Sometimes we end up doing things we never thought we would do.
As my husband and I worked through our divorce, I sometimes caught myself saying things that I thought I would never say.
I never believed going into my marriage that our relationship would come to this point.
I had lost all trust in my husband.
I had lost all respect and yet… I would call him on the phone and beg him to come back.
I would take on all of the blame of the marriage.
I would pour out my heartfelt feelings to him, hoping to get him to see how hurt I was and then sit there and listen as he responded with verbal abuse and angry words and yet…
I would still beg him to come back.
I could hear myself saying, “If you come back I will do this. If you come back I will do that. If you come back I will never act that way again.”
I will look the way you want.
Be the way you want.
Think the way you want.
I couldn’t believe that these words were coming out of my mouth.
What happened to the competent woman who had held a family together and had proven time and time again that she could make it on her own?
She was lost.
She was hurt.
She was in fear… afraid of the unknown.
She was begging for a man to come back who had never truly been there for her and probably… never could.
She was hanging on to the fantasy.
Believing if she just said the right thing, did the right thing, looked the right way, that the fantasy would come true.
She was begging for her own happiness, something this man was not able to provide her.
She was begging for this man to stop her pain, the same pain that he had in part… caused.
She was begging for this man to stand by her, when he had already left her behind.
It will not help.
It leaves you feeling less than and it gives away your power.
If you have to beg for something… it is not worth getting.
What you want should be given to you freely.
You should not have to grovel for love and attention.
You did not beg your spouse to marry you.
Do not beg to stop the divorce.
Do not sell yourself short because of fear.
Do not beg for the good life that you deserve.
“Dear God, help me to stand strong on my own. To know that when the time is right you will provide me with someone who will give their love freely to me. Someone who will never make me feel it necessary to beg for their love. Someone who knows the value of my love.”
There is a saying: Don’t judge another’s outsides by your insides. When I first heard this saying I thought, I never do that! What a crazy thing to do. Then I realized, that I did this all of the time. How many times had I wanted a body just like another woman? A man who cared for me like a friend’s husband cared for her? Or a marriage that seemed to operate effortlessly? I had spent time-after-time in my life looking at what other people had. I looked at these people and believed that what they had was just what I needed to be happy. I began to wonder… What did other people see when they looked at me? Maybe other people looked at me and thought, “Wow, if I had what she had I would be really happy.” How silly is that! If they only knew. When they look at me and see a “put together” woman… do they know the whole me? Do they see the woman that spent years struggling with her husband’s addiction to drugs and alcohol? A woman who had to work two jobs and take care of two small child while putting herself through college? Do they see a woman who has just gone through a traumatic divorce? No. They see what I allow them to see. They see the image that I want them to see. The image that I project. Everyone projects an image but remember… it is just an image… It is not the whole person. Each one of us has trials and tribulations in our lives to walk through. No human being is free of suffering. No human being walks through life without pain. It is up to me to remember that just because a person looks happy… doesn’t mean they are happy. Just because a person looks put together… doesn’t mean they are put together. It is important to stop judging my insides by another person’s outsides. They do not have what I need. I have what I need. It is inside each and every one of us. “Dear God, help me to remember that what I need is inside of me. I will not find happiness in what another human being has. Help me to accept that I am perfect just as I am.”
It doesn’t matter.
Repeat this to yourself.
It doesn’t matter.
When I first began to walk through my divorce, I couldn’t stop myself from worrying what everyone would think.
I felt myself spiraling out of control.
I felt lost.
I didn’t want to talk on the phone.
I didn’t want to go out.
I was afraid.
What if someone calls me and they ask me about my spouse?
What do I say?
How do I stop myself from rambling on about all of the intimate details of our relationship?
How do I limit what I say and still sound adult, loving, and kind when speaking about my former spouse?
Every time I opened my mouth, I caught myself telling people more than they should know.
I would hear justifications in all of my statements.
I would leave the conversation feeling worse than I had to begin with like, I had revealed a private part of myself, my life, to an acquaintance and now that person could take that information and use it in any way they wanted.
They could tell my former spouse.
They could gossip.
Everyone would know.
I felt that I had made myself look bad by speaking about my spouse in a way that was inappropriate.
I didn’t want to give up my private information to someone outside of my marriage.
I didn’t want to say hurtful things about my spouse.
No matter what part my spouse played in the break up of our marriage, I had spent many years loving and caring for this man. I did not want to speak badly about him to anyone.
