater problem in the relationship or just the normal fluctuation of life and love.

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“Dear God, help me to be patient and accept change. Help me to detach with love as I learn and grow in this new relationship.”