Archive | October 2015

I am Worth It ALL

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When my marriage was falling apart, I met some friends through an online support group who became a lifeline for me during that time.  One of these friends gave me an assignment.  He told me to start every day by looking in the mirror, looking into my own eyes, and saying “You are worth it!”

My friend knew that I was feeling replaced, abandoned,  and tossed aside.

At first, I  couldn’t even look into my own eyes, let alone say those words. But, I knew my friend was right, in that I needed to overcome this feeling of unworthiness in order to get through the end of my marriage.

I stuck with it. Every day, I  spoke those words. The timid and quiet words eventually became stronger and louder. As time went on, I could look in my eyes and hold my gaze while I said it.

One day, I believed it! I said it with conviction!  I knew that it was true. I  began to say it with passion and purpose.

I began to live this truth in my life. I made very difficult decisions to take my kids and leave my home, settling us in another city and eventually filing for divorce and starting over again. I am still rebuilding my life 5 years later, but I now know I am worth it.

I no longer need to tell myself that I am worth it every day. It is something I now believe at my core.

But, I am aware that I still have a tendency to allow my sense of self worth be affected by perceived rejection.  When this happens, I need to remind myself of this truth that I already know.

The great thing that I realized lately is that my sense of worth has expanded. I am worth it ALL. I am worth being loved, accepted, and committed to. But, I am also worth other good things coming my way….abundance of health, prosperity,  and well being in all things.

I am worth it ALL.

Never Too Late

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Of all the challenges that come with the end of relationships,  the silver lining always is that I am once again able to evaluate what I want my life to look like.  I am in charge of my life and the direction it is going.

The truth is…I always am. But, when in a relationship,  there is always some accommodating and compromising. It has to be that way to blend two lives together.

For now….I don’t need to do that. I can make sure I am once again grounded in who I am and what I want for my life. Then I will be able to do that accommodating and compromising once again without losing myself.

That is my goal.

Always Vulnerable, Still Brave

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For some reason , I think I was hoping that the more I understood and embraced the importance of vulnerability in my life, I wouldn’t have to keep facing it so much.

Wrong! I am chuckling a bit at myself about this.

The truth is, vulnerability is ever present if we choose to be in any relationships at all. It is inescapable.  Unless we want shallow relationships with very limited intimacy, it is just part of the deal. Being close to someone makes us vulnerable.

It’s interesting how many people have said to me that they don’t know how I can put myself out there on the dating world.  The truth is, it’s been so good for me. It has created so much personal growth for me to keep facing vulnerability over and over and over again.

Yes, it’s hard. But, the courage it takes to keep going, learning, and growing is worth it to me.

Overcoming Fear

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It’s time.

Fear has had a hold on me for too long.

I wasn’t even aware how strong that hold was until now.

All around me there is suffering.  Illness, broken relationships, strained relationships, unhealthy choices, people hurting.

It seems everyone around me is hurting right now. I  have been praying every day for so many loved ones….and the list is growing.

It could easily fill me with fear.

Love often leads to loss. Actually, it always does. Even in relationships that don’t end, no one lives forever.  Loss is inevitable.

But, I don’t want to miss out on loving the amazing people in my life while I am blessed to have them. I don’t want to be closed to new people to love if they are  meant to bless my life…even if through a painful lesson.

No more fear.

This is going to be hard.

I need to trust.

Trust God. Trust myself. Trust others.

Vulnerability.

It always comes back to vulnerability.

Sigh.

It is the only way.

Here I go…

I am Enough

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This is a follow up to yesterday’s post.

After posting that, I met with a close friend.  She has known me since we were teenagers.  She also has known my ex-husband since I met him. She sang at my wedding 25 years ago. She saw the friend she once knew become a shell of the person I once was (while presenting an image that all was well….which she wanted believe ) and then emerge again after I left him. This friend, despite huge challenges in her own life at this time, still is there for me….we are there for each other. Because she has known me for so long and so well…and also knew my ex and the dynamics of my marriage, she has a way of bringing insight to things that is so incredibly helpful to me.

Two important things came out of that conversation for me:

1. I am still taking too much responsibility for anything that goes wrong in relationships with men. Even in my post yesterday, I did to some extent. I am only responsible for 50% of the communication. I am only responsible for my end. I might make mistakes in my communication,  but I am not responsible for what someone else hears. Other people have filters and emotional triggers from their past that create issues on their end. I can’t take responsibility for that.  Yet, I tend to.

