“If you survive you can tell the story, you can go on. If you don’t survive, that’s it”.
Maria Belon. Tsunami 2004 survivor
What a tragedy to climb the ladder of life, one step at a time, to fulfill your supposed role in life, to do your tasks to the very best of your abilities, to finally reach the top, only to discover the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall (1).
I do not think my “ladder” has been leaning against the wrong wall all my life, and I certainly would not have changed my role in life of being a wife and mother for anything and doing that to the best of my ability.
Here is the bit that I got wrong – I had believed my purpose in life was the “being a wife and mother” bit. It wasn’t and it isn’t. It was the “doing that to the best of my ability” bit. That is my purpose.
More than that, my purpose in life I believe is:
“To Live To My Highest Self and Inspire Others To Do The Same”.
Being a wife and mother and doing that to the very best of my abilities, inspiring my children to do their best, was not my sole purpose but rather has been one of the ways I have been able to fulfill my purpose. Over the years, there have been other ways.
What about today?
“To Live to my highest self …..’
Throughout all the wading through the mud of this transition in my life of the divorce process and its subsequent grief, one of the biggest losses I have felt has been my loss of purpose. Living to my highest self, doing my best. How can I be and do my best when so often over the last two years I have been down on the floor?
That is the one fact I have now come to accept. Some days, when I have been down on the floor, standing up is the very best I have been able to do. Surviving was my highest self.
On other days, my very best has included a range of meaningful activities.
And on some days, I have been able to lend a helping hand to those in need.
What I have come to realise is that ‘living to my highest self’ does not mean ‘the highest and very best that I have ever been capable of‘, but rather ‘the very best that I can be and do – today – in whatever the circumstance is‘.
“……. To Inspire Others To Do The Same”.
This is not meant to mean to inspire others to do what I would have done in their situation. It means to inspire others to do the best they can do with their own talents and strengths, in the circumstances they find themselves in.
Have I done this in the past two years?
After I was hit by the hurricane ending of my marriage, I survived. I survived the first minutes of agony and the first hour. I survived the first day, the second day, and the whole of the first week. I survived the first month, then several months. I revived. I got my life back. I saw myself as an individual rather than half a couple. I saw myself as a person with my own needs and desires; and a right to my own values, opinions and beliefs. I went on a fascinating journey of the discovery of me. I took back control of my life. I am driving my own path forward. I will chose my own destiny. I will create meaning in my life. From a tiny seed sown in the depths of a winter of despair, my transformed self is beginning to blossom.
That is my message. By example. I survived. I revived. I arrived. If I can, you can.
A new goal
To apply my experiences of my past to my present circumstances with positiveness towards an optimal future; and to spread the wisdom I have gained through my abilities as a communicator.
(1) Analogy from ‘The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People’; Stephen Covey. Habit # 2 ‘Begin With The End In Mind’.
Image courtesy [nattavut]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Elizabeth, make no mistake, you are inspiring and often inspire me to be the best me I can be. Perhaps you haven’t been able to articulate that until now but you have been doing it, and I suspect you’ve done it for a long time. Somehow our hearts know our own purpose and we do what we are meant to do without recognizing it. Knowing it though, empowers us to do it more intentionally and with a greater sense of satisfaction. I am so proud of you and wish you much success in your purpose moving forward!
There has been a change in my thoughts of late though. Instead of (or as well as) analyzing and mourning the past or planning and sifting my way through the present, I have begun to look towards the future. I have done that before in the past 2 years and became anxious and fearful so put it aside. This time, I can see it and I am excited about what I see. It is an amazing and wonderful turnaround.
Thanks for your support which I truly am most grateful for. It is you who keeps inspiring me.
I’m so happy for you Elizabeth!
Life goes on and for as long as we live we are given the chance to do our best. I like it the way you look for positive things in your life. And I am sure your past life was also full of very positive things. Grieving can of course last for a long time. However in a way it is all part of life and our life goes on no matter how much we grieve. I always think maybe divorce can be worth than someone dying. Not everyone has to go through exhausting divorce proceedings. But everyone sooner or later is being confronted with a close person dying. And then the person left behind goes through a lot of grieving. I have the feeling you are willing to try and comfort people who are in a grieving state because you have so much experience about it yourself. It is great how you try to reach out to people. I am sure by writing all these blogs you are helping people.
