Do the details really matter?
I remember what it felt like to get caught up in the details after my marriage ended. I would zone in on every single thing that my Ex would do, break it apart, analyze it, and come to a conclusion of why whatever just happened was the reason that I was in so much pain. I would think to myself, of course, I am struggling to move on so much, look at the details of my story.
Why did I believe that my story was so much worse than your story, or even my Ex’s story? Why did it matter so much to me that I own and commit to that story and share it with anyone who would listen?
When we get so far inside of ourselves, it becomes really difficult to see things from any other view besides the pained and rejected lenses we are viewing the world through. We commit so fully to the details of our story that suddenly it is all we can see. Think about it, if your narrative is that you have been abandoned and thrown aside and that your Ex is heartless and uncaring, you are only going to see actions that prove your story right. Your mind will not allow you to see otherwise, even if it is staring you right in the face.
Then, your next step will be to share the details of your story with the world so that you can receive confirmation and validation that you are in fact right. This is because there is a part of you that is urging you to see that the details of your story don’t matter quite as much as you think they do. A part of you is pulling you toward opening up to love and being willing to see everything, including your Ex and the situation, through the lenses of love and kindness. This part of you knows that this is the only way in which you will ever be able to grow. The only way for you to one day truly claim your joy. Yet, you are committed to your story and the details provide you with just enough fuel to keep your fire burning.
“But I love him….”
How many times have you heard yourself think this statement? How many times have you spoken it out loud? You picture in your head all the things that were not okay in your relationship and remember in your heart how emotionally unsafe and unseen you truly felt. You know in your gut that you are better off continuing to move forward and never look back.
Yet, you can’t seem to stop obsessing on that one sticking point, you love him.
It’s the thought that keeps you up at night. The feeling that grips at your heart threatening to tear you apart. The obsession that keeps you confused and unable to truly let go and begin a life that is truly your own. Your love for him seems to overshadow every single truth and knowing you are aware of. That voice in your head keeps telling you that love is supposed to conquer all. That you simply should not let it go because to love someone this strongly is rare and doesn’t just go away.
Does this sound familiar to you at all?
For those of you that were engaged in a relationship with any sort of emotional, physical or mental abuse or even a relationship in which you simply didn’t feel emotionally safe or respected, what you are feeling is not actually love. What you are feeling is a detox from the addiction that was helping to fill the empty space within your heart.
If you are still pining over a past relationship filled with pain, then I am asking you to look within yourself and wonder why you are longing for a return to that pain and calling it love.
I remember after my separation and divorce constantly being in a state of wonder. Where had it all gone wrong and what if I could have done something somewhere along the way to have made things better? Would things have been different or would they have ended exactly as they did anyway? I would literally obsess about it and I can remember long sleepless nights with my head spinning around and around. I couldn’t seem to stop. It was like I was trying to uncover some magical answer that would somehow make it all have meaning and make sense.
Something tells me you know exactly what I am talking about. That constant obsession about the past with all the different scenarios you are playing in your head, on repeat, waiting for the answer that is going to set you free.
My guess is it sounds something like this…..
What if I made the wrong decision?
What if I make the wrong decision?
What if he changes?
What if I change?
What if I never find love again?
What if it is all my fault?
What if I am crazy?
What if I am unlovable?
What if he is the best I can ever get?
What if I don’t deserve to be loved?
The list goes on and on……
The “What If” game is extremely dangerous and will keep you stuck and emotionally hooked to your Ex and the relationship. By constantly obsessing about the past you will remain in pain about your breakup, re-traumatizing yourself over and over. You will continue to criticize and judge yourself, knocking your self-esteem lower and lower. The “what If” game will guarantee that you will not be able to let go, move on, and heal.
So why play this game? I mean, it’s not like it feels good to obsess over and over in your head about all the possibilities. As a matter of fact, it feels awful. Yet, you can’t seem to stop. You are distracted by your thoughts, you can’t sleep, you can’t eat or maybe you can’t stop eating. The “What If” game has taken over your life and is turning you into your worst enemy.
