It’s a new year and I’m ready to turn the corner from focusing on the details of my tragedy, to exploring the triumph of my healing. Sure, I could go on and on sharing stories and speculating “where it all went wrong,” but that is not my intention here at all. At the end of the day, I needed to share pieces of my story in order to set the stage for the rest of what’s to come. No, the last post was not the last I heard from S. We reconnected several months later for what would be another hope filled heartbreak, but even sharing those details seems insignificant at this point. What I want to get to now is the entire purpose for me starting this blog in the first place; to share the hope, healing, and lessons I learned through the hardest trial of my life, and give hope to others who may be going through similar hardships.
The months following my divorce were some of the most difficult of my life. I was filled with more emotions than my body knew how to handle; anger, sadness, embarrassment, hopelessness, and confusion. I was trying to put on a brave face and honestly, I got pretty good at faking a smile. I dreaded going out in public for fear of running into someone I knew who, with good intention, would try to share their unsolicited advice, give awkward apologies for things they weren’t involved in, and share messages of hope that frankly, I didn’t want to hear at the moment. Each day was a battle to get out of bed and move forward.
Unfortunately, there is no rule book on ‘how to do divorce’ and all the tips I was receiving were coming from happily married family members who were concerned about my wellbeing. I felt completely alone and lost in my navigation through the heartbreak.
As I mentioned in previous posts, I am very religious and I had to rely on my faith a lot during this time. I remember one particular day, shortly after the divorce I was praying, asking how this could happen. I had had so many feelings during ‘the month’ that this was going to work out and it hadn’t. I was angry and I was having a hard time understanding how this could happen, all while asking the famous question, “why me?”
After my prayer I remember opening up an article or talk of some sort and I read the words,
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. it ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. all that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God… and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven..”
Orson F. Whitney
Right after I read this I came across another quote that said,
“We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we will be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were-better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.”
-Thomas S. Monson
That’s when I knew. Call it the universe, call it energy, call it God…whatever you believe in, I know that there is a higher power that gives us direction in our darkest hours. I knew then, and can see even more clearly now, that I was severely imperfect and I had a lot to work on if I wanted to change my life. From that point on I decided to stop trying so hard to “overcome” my trial, and begin “becoming” who I was meant to be. I decided I was going to focus on what I could learn, how I could help others, and how I could better myself as a person, instead of dwelling on the ‘what ifs’ and ‘has been’s.’
As it turns out, I HAVE learned lots of lessons through my divorce that frankly, I wouldn’t have been able to learn any other way. I have helped countless people who were going through similar trials, and I have improved myself in ways I never dreamed of; ultimately leading me closer to the me I genuinely love! I will share individual lessons I learned through this hardship in future posts, but today I want to focus on one in particular that seems to ring true this time of year as we set new goals and ambitions.
As we are accountable to ourselves and recognize the only power we have in this life is over ourselves, I truly believe we can move past setbacks, and flourish. I have said it before and I’ll say it again; I was far from perfect in my marriage. I was barely 19 and convinced I had the world figured out…maybe that is why I received the wakeup call of the century only 7 months later. Fact is, I have accepted that regardless of how S acted, how my family acted or his family acted, I can only control me! The only way I can avoid similar heartbreak in the future is to work on ME! I challenge you to do the same. Blaming other people for our problems is a million times easier than accepting accountability and working to improve them. But at the end of the day, it will only lead to more problems in our lives.
Right now I challenge you to take out a piece of paper or just think in your mind about a situation where someone hurt you or “screwed you over” in some way. Write down all the things they did wrong. And then burn it. Tear it in a million pieces, jam it in the shredder, or watch it light up in the fire place. Now…forget about it! Get a new sheet of paper and write the same situation, but this time write all the things YOU could have changed to avoid the hurt you felt. Maybe you could have avoided a situation, reacted differently, had more respect for yourself and walked away, or even just made a decision quicker. Write down details about what you could have changed to avoid a disaster. After you have this list written, set goals on each point so you can avoid similar downfalls in the future. Maybe you need to spend more ‘me time’ to discover what you really like in order to speak up sooner. Maybe you need to become more educated in a certain area so you don’t make the same mistake. Or maybe you need to work on cultivating more patience with yourself and others so you can react calmer to situations. Whatever it is you need to work on, don’t take it lightly. Put aside the, “yeah but he did…” comments and take accountability for your role in your own life. As you do, I know you will find more power to create the life you are excited to live. I know this because I have done the same thing, time and time again!
Next week I am going to dive deep into one of the biggest lessons I learned from my heartbreak!
You can download my “Accountability Cheat Sheet” below and start controlling your life today!