Thank you very much for writing! It might become a book one day. Have you thought of this?
Thank you for your kind supportive comment. Yes, I d feel that in many ways divorce is harder than a death because you lose so much more (happy memories of the past, values, financial security) that a widow does not lose. Having said that, any loss is difficult and one can eventually learn to cope and move on. I do think that I have reached the stage now where I am stronger and can lend a helping hand to others in similar needs. I had thought of writing a book. Transforming blog posts into a book is not all that easy! Maybe one day when all this mud dries up I will have a go at it. Thanks again.
Elizabeth, you are definitely an inspiration, and this is one of my favorite pieces you have written to date. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, observations, and insights so well, and thanks for having the courage and strength to survive to be able to tell your story, as it makes a difference in the stories of others.
Thanks. In the beginning I never thought it would be possible to get this far. Thanks for your continued encouragement.
You are more than welcome, and I truly believe in my heart of hearts that we have only scratched the surface of our potential and greatness!
Inspiring message indeed! Affirming your experiences I’ve been through the breaking, loss of purpose and emptiness after divorce. But revival came, found a clearer vision for my life and getting stronger everyday. Looking back I realize that as difficult as the experience was it was not meant to break me but to build a stronger woman I find myself being today. I believe many will be encouraged as you share your experiences.
Thank you for sharing your story with me. I am glad that you reached that place of greater strength. Thanks for stopping by my blog and your supportive comment.
This is one of the most inspiring posts I’ve read in a while. I feel a more positive shift in your attitude, and as Diana said, our hearts know our purpose. Hugs! Jennifer
Thanks for your continued support. Hugs to you too 🙂
I really like the picture that you used to illustrate this post. It works really well with the text.
Thanks. Sometimes it takes me a while to find the right picture, even longer than the writing at times. I
Lovely–to be able to know that our “purpose” is not dependent upon the approval of the people whose lives we are part of… or of their always needing us to be “there” in the same way. It’s a great release, isn’t it?
Yes, a huge release. And it was equally uplifting to realise that in order to fulfill my own needs for a purpose, I did not have to solve world poverty or global warming (well, not yet anyway) 🙂
Thanks for stopping by.
It’s so much less burdensome to live, once we realize that we don’t have to save the whole world in order to have a fulfilling existence. 🙂
So true 🙂
You are an inspiration! Thank you, Elizabeth! ❤
Thanks for stopping by and your kind comment 🙂
Thanks for writing this post Elizabeth. It really spoke to me and was a real encouragement. I’m often discouraged that I’m not doing the best I ever could, and often when looking back and feeling down, have to remind myself that in those seemingly unproductive times, surviving and clinging on was a bigger achievement than some of those more obviously successful periods in life (you put it much more effectively than I just did!)
This post really resonates with me – I often feel that we are so judged by what we do and not who we are. One of the first questions a new acquaintance will often ask is “so, what do you do?” It’s easy to judge ourselves by that same standard. As long as I can be seen to be doing something I’m ok. If I’m merely surviving I feel like I’m wasting space.
Thanks for reminding me that this is not the case – the fight is ongoing after all, because we are always looking back on the past, and often we put on the wrong glasses for and our vision is skewed!
Take care! Keep on going on! ❤
Thanks for your supportive comments. It opened up further thoughts for me on “being” the best we can be, rather than thinking we need to be “doing” all the time in order to prove our self-worth.
Thanks for helping me think that part through.
It is said that when we were born, our purpose was written on our hearts, and then, someone said, Ssshhh and that’s how we got the little dip above our lips. 🙂
I love how you’ve expanded into being the full embodiment of your purpose — as you step into your power to inspire others to live to their highest best, you live there too — and the circle continues. that is so cool!
You inspire me Elizabeth. Thank you.
I like your analogy that someone somewhere one day said ‘Ssshhh’ to me. Sometimes I think, why did I ever listen? Then I think, not too late to turn that around now. Thanks for your continued encouragement. 🙂
Great quote indeed, & absolutely love your new goal. It’s wonderful, Elizabeth, you documenting this leaps and bounds of your new life.
