I feel vulnerable to share what follows (a journal entry from my secret diary), but I do it for love. I want to be an open book for you, so you can learn from my relationship mistakes in the past, and from my triumphs, as well. Because the more I learn the more I see that there are certain skills that lead to more love
(and common mistakes that undermine it). I want you to know them intimately, so you can enjoy the love you desire.
I recently stumbled across this journal entry about the time during my divorce. As I read it, I saw some of the reasons why my ex and I had such a caring, and even beautiful, divorce. Why we are still good friends even now. (See my ex and my fiancée together in this photo, friends, too!). Why our kids had hardly any trouble adjusting to the divorce. And why true deep love found me so easily so soon after.
As I leave this home he and I made, the mess and chaos and beauty of it all, I feel strangely supported. I feel strong. Instead of condemning myself, I feel my goodness. I have gratitude for all the love and kindness we have shared (and still do, even though we have parted ways); and tears for what we lost, which was really only a dream of how things could be-- not truly how they really were.
I see the swirled history of us, striving almost always. Now we can let all that go and be together afresh. We can start over again, and this time stay just friends.
This dissolving is the caterpillar who emerges as butterfly: strain and effort, melting, reshaping into ease, and even delight. As I shed tears and years of strain between us, I release the constant over-efforting, the pulling him along, the trying to change him. The self-scolding -- all of it.
I re-emerge into embracing simple enjoyment of who he is, his support in raising our boys together, and letting him be his own self-master. I honor the honesty of our relating, and I let go of it being, in any way, something I use to make me feel better.
I take back my life. I take back responsibility for me, and no longer take his life on as my responsibility. We are now free to relate as we once did when our friendship was polite, kind, loving, light.
I forgive myself for trying to fix him. For trying to make him into something he wasn't or didn't want to be. I know I was trying to love me and my life through that behavior.
I own my own ability to create and tap into the love and joy in being alive. I know I have grown in ways I wouldn't have been able to without all this experience behind me. I now move forward into other relationships with a strength and capacity for self-responsibility that is stronger than ever.
And the tears are still there. They are the healing response for letting go. Relief. Release. And also because I lived 10 years in suffering around us. Regret for having not created a better life for us, for myself. For having such self-doubt in my capacity to be mature and independent and lovable.
But now I do have all that. And so my tears are loaded with gratitude, as well.
I went through such amazing transformation during that time! There were many ways (shared above) that I made things really challenging for myself in that relationship. But because I was willing to admit that, we came out the other side very harmoniously. I never could have shifted those pain-producing ways of approaching relationship without owning my own issues.
When I read this entry again, I see a woman with such growing self awareness, self-responsibility, and ability to forgive-- which I now understand are some of the skills essential to healthy relationships. That is what got me through so gracefully...
Without those skills (which I grew by leaps and bounds after my divorce--a bit late in the game!), I couldn't have made my relationship now such a different experience-- one of such sweetness, laughter and joy. I love being able to say I'm proud of my ability to "own my stuff" and do whatever humbling work on myself that it takes to keep love so alive in my life.
My wish is for you, too, is to have the skills to feel so good.
So, how is it to read a excerpt from my journal? What struck you? Share it with me by commenting below.