“Life is difficult”. This is a great truth.M.Scott Peck.
There have been dark feelings surrounding my divorce including frustration, sadness, loneliness, regret, anger, fear, anxiety, and despair. All of these have caused me intense pain. I have gradually learned my freedom from pain lies in living by the truth, and the path to truth in itself involves pain. . .
1. Delayed Gratification
In the beginning my pain was so intense I just wanted to get rid of it, run from it or cover it up. That was my focus, rather than facing the pain and the feeling behind it. For example it was much easier distracting myself in pleasurable activities (or ‘relief’ measures) such as watching movies, walking, and spending time with loved ones; than to face my pain.
To face it, it was necessary for me to temporarily fore-go those ‘relief’ measures in order to feel it. Once I took time to truly feel the pain I found that, whilst pain itself is a single symptom, the feelings behind are multi-factorial. My pain has not all been sadness of my past. A lot of pain has been anxiety over present tasks and fear of the future. Dealing with overwhelming practical present issues or planning my future require totally different techniques than dealing with unresolved emotional issues of the past. Until I spent time facing and feeling my pain, it was all one big blur. When the pain hits me now, I feel it. I am more able to separate the differing feelings of sadness, anxiety or fear; the past, present and future issues behind those feelings; and deal with them in an appropriate manner. Facing and feeling pain has clearly been the first step in resolving any issue behind it.
2. Acceptance of Responsibility
Whilst situations may have been thrust upon me, it is only me who can respond. If I remain stuck in blaming my circumstances for where I am, I will never savour the pleasure of getting to a better place.
For example, if I remain stuck in ‘why do I have to deal with all this mess’ attitude, rather than sorting through the 100 archive boxes in the shed, I will not be able to move on to the new life that beckons me. The same goes for the last remaining pieces of the property settlement process; and the planning of my future. It is up to me.
Again, I need to fore-go pleasures to bowl over these overwhelming tasks, which will involve further pain. However, I will then be able to bask in the glory of their completion.
3. Dedication To The Truth
Some divorced people years later are still in the dream of the happy-ever-after.when their reality has changed. I do not blame them. Facing reality is painful. Acceptance of my own reality and its truth was painful. Dealing with my