Thanks for your continued support.
Sometimes, I think it’s all an illusion and there’s no real purpose to my life – but at that point it usually jumps up and slaps me in the face! Excellent post, Elizabeth, and lovely picture.
I know what you mean 🙂
I have read two books recently that virtually said the same thing, that sometimes one’s ‘purpose’ is to suffer gracefully. For example, for people who may be disabled or have endured a significant loss etc, then their ‘purpose’ may be to simply accept their circumstance and survive (I presume without moaning). When I read this, I was bowled over as it was so different from the usual perspective that we are all supposed to be chasing ‘happiness’ and lots of meaningful things to do. However, when I thought it through, I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. It felt so great knowing that I did not have to solve world hunger or to stop global warming or to come up with some equally meaningful drive. It was OK to just get by 🙂
I always have a problem with thinking of people’s lives as having purposes. I don’t know if it’s a matter of mincing words or if it really is a fundamental difference of a life view.
I am totally with you in the idea that’s it’s all about doing our best with what we have in front of us. Your post is helping me at a time when, having reached a point where I’m able to stop and reflect, I don’t really know what those 26 years mean. I am questioning the concept of “meaning”, too.
I struggle with this concept too and wrote the post anyway. I started looking for a purpose when I gave up on looking for happiness (though I am OK now aiming for some contentment and peace). I am hoping that finding a purpose will give me something to aim for, so that I can look towards a contented future; as opposed to looking back which is still all too painful. I think this is the one chief difference between widows and divorcees. They (the widows) do not have to redefine those once treasured memories. Thanks, I always appreciate your comments.
Great post, Elizabeth. Thank you.
Thanks for your kind comment.
I think you have progressed in a natural way, analyzing, digesting, focusing and moving forward. These expressions of your process help us all when we are going through any challenges. You are setting an example for us to follow. To keep focused on the future is now a great direction and yet, we all spend moments looking backwards, too. I am glad you feel much better, that you realize you showed your family a wonderful way to carry out your purpose at the time! Now, a new purpose, but always you will be a good mother, I know this!
Love love love this post! I love your definition … “living to my highest self’ does not mean ‘the highest and very best that I have ever been capable of‘, but rather ‘the very best that I can be and do – today – in whatever the circumstance is‘.
Thanks for your encouraging comment. It has been a ling-time accepting that, and it is uplifting realising that I do not have to solve world poverty or global warming (well not yet anyway).
You sure are an inspiration dear lady… wonderful post… Divine sister can we enjoy each others journey moving into the unknown and the most exciting times to come… Barbara
Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to make such an encouraging comment. I really do appreciate it. It inspires me to keep on keeping on.
Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind comment
Hi Elizabeth. I was wondering how you are, is all. I will await the next post!
I guess you’re busy with finding your purpose…. me too! 🙂
Sincere regards, Elizabeth, Noeleen
Hello. Thanks for asking after me. I was in a quandary as to whether to chase after finding a purpose or finding happiness. Which comes first? It was bothering me for a while (because I didn’t feel I had either) and then I figured that being confused between those two was definitely a step up from where I have been (despair, pain, anguish and turmoil) so it seems things are looking more positive 🙂
Thanks for your cyber-friendship. I really appreciate it.
Pleasure, Elizabeth. I feel a lot, is truth, in what you are experiencing. I am wishing great outcome for you.
Purpose or happiness is difficult. I distinctly feel no purpose, and presently am struggling daily whether to tear down my blog, as not even that is purpose when I can’t get around to WRITING. It’s so damn difficult, this gig, being human – hence I feel for you, hence I wish you the sincere best.
Thanks. Keep on keeping on, sometimes that is the best I can do. Then I receive an encouragement comment for you and it makes all the difference to my day. You are so kind. In the depths of your own pain, you reach out to me, and to others. I remember the first comment you made on my blog and it filled me with such hope and encouragement. It was uplifting to me. Maybe that is our purpose, you and I…. reaching out to others with comments and giving people hope.
I do SO wish you all the best. You have come so far and you are such an inspiration.
Really powerful post Elizabeth – being the best you – doing it with all your heart – I think that’s the secret recipe right there.
Thanks. I agree. It is simple and yet too often we look for something else.
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