Lessons from my divorce
By: I.S. (Italy)
The day my ex husband and I decided to get divorced was bitter sweet. I felt the immense relief that comes from finally making a decision that had been marinating for a long time, and deep in my gut I knew that it was the right thing to do. On the other hand, I had a strong feeling of dread and fear about how this decision was going to affect my children, along with a thick blanket of guilt.
It was after this decision that I started to unravel myself, weaving in and out of different beliefs and ideas about myself and about my environment. I can say in retrospect that this unraveling took years, just as long as the unraveling of my marriage, which had taken 12 years to build. I plodded along on this path of self discovery and introspection, all the while dealing with all the grief resulting from my divorce. In a way all the inner work that I did helped me see the light while I faced all the grief, as it gave me hope and positive feelings to cling to during this difficult time. And so though I gave myself permission to experience all the grief, I had laser focus intent on working on myself and learning from this situation.
The first area that came up as I tugged on the unraveling thread was communication. I realized that I had a very hard time expressing my needs, as I was avoiding conflict with others at all costs. As I journaled about this and asked myself some very direct questions, I actually understood that in avoiding conflict with others, I was entering into conflict with myself. And this is an impossible situation to bear, as when there is conflict with myself, there is dis-ease. And that dis-ease actually I think has a real wear on the body and could even potentially lead to illness. I have since resolved to always be aligned with myself, even if that means I have potential conflict with someone else.
The unraveling soon led me into my deep need to please others. Very similarly to my issue with avoiding conflict, I would be acutely aware of whether people I love are pleased with me, and in doing so, I was forgetting to check whether I was pleasing myself. I quickly realized that in some of my people-pleasing, I was taking on certain goals and behaviors that were not even mine, and they were antagonizing me in certain ways. This was creating anxiety and angst that could be avoided, and in my resolve to not be in conflict with myself, I decided to start focusing first on pleasing myself.
Lastly, as I unraveled myself to the core, I came upon my heavy feeling of responsibility over the wellbeing of people I love. I was putting so much pressure on myself about their wellbeing, and it weighed so heavily on me, that I was constantly feeling stressed out. I did a lot of introspection to realize that a lot of the things I was worrying about were not even in my control, and this makes no sense. I have been working on letting go of the things I cannot control.
My unraveling has lead me to a much brighter and happier me, and though the journey was tough, I have learned priceless lessons along the way.