On patience with the self – #3

I often find myself wondering why I haven’t simply “gotten over it” and moved on with my life.

I get upset with myself for feeling down or angry or numb.

I get irritated when I light another cigarette or drink another beer, because I know deep down I don’t want to keep doing it… yet, I do. Time and time again, I do.

The truth is that I’m just another human, trying to live a human life like all the other humans out there. It’s easy to become impatient with myself when I feel like I’m not making the strides I’d like to, but I do try to catch myself and say, “hey, you’re doing the absolute best you can. Don’t get frustrated. Accept things for what they are and, as you can, make the changes you need to move forward. But don’t expect it to happen overnight.”

Really, being patient with others is a virtue, but being patient with yourself is essential. Being able to take a deep breath and allow yourself to process the world at the pace that’s best for you is the only way you can truly heal — trying to force it will only yield rushed results, and may potentially set you back further than where you started.

Be kind — to others, to yourself. Be patient — with all things, all people, all aspects of yourself and your heart. Allow yourself to feel and don’t berate yourself for it. Your heart will thank you for it.

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On learning to let go – #2

So I did something I wouldn’t normally do and I sent my ex an email indirectly accusing him of cheating on me, because I’ve been so wrapped up in the motions of being angry about my situation, unable to let go of the past.

I’ve let a lot of things go over the past several months, but learning to let go the things over which I have no control — the things I cannot change —  has been hardest. It’s as if i’m trying to convince myself that knowing what happened in the past will somehow change my present situation. Deep down, I know it won’t.

But for some reason, part of me refuses to let go.

This is, in essence, one of the most difficult parts of becoming present within the self and achieving contentment: letting go of what has passed, accepting that things happened exactly as they were meant to, and understanding that past pains do not need to control future pleasures.

Learning to let go is a meditation of acceptance. It is the practice of forcing yourself into forgiveness and patience. It is the realization that holding onto what pain you experienced before won’t necessarily prevent you from experiencing it again.

On starting fresh – #1

This year, within a one-week period, I was forced to start my life anew. On July 16th, I was laid off from my new job. On July 22nd, my husband told me he wanted a divorce. On July 23rd, my grandfather died. On July 30th, I packed my car as full as I could get it and moved from Colorado back home to Minnesota, where I’d take up residence in my father’s basement.

I went from living in a fancy downtown Denver apartment with my husband, working a job that paid nearly $50k a year, visiting new breweries on the weekends and traveling to the mountains and enjoying a nighttime view of the skyline from my balcony, to living in a small room in my dad’s house, separated from my husband and on the brink of filing for a divorce, unemployed without benefits, drinking most nights away and sleeping until noon. I was angry at the world, myself, my husband, destiny, the “other woman”, the unemployment office. I was angry. I didn’t want the change. I wanted things to stay the same.

Sometimes, change is thrown upon us when we least expect it. We’re forced to start fresh, as much as we might resist. It isn’t always fun or pretty or wanted. In truth, it can be a bit traumatizing. But it can also be one of the best things to happen to you, if you let it. Learning to let go and start fresh can be as cathartic as it is painful. Relinquishing control and allowing life to move you where you’re supposed to go is freeing for the soul.

As I fought for my marriage with tears in my eyes, I was miserable, anxious and angry. I just wanted to stop change in its tracks. I wanted to feel like I had control over how things were going to go. But that night when my husband looked at me with confusion and anger and sadness in his eyes and told me he couldn’t go on anymore, I realized that as much as it hurt, I had to let go of trying to control how he felt. I wept. I wept a lot. But how he felt and what he did was beyond my control. I couldn’t change how he felt, just as I could not bargain my way back into my job, or plead with the universe to magically heal my grandfather.

So, I began the process of acceptance. It has not been easy. But piece by piece, I accept my new reality, and I accept that I am responsible for my own fresh start. No one will make it better for me. Accepting and letting go of the baggage from the past is essential to gracefully moving into the future.