I’m sure you’ve had more than few bad days in the chaos of your marriage or relationship ending. Too sharp a tongue with the kids, taking something to a level 10 when normally it would be a 2, forgetting things when you are normally like an elephant. For me, it solidly felt like I was a different person and that this forgetful, head-exploding, lost and confused me was the ‘real me’. That maybe I was covering the ‘real me’ for years, making it seem to others that I was normal, smart, and knew what I was doing. This whole period was freaking scary – because if you’re anything like me, maybe deep down you’ve not had the best attitude about yourself. Maybe you’ve said ‘wtf does it mean to love yourself?’ like I did. I did not love myself. I had no idea what that meant, and to me it was a nonsense phrase. I grew up not loving myself because I did not know myself. I didn’t know if my decisions were my own, or if they were based on patterns of choices that I felt I “should” be making. Thus, that ‘gut feeling’ that everyone talks about – I did not trust it or know what it really was, because I was afraid of everything. There was a period in my life of self-induced isolation – where I felt most comfortable inside, by myself, and felt stressed and out of place in social situations. I had been firmly controlled for most of my life, by a parent, and later on, by a spouse that I fully took part in choosing. Here’s how to let go of the regret, and move on…because you are worth it.
I made my rough childhood my crutch and my excuse in life for many years, leading with my wounds, instead of telling myself to suck it up. Regret #1.
What made me begin my journey of learning about myself, and understanding the ‘love myself’ phrase, was when I hit a point in my life where I felt completely caged and trapped. This time, it was no longer bearable. This time I was angry, and the mama bear inside of me was taking the old wounded girl inside me and lifting her chin up. Something just clicked in me that this whole lifestyle that I was living was wrong. It was the absolute opposite of my authentic self.
I had married a narcissist, and this type of a marriage, lovely Persisters, is one HELL of a ride. And a downward one at that. As the years went by, my relationship with my husband unraveled. He felt it was a normal relationship, I knew that every year was worse than the last. I remember feeling overjoyed when he would be gone overnight for work, that was one of my first warning signs of irreparable damage. Through it all, I would make excuses, all-out lying to myself about the marriage being in trouble. I felt like I was the crazy one. Gas-lighting was constant. We had two beautiful girls during our 7-year marriage, and it had become the only glue that made me keep going. Until it didn’t, and I realized HOLY CRAP I’M RAISING CHILDREN AND I’M MISERABLE AND THIS IS RIDICULOUSLY DYSFUNCTIONAL AND REALLY???? DO I WANT MY GIRLS TO BE COMPLACENT IN A BAD RELATIONSHIP SOMEDAY? TO KNOW THAT WE STICK IT OUT EVEN WHEN IT KILLS OUR SOULS? And I was raising future women you guys! I really sucked that I was staying in a relationship that was emotionally abusive, hostile, and without trust. Feeling like I was living in a museum and walking on eggshells was no way to live. Shame on me. Regret #2.
How do we let go of the regret? Some people like to say ‘surrender to it’. It didn’t feel right to me saying that though. It made me feel un-empowered. So I learned the word ‘acknowledge’ instead. I started to acknowledge the regret of the years lost when I used to feel like a victim that would not amount to anything. I acknowledged the regret of being married and raising children for way too freaking long with someone that did not allow me to feel supported or respected. Then I decided to practice forgiving myself. I allowed myself to feel the sadness of those regrets, I gave myself a hug, told myself that it was all good, and this is called learning.
You can say goodbye to your wounded soul, thank her for her service in trying to keep you safe, but tell her now YOU are in charge, and a little selfishness and housekeeping is in order.
Okay – so after you acknowledge and forgive (and it may feel weird at first, but make this a practice!), start taking control. Sometimes it is as easy as talking to someone (a therapist is amazing, but if that’s not possible, talk to friends and family that you feel comfortable with). Put your feelings out there, and start talking about how you would like things to be. Think of them often, write them down, call them into existence. This is how I began to move on and to find out who I really was and what I was really made of.
You have this ONE life – how would you like to live it?