I would cry to myself, swear that I wouldn’t do it again and then… I would run into someone and catch myself once again trying to manipulate and justify what had happened in my marriage… trying to defend myself… what I did in the marriage… what I didn’t do in the marriage… to someone who wasn’t much more than a stranger.
I was giving them power over my life.
It was not their business.
The cycle was hurting me.
I had to keep repeating to myself:
It doesn’t matter what they think.
What matters is what I know.
Repeat that to yourself:
It doesn’t matter what they think.
What matters is what I know.
And what did I know?
That I am a good person.
That I loved and cared deeply for another human being.
That I gave all I had to make my relationship work.
That I have value and that I brought value to my relationship.
That I did the very best that I could and no one knows that better than I know myself.
No one can take that away from me… what I already know in my soul… in the deepest part of my heart.
People can gossip and say what they want, but it is up to me not to let other’s opinions of me diminish who and what I am.
I am a good person.
I am a child of God.
I am a caring and compassionate person who gave my best to my relationship.
It doesn’t matter what other people think.
What matters is what I know.
“Dear God, help me to believe in myself. Help me to let go of what other people think of me. Help me to remember that you and I know the truth about my relationship with my spouse and that’s all that matters.”
Endings are difficult.
They can bring pain or they can bring relief.
Either way, they bring change and change is not easy.
Change can be scary.
It can seem so overwhelming.
You may be fearful that the end is truly the end. That nothing else of importance will ever happen in your life. That there is no reason to have hope.
You had hope before…and where did it get you?
To an ending.
Yes, it is an ending… but it is also a new beginning.
A friend once said to me, “When something ends, it leaves a void in your life. When you have a void, something else comes and fills in the place that has been left empty.”
Your new beginning will bring you new things.
Yes…it will be scary but isn’t it exciting?
Your life is now full of new beginnings. You will meet new people. You will walk new paths. You will find new ways to experience life. Things you never thought of doing… you will do.
Endings are hard but remember… they bring new beginnings and new beginnings can bring you happiness and joy that you may never have imagined.
“Dear God, let me see this ending as truly a new beginning. Let me be open to the new people and experiences you lay before me. Help me to walk with excitement into my future instead of in fear.”
Today marks the fourth year of my daily divorce meditations and so, I pause to celebrate my accomplishment and assess my progress.
It is so easy to be hard on myself… to feel that I am still stumbling… still learning lessons I feel I should have already learned.
But, in this moment, I stop to be proud of all I have done to move forward in my spiritual process.
How different my life is today.
How happy I am today.
I would have never believed at the end of my marriage and the beginning of my divorce that I would ever find a way out of the pain and despair but I have done just that.
I have practiced so many important things that benefited my well-being this year, that in the past, I was never willing to do:
To admit that I was vulnerable and able to ask for help…
To thank others for being a part of my life…
For accepting multiple perspectives and learning to live-and-let-live…
For having courage and faith to make hard decisions…
And knowing that I am a work-in-progress and living life to the best of my ability each and every day.
It is never easy to accept a great loss and move on.
It is never easy to recover from heartbreak.
But time carried me through and taught me that I am stronger than I ever believed and that I can survive setbacks of the greatest magnitude.
“Dear God, thank you for giving me the strength to continue on. Thank you for guiding me out of pain and despair and into my new fulfilling life.”
I spent most of my marriage always looking towards the horizon:
When we have enough money to pay our bills… we will be happy.
When we buy that house we’ve always wanted… things will get better.
Once the children are a bit older… we’ll finally have some quality couple time together.
I was so busy focusing on the horizon that I never looked at the reality of the moment: that we loved each other but we were struggling.
Our day-to-day compatibility was faltering.
After my divorce, I continued on with my pattern, hoping that on the horizon I would find my perfect life:
As soon as I get my Master’s degree… I won’t have to worry about supporting my children.
As soon as I get in shape again… I will feel so much better.
As soon as I begin a new relationship… I will know true love and commitment.
Spending all of my time looking at the horizon, always looking ahead, keeps me from seeing what I must see: my life as it is today in the moment.
Sometimes, in despair, it is easy to fix a mark on the horizon and point to it…
But to live for the horizon… to constantly steer towards it without stopping to really look at things, assess my wants and needs, I am blindly walking towards a future that may be contrived of illusion and fantasy and not in my own best interest.
“Dear God, help me to stay focused in the moment. Help me to use this present day to guide me in the right direction.”