I have a question for those of you who were in relationships where you were not happy, did not feel emotionally supported or safe, were not emotionally connected with your partner, and were basically staying in spite of it being a relationship that was NOT serving you.
Would you have eventually left? Would you have ever chosen yourself, chosen your own happiness, and walked away?
OR would you have continued to stay…unhappy, unfulfilled, and longing for so many things you weren’t actually living? Would you have continued to push your own needs aside in order to hold on to your marriage? Would you have continued to sacrifice yourself and your dreams?
My guess is that the answer for most of you, if you are really being honest, is that you would have stayed. You would have continued to lose yourself, turn a blind eye, forgive over and over again, make excuses, and become less of the person you were created to be. Locked up in your fears and unable to imagine a life without him, you would have ignored that feeling inside of you and pretended not to hear that voice. You know the voice I am talking about, that voice of your higher and wiser self. The voice that is always guiding you toward your greater good, toward love, toward purpose, toward your dreams. If you are being honest though, you would have stayed in a relationship that was slowly killing your soul.
And so, the ultimate devastation happens and the relationship comes to an end. Your ex walks away, maybe does some awful or horrific thing or becomes a completely different human, and you are forced to end the relationship, it is no longer an option. You are alone, you are facing your fears and you are staring in the mirror so unsure of what the future will hold.
What if my response to you is ….. CONGRATULATIONS!?!??!?
You are going along day by day and feel like things are really great. You can honestly look at yourself and say that this has been the best week of your life since the divorce. I mean, you really feel like you are getting it. All that reading, personal growth, and yoga has really been paying off. This must be it…this must be what it feels like to finally be free of the awful emotional burden of divorce. You are smiling, you are joyful, and believe it or not, you are actually feeling hopeful. Maybe your life is actually about to be normal, maybe even great. You are ready to scream it from the mountaintops and then….. BAM!!! One unexpected interaction with your ex and you are suddenly spiraling down a black hole into the abyss of heartache again.
You feel disheartened and immediately question what the heck is wrong with you. How many times can you actually let this happen, and you reason that you will never move past this pain in your life. All that joy and hope quickly turns to despair and you question all that work you have been doing… the reading, personal growth, and yoga doesn’t work at all. What’s the point of doing any of it when you end up right back in this awful pit of pain anyway? Life is not normal, and certainly is never going to be great.
Does this cycle sound familiar? Is this a pattern you tend to repeat over and over? And do you wonder if it is ever going to end?
Well… you may not like what I am going to tell you here, but I am going to tell you anyway…
One of the things I remember most from the years after my divorce was this sense of feeling stuck. When my marriage ended, I truly found myself on a mission. I was in pain, overwhelmed by more feelings than I can count, heartbroken beyond all measure AND I was determined to get through all of this in a way that would allow me to grow and expand. So, I jumped into the most intense personal growth journey I had ever been on.
Sounds great, right? I mean, isn’t this exactly what you are supposed to do? Not jump into a new relationship, not just shut down and close off, and not numb your pain in any possible way. Instead I was doing yoga, meditating, journaling, reading, going to therapy. I was doing chakra cleanses, energy work of every kind, and I even did a ceremonial burning of certain memorabilia from my marriage as a way to cleanse my heart.
I was doing all the “right” things, so why the heck was I not healing? Why the heck did I continue to feel so stuck?
How many of you feel this way? You follow all the advice you are given, read the books, have the therapist and yet you still spend each day feeling completely stuck and unable to pull yourself out to get where you want to be. And what’s worse, the more time goes by, the more stuck you seem to get. That tightness around your heart, weighing you down and pulling you backwards is there, even in your happiest of moments every day.
If you are anything like I was, you are beating yourself up about this now as well. Wondering what the heck is wrong with you and why you can’t just move on. Your inner critic is having a field day and confirming every single doubt you have ever had about yourself. How the heck can you be doing all of this work and still not be moving on?