2. The reason I tend to do this is because of how my marriage worked. Every issue that arose in my marriage. ..no matter how big or small…. was always my fault. Early in the marriage I used to try to raise my concerns or make it more equitable.  That resulted in a two hour lecture about all my faults and how I am too defensive and don’t take responsibility.  It always resulted in me apologizing. My apologies were usually not accepted. I was told they were not good enough.  So, then I would spend hours or days showing him how sorry I truly was by making it up to him. I  lived this pattern so long, for so many years that it became normal to me.

My brain became hard wired to believe that my needs don’t matter, it’s my job to make a man happy, that when I inevitably fail to do so… that’s my fault too, and that nothing I ever do to apologize or make amends for that will be good enough.

The deeply rooted belief that resulted: I am not enough.

I thought I dealt with all of this and was past it.

But, recent interactions with men…in which I found myself taking on 100% of the responsibility for miscommunication,  including their misinterpretation of things on their end….and then apologizing profusely. …. showed me I have more work to do.

I am enough.  I am human. I make mistakes. I am worthy of grace and forgiveness and should be honored with a willingness on the other part to own their part too. I am deserving and worthy of a willingness for someone to work through this with me and take responsibility for their part.  My apologies are enough. My attempts to have healthy relationships are enough. I am doing the best I can.  I am enough.

I need to stop allowing this pattern to continue.  I need to lovingly hold someone accountable for their part,  while honestly owning mine. I need to make sure anyone I enter into a relationship with is capable and willing to do this.

I have more work to do.

A Work in Progress

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I am doing a lot of reflecting….and self reflecting.

I have become aware of a pattern in my life that I am sorting out.  The pattern is that there are times that I feel I have communicated clearly, but it results in the other party becoming very upset with me and hearing something very different than what I thought I communicated.

It only seems to happen with men, and in romantic relationships.  I am not aware of it happening with friends or family members.

So, given the fact that I have years and years of experience and training in communication skills and relationship skills, what is happening here?

I have had an aha moment. I knew this issue was related to fear. But, I  wasn’t sure why.

Then I  realized something significant. I was in a relationship with my ex-husband for more than 20 years. During that time, my attempts to improve our communication would consistently make things worse. My counselor has helped me to understand the reasons for that, which had very little to do with me. I am not brave enough to get into the details of that yet on this blog.

But, the bottom line is that a pattern took deep root in my brain in terms of romantic relationships.  That pattern basically consisted of me being sure to walk on egg shells as much as possible and deny my own needs, concerns, and emotions. 

Now, when I am communicating with a man, I honestly believe I am communicating clearly. …but in reality I am still minimizing, accommodating,  and sugar coating.  The problem is that I have honestly and truly not been aware of it. It is so strange how powerful established patterns on our brains can be.

Then, to make matters worse….when the man gets upset with me. …my real, true feelings come out in a rush…surprising us both. And now, I have hurt him. It doesn’t end there.  Because the ensuing conversations involve responsibility on both parts….and I,  following my old patterns from my marriage,  take 100% of the blame. The next part of the cycle involves me beating myself up and feeling like I am faulty and not enough. My old story comes back to haunt me.

This is taking tremendous courage for me to examine this, see this, own this, and work on this. I feel extremely vulnerable putting this in writing.

There was a lot of damage done for me in my marriage.  As the years go on, I uncover more and more.

The good news is that once I recognize and see the damage for what it is, I can change it.  I can work on rewiring those parts of my brain in which these patterns were established by conciously and deliberately responding differently.

And, if I choose to be in a relationship again, I will choose for it to be with someone who has also worked on their baggage from the past. I hope to find someone who would work with me on healing from those patterns….not allowing me to take 100% responsibility for two way communication. ..but instead talking with me about both our parts, both our triggers. I would like to experience shared, healthy, balanced responsibility and discussion that helps us make amends to one another and move forward together.

I imagine that is possible.

It’s Gonna Be Alright

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I always have a soundtrack playing in the background of my mind and my life.

Yesterday, the music shifted. The soundtrack changed stations. A sadness shifted to relief, then optimism.  It was the realization. …once again. …of knowing I deserve more. It was that awakening. …once again….of my true worth.

I  wonder how many times I will cycle through the questioning of that, the sadness, the struggle with self worth….back around to that awakening?

I  wonder why it seems to often take a negative experience with someone….that could be interpreted as a form of rejection. …for that awakening to happen?

I  wonder if I will be able to get to that awakening without those painful experiences? Or sustain that sense of remembering that I AM ENOUGH without that?

I wonder.

But, for now….I am glad I got back there again. I feel a renewed sense of expectation for good things in my future. I  feel a renewed sense of certainty that I deserve good things.

I am grateful for the painful lessons that brought me back to this place.