I feel like there is a certain expectation coming from society that we have to hate our past loves. I think this is dangerous. Especially if children are involved. To a certain extent, I once bought into this hype. As I began to walk a different path, one that included self-examination, I began to ask; does it really have to be this way? Is this the best that we can do? Because it isn’t working. Need proof? Go back into your history books and read about the Romans.
It is so easy in today’s society to fall complacent isn’t it? You can find reinforcement everywhere that this isn’t our fault, or that happens because life is hard. This person is toxic and therefore it’s them and you did nothing wrong to complicate the scenario. Pop this pill, drink this adult beverage, yada yada yada. I know all of this for a fact because I did it. For years.
It is just so normal to demonize our ex’s and come up with horrible nicknames for them. They are the punch line of every demeaning joke over a beer. We take them to Court repeatedly just to punish them and make their life difficult for hurting us. But who is it really hurting? Then to just add to the anger and pain, we throw the institution of marriage in there too. Marriage sucks. Marriage is ruins everything. Marriage is a trap. Marriage is the end of you and any other demeaning euphanism that one brokenhearted person can think of. I did that too.
Then one day, I met Michael and true to what every cliche that you have ever heard of, I just knew. And as I have written about numerous times here, I had some unresolved work to do in order to remain in this partnership. This is where my ex – all of them in fact – came into play. At first glance, it seemed as though my pattern with failed relationships stemmed from lack of personal responsibility. That was step one in my recovery from heartbreak hangover. Realizing that I had co-created the outcome, and that I have in my power at all times how I act and react. In fact, that is the only power that I ever have ever. It was eye opening to see that all of the blame had not been equally distributed between the parties. This set me on a inner journey like no other, for the other step to my recovery was realizing that I had to forgive.
Have you ever met a divorced couple that is amicable and supportive of one another? They co-parent or are dissolving a business that they ran together and act like ladies and gentlemen who want a mutually beneficial ending to the relationship? I have. What a relief and might I add a stark contrast to the norm. The one thing they all have in common, is a strong sense of self. I have found that you can’t have sense of self without having the ability to take personal responsibility. Which is to say the ability to be responsible for one’s thoughts, actions, and words, especially while in a conflict.
What if every person in a conflict were to dissect their portion in the matter? Stop the blame others game and take ownership of their own stuff? What if from there, each person were to examine what their portion was, learn from it, and then acknowledge what they had brought to the event? Even if a group of people in a conflict had to call in a neutral party to assist in keeping communications open, honest, and civil, what would families look like? What would your family look like? Your workplace, your homeowners association, your life? What would it look like for the rest of the world?
During my years of self examination, I realized that I never gave my ex husband the opportunity to present himself and his side of things fully. I more than likely only had less than a fraction of the true story. To add to the chaos, it was always my way or no way whatsoever. By the time it was truly over, even then I took charge with an ultimatum. Not everyone communicates the same way, I’m aggressive and he wasn’t. Had he the opportunity to communicate clearly and present his side of things, would the divorce still taken place? Yes. But the ending, for both of us, would have been healthier.
I can’t pretend that every time Michael and I have a disagreement I don’t see red. But I can tell you in all honesty that we have very few disagreements. This is because the first thing we do is walk away. The second thing that we do is concentrate on what each of us did/said. If there is something to apologize for, then that is the third thing that we do. Starting off with an apology for what you honestly wish to take ownership of is the best way that Michael and I have found to kick off a conversation to reach the deeper issue, and use it to teach us about going forward. I call it “the reach and teach” and it’s part of my Positive Resolution System that was born out of sheer necessity. It helped me personally, but it also brought about a greater awareness about what is truly lacking in society. As a whole, we need to learn how to communicate better. We surely do not lack the means to communicate, we just lack the ability. We’re touchy and we take things personally, and this is only because we have lost touch with who we truly are. Deep sense of self is essential to standing in your power. While avoiding conflict is impossible, what if standing in our power and taking responsibility for ourselves meant that the conflict wouldn’t look so bad? What if conflict conjured up images of sitting at a large round table and being a tad uncomfortable for an hour or so rather than Courtrooms, and years of bitterness and resentment? Isn’t it better for things to suck for 60 minutes rather than 60 years? If you counted up all of the diminished dreams and healthy vibrant relationships that sullen feelings surrounding a failed marriage costs you, you’d jump on that round table and zip it. The silence of meditation to allow your own personal truth to come to you to evaluate wouldn’t be so scary. The deep healing that would come from your time and attention investment to go inward and cast out limited beliefs from your subconscious would come as a relief. You healing yourself is in fact what is needed to heal the world. We are done with the fuckery now. The bashing, the name calling, the poising of the wells. It’s amazing how private and family conflicts have turned into the entire world hurting.
Examining our portion of the matter and then genuinely apologizing to the other parties for it is the first step. What if Ferguson Police Department said “Ok, we are unsure exactly what happened here, but there will be a full investigation and until said time we turn our department over to the State until things cool out.” Wouldn’t that have calmed things just a tad? What if we begin by acting with transparency? A willingness to see our hand in things, evaluate, and then report back? What if we find nothing to apologize for? Personally, I have never found nothing to apologize for in truly examining my hand in things. Even if it was just for the way that I presented. This new found ability of mine has helped in building a marriage completely beyond the realm of my dreams. If a hothead like me is capable of this, then there is stopping no one. Marriage, partnership, friendship, this works for any “ship” that there is. It can be a challenge, but challenges just mean that we are alive and growing. If a communication makes your heart skip a beat and you break a small sweat above your brow, that’s good. You’ve stepped out of your comfort zone, and comfort zones are where the human spirit goes to die.
My prior marriage feels like 10 lifetimes ago. Time has healed me. More accurately, self examination has healed me and time helped. Michael and I have created something beautiful and it didn’t happen entirely over night. It certainly didn’t happen without personal responsibility from both of us. And if you asked me six years ago if I’d ever be here, I would have said that I hoped so, but would have been overwhelmed at the amount of work and changes that had to take place first. But our lifetime doesn’t come to us all at once, it comes to us day by day, moment by moment. If everyday we can honestly say that we are a better human than the day before, then we are doing it right. Adversaries are here to teach us. They point out our weaknesses and we then can go in and sew up our holes. I honor my ex-husband for showing me what I needed to learn about what I lacked. For it is him that helped me to become a good wife…even a good human. If you hate your ex, then you are giving them power over you, and you haven’t learned what God sent them into your life to teach you. Pay attention, then heal. After these two things are done, the rewards are too much for you to comprehend right now. This I promise you.
As always, you are invited to read my pubic diary and watch how I practice what I preach: www.scarlettandjenna.wordpress.com