DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
Many of you already know that I’ve been divorced for 5 years now (Martinis for Everyone!), but I learned more than a few valuable lessons in those 5 years that I’m going to share with you.
When my ex-husband first left, I was almost literally drowning in thoughts of “What’s wrong with me?” I lay awake nights thinking of how I could have been different, and what I could have changed about myself to make the outcome different.
Until one day, a bolt of lightning struck me. I was at home, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, caring for 3 children while my husband was at work socializing with other adults, male and female. Treating himself to dinner out with “clients” after work, most often to meals of sushi and dishes like teriyaki chicken, while the children and I feasted on Kraft Dinner. I thought at that time, that being completely wrapped up in who I was as a mother, probably made me a little neglectful of who I was as a woman. I mean, who has time for make-up when you’re running to and from ballet classes and piano lessons, along with being literally showered with whatever the baby decided that he didn’t want to eat for dinner? Make up? What the hell’s that?
My bolt of lightning was this; I was (and am) the mother of 3 children. I did my job with regard to caring for those children, making sure that they had food on the table, and clean clothes to wear. If that job required that I look like a dish-rag part of the time, he would just have to deal with it. His way of “dealing with it” included ‘play time’ with people outside of the relationship that he had with myself and our children, and that was his decision. There’s nothing that I could do about his decision. I could though, start making some decisions of my own.
I first decided that divorce was mandatory here. I went through the various stages. After which time, I realized that this divorce thing could be whatever I chose to make it. It could be my chance to grovel endlessly in self-pity, and beg him to come back. But I didn’t want him back. Once he left, it felt as though a huge brick had been lifted from my chest. I could breathe again. My household was much more relaxed. Why on earth would I want him back?
I realized then, that this was actually my chance to make my life what I wanted it to be. I accepted that I couldn’t control his actions. I could though, control exactly how I reacted to what he did. I realized that what he did wasn’t about me. Yes, it very definitely affected me, and our children, but I had to learn how not to take it personally. What he did, he did for his own selfish reasons, and there’s nothing that I could have done to change the outcome. There was absolutely nothing wrong with me.
And that's the lesson for today. Learn not to take the behavior of others, personally. You cannot control the actions of others. You can control how you react to the actions of others.
Martinis for Everyone!