Do You rip the Band-Aid off, or peel it off slowly?
When we are in a place of what I term “marital fatigue," our life can feel like one big boo boo. We contemplate where we are vs. where we thought we would be and far too often consider it all wasted time. We regret many of the things we haven’t done and mourn the loss of life, or dreams or impact we once hoped we would make on the world.
We feel stuck and we aren’t sure which way to turn. Every day begins to feel like an endless ride at a cheap carnival... the one with flashing lights that makes you dizzy and want to throw up, but you do it anyway.
When we get to this overwhelming place it can feel so easy to just resign and spiral further down into confusion, afraid of making a mistake, or being judged as a failure. We lose sight of the fact that not deciding IS actually a decision.
But think about it -we didn’t arrive at our current life on a cloud one day. It all came about through a series of seemingly small choices, things that go unnoticed - what do we eat for dinner? What should I wear to work? Bit by bit, we created this life we are so unhappy in, probably without even noticing it. Yes, we had influencers, obligations, circumstances, things that directed us or pushed us one way or another, it’s true.
But this is some really good news, if we want a new life, we can reverse engineer this process. Making small, conscious choices about what we DO want, what we DO like, where we DO (or don’t) want to go.
How many times a day do you say (or think) to yourself, "I don't know what to do"?
If we can ease that phrase, “I don’t know what to do” from our vocabulary and realize that NO ONE ELSE CAN TELL US WHAT TO DO, we can begin to take steps forward. Something, almost any action, then, becomes progress. Until believe it or not, pretty soon we see light at the end of the tunnel.
No, it’s not instant. It’s not the quick fix we so desperately want.
But it is a lifeline. And I can promise you that it will stop you from sinking further and further into the Quicksand Of Fear.
Let's start to grasp the truth that nothing and no one is ever truly perfect for us. Not a new husband, or the most attentive, fantastic, devoted lover we've ever met. Not a new house, new job, lots of money, a new body, or even a puppy, (although puppies do give us the unconditional love we long for from our husbands and children, so, they come the closest – smile)
Once we can internalize these facts, and make even the smallest decisions to do the tiniest little things that are more in line with where we one day hope to be, like, I don’t know, actually signing up for that class we have always talked about, spending 30 extra minutes to create a meal we really want to eat, going to the movie in the middle of the day like a kid playing hooky from school, or just taking a nap when we are tired, we finally embark on the magical path – and we see that our circumstances are amenable to our actions – changeable, pliant, responsive even. They are not stagnant. “They” are not what is weighing us down. We are not wearing concrete shoes. Once we understand this, we can walk forward.
How exciting to know we are not failing, it is not our fault we got here, but we have the power to change it!
Circumstances are just that, circumstances. Our thoughts about our circumstances are the triggers for our emotions that will eventually determine whether we release ourselves from a lifetime of despair OR drown in bewilderment and hopelessness. We hold the keys.
Isn’t that wonderful news?
Yes, I know I make it sound easy. And no, I realize it is not that easy. Simple yes, easy, not so much.
Which is what Undone and Rewritten is all about. It’s about steps. It’s about starting right here, right now. You can walk as fast as you want to, run even, toward your new life. Or, you can take it bite by bite and move as slowly as you need to. You set the pace, but at least you begin to walk. You are moving. You’re doing it. Yes, really.
So, what exactly are these steps I need to take and where do I start, you may be asking?
- Decide whether to stay or go (you know what I mean here)
- Feel not just OK, but really good with either decision
- Know how to meet and resolve conflict in or out of your marriage (because children/history/friends/in-laws can- and often do - make our lives together a forever thing- married or not, unfortunately)
- Know what you want – not just to “be happy” (because what is that really?)
- Eliminate guilt, (using tools to squash that ugly little soul sucking monster whenever he shows up)
- Become Bold in love, partnership, relationship (yes, even with family, in-laws or difficult friends. I call it the red lipstick approach)
- Confidently ask for what you want (the Yes principle)
- Courageously say, “Uh, NO” and not feel like a bad person
- Make time for creativity, play, community, joy and rest (and in the process become something of a magnet for attracting it)
Sound too good to be true?
Umm, could be, except that is my life today.
Ten years ago, I was crying on the bathroom floor. Actually, make that everywhere – I was crying at the grocery store, in my car, the self-help section of bookstores, church, at my therapist ('s x 8) office ('s x 8), at my mother’s house...until she told me to go to Wal-Mart, buy a backbone and just DO something besides talk about it (some might call that tough love – LOL – it was just Mom.)
I was even driving 2.5 hours to spend the weekend with my poor baby sister (a sophomore in college at the time – I know, it sounds pitiful) just to cry all over her and her sofa and her roommate and embarrassingly, whoever else showed up.
I was a mess. I mean on the outside it didn’t show (well, except when I was crying). But inside, I was so torn up I once forgot to put on shoes to go to my doctor’s appointment! SERIOUSLY! Had to walk into the office barefoot, and then go the mall next door (barefoot) walk in a shoe store (did I mention I was barefoot) and freaking BUY SHOES! * KIM SPECIAL NOTE – TAG JESSICA WHITT IN THIS PIECE IN THE GROUP POST BC SHE WORKED FOR MY DR WHEN THIS HAPPENED! LOL
So, do you want to be “happy” (again what exactly is that and who creates it for us? Cause I wanna know how to get it, too).
Or do you want to laugh again and be confident, and excited, and adventurous and fun?
Cause that is not a fairytale. That is possible.
Here is how you create a really amazing life, regardless of where you are.
I. Rediscover you – what keeps you stuck and spinning AND what lights you up.
II. Enthusiastically toss “husband fixing” aside and use that beautiful energy to get what YOU want.
III. Wander into self-care – joyful play, recreating community and connection, rest, dream, laugh.
IV. Realistically create a plan to make it all happen.
V. Implement conflict resolution to handle whatever is going on inside or outside your marriage.
VI. Toss anxiety aside, because regardless of what anyone else says, you are clear that you are making the best choices for you and your family.
VII. Transform your calendar into something that works for you, not against you.
VIII. Energetically go about your life, confident about your direction and the steps you are taking.
IX. Never look back – you don’t need to, because you know how to live and love in a solid relationship of give and take, support and sharing.
Doubt all of this is possible, but really wanting it to be true? It is.
And you can have it too.
Because I was once in that place you are now. Remember, no shoes (and according to my mother no backbone, LOL) but lots of sadness, despair, anguish, doubt, confusion and yes, anger too.
I know how easy it is to talk about change, to wish things were different, to think that if only so and so happened.
But unfortunately, so and so doesn’t know you are looking for him, and even if he did, he can’t make you happy – no matter what he promises.
We are the ones, the only ones who can make the choice to change our lives. We have to be brave enough to rip the Band-Aid off (and I know you are). We have to grasp the truth that there is no decision, unless it is a fatal one, is inherently right or wrong.
Yes, there are societal rules that govern our lives.
Yes, if we steal and get caught we may go to jail.
Yes, if we drive drunk we may have an accident that proves fatal.
Yes, these things are true.
And yes, there are certain standards of behavior that are considered “good” or “bad” by society or our own rules, we just need to be willing to live with the benefits or consequences of either (and don’t confuse good with martyrdom – not the same thing).
But that’s all it really boils down to. Every move garners results. Choose not to decide, to stay in confusion, and that is where you will stay.
Choose to make a step toward what you want, and you are one step closer.
9 days, 9 weeks, 9 months or 9 years, you choose. What step do you want to take?
Get details here on how to do it.