I invite you to consider the question:
Do your thoughts and feelings disable you or EMPOWER you?
Truth: When my marriage fell apart, I was ashamed. The question that circulated in my brain on repeat: what does this failure say about me? The world would soon know that someone that I loved and trusted had broken my heart. I had misjudged and miscalculated. Why didn’t I see this demise coming? How could I have missed a fracture in love that was so obvious only in the rearview mirror?
For a long time, I couldn’t talk about it. I hid my pain in plain sight, showing up in public for obligatory functions and very short periods of time before rushing back to my feather bed to relish the quiet solitude of energetic silence. I was depressed, disoriented, and disguising it (with varying degrees of success). I dropped double-digit pounds that I talked about in our podcast
The very few intimate friends that I allowed to see me - that is, truly see me and my emotional messiness - repeatedly said: “This is not your fault. You did nothing to deserve this.” But, I couldn’t hear them. It absolutely felt like a punishment, as if I had done something or failed to do something that could have avoided the outcome. I felt as if I were wearing a scarlet letter: A for abandoned.
At first, I begged my God for a reversal of events. I was trapped in a cycle of thought that predicated my current and future happiness on the hope that the past could be changed. Except that the past can never be changed. We often accept this fact intellectually but emotionally we toil with it, carrying it around like baggage and unable to let it go. Yet, for as long as we are looking back, longing and hoping to change the past, we cannot meaningfully engage in the future of our dreams.
Later, I asked for the courage to begin anew. In order to do so, I had to speak my shame and acknowledge a truth that my sister and teammate, Lisa, shared with me: “Feelings are not facts”. We are each responsible for our own actions, for keeping love alive, and for nourishing our emotional, physical and spiritual selves. I cannot be responsible - and thus held at fault - for someone else’s decision to neglect their responsibilities.
When I acknowledged that I was not at fault, I accepted that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I could let go of the past, I could let go of what the past said about me. That’s when I got my power back. I could dream of the life that I always wanted to create and I realized that there were delicious and incredible opportunities available to me that were waiting to be seized.
In the year since the demise of my marriage, I left a job that bored me (and that I had felt trapped in for 18+ years), I became a coach (a profession that energizes me!), I launched two businesses, went to Europe for 3 weeks and am planning a move overseas (#expatLife!), I bought my first electric car (so fun to drive!), I bought my first home on my own, I gained several quality friendships that I didn’t have room for in my life beforehand, I learned so much about myself and my own power, I grew leaps and bounds in my spiritual journey, and perhaps most importantly, I became hyper aware and in awe of the power of my friend and God, Jehovah.
Speaking and acknowledging my shame freed me to be authentic, wholehearted, happy, and empowered to move gloriously forward. It allowed me to let go of the stories in my head that didn’t serve me and that didn’t empower me. Rather than standing at the end of a married life that I longed for, I am at the the beginning of a journey of amazing things to come. As ever, ever onward.
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