Because deep down inside you are choosing to be stuck, and here is why…
After coming out of relationships, one of the many things that I hear from women is that they don’t love themselves. I know for me, when my marriage ended, I didn’t even like myself. Scratch that, I was a stranger to myself, so I didn’t even know who I was to even like what I saw. What I did know was that I needed to go on a journey to falling in love with me.
Falling in love with yourself is a beautiful journey that involves a process of discovery, growth, healing, and forgiveness. There are moments that are painful and moments that are joyous, and all are necessary to bring you home to yourself.
How many times have you have been told after a divorce or a breakup, that it takes time, or that time will heal your wounds? I am going to guess that you have all heard these statements at least once since I pretty much hear them every day.
I am calling bull on this popular belief because quite honestly, I think it’s a myth that you readily buy into that allows you to remain stuck in your pain for unnecessarily long periods of time. After all, if time is supposed to do the job, then what is the point of investing all this time and energy into healing yourself? You have to wait for “time” anyway right?
After any sort of trauma, and yes divorce is a trauma, there is a natural period of time for grieving and mourning that occurs. During this time, you tend to lose it in some way. Life becomes sort of blurry, or as I like to refer to it, feels like you are the walking dead. There are emotions surfacing at every turn, and it is all you can do to attempt to make sense of them and somehow be in society without looking like a complete and total crazy person.
It is often said that experiencing a divorce is similar to experiencing the death of a loved one. I can tell you from my own experience that this is exactly true. Although, I sometimes think that it was even worse, because with divorce you have to continue to watch the other person living life separate from you. As a result, you question so many things about yourself and about your own abilities to function in the future. I remember questioning my worth, whether or not I was ever loved, and if I would ever be lovable again, wondering if I was good enough, debating fault and if my actions had been the cause of the break up, and feeling unsure how I would ever figure out how to survive.
I didn’t know how to answer these questions and had no idea of a path that would lead me toward healing and freedom. So, I tried anything and everything I could, just hoping and praying that somehow one of these methods would eventually make me feel better. I spent a ton of unnecessary time, money, pain searching and struggling through these unchartered waters. I spent years taking one step forward and three steps backward, a dance that I definitely did not enjoy doing and don’t plan to ever do so again.
Through my own long and painful journey, I learned great lessons and as a result, have a clear vision of my purpose and my path. One of the many lessons I learned and now subscribe to in every area of my life is coaching. No matter what endeavor I choose to take on, I now know the value of finding an expert in that area to show me the way and to impart their hard-earned wisdom on me so I can avoid the unnecessary pieces on my way toward my goals. What my coaches have provided me has been invaluable, and I am filled with gratitude when I think about how much they have served me and altered my life. Among the many reasons, this is why I’ve chosen to coach others and love what I do.
Do you ever take the time to reflect on your life and revisit the path you have travelled thus far?
When I look back and reflect on my life, the word that comes into my mind over and over again is, FULL. I have lived a life full of laughter, joy, sadness, heartbreaks, disappointments, really bad decisions, really good decisions, awful mistakes, and huge lessons. I have had to find my way through experiences that seemed impossible and I have had my moments when everything seemed perfect. Me being the person I am, I have felt things deeply and profoundly, in the only way my sensitive soul knows how. I have had to pick myself back up (a few times), learn some really tough, but cool shit, and grown a lot more than I ever thought I would need to.
For a very long time, my experience of reflection was also known as my experience of beating myself up. I would look back at my life and go over all the things that I could have done differently. My endless mantras of “what if,” “if only,” and “how could I” played on repeat over and over in my head. It wasn’t that I necessarily had regrets, more that I couldn’t give myself a break for the choices I made to get me to where I was. As you can imagine, this did not feel good and certainly did not get me anywhere.
Then I discovered the answer, or at least I thought I had.
Stop looking back at the past and keep moving forward. I learned that if I constantly stayed busy and kept striving toward something in my future, I didn’t have to reflect on my past and deal with the cycle of beating myself up. And besides, everyone was talking about being positive, so I figured I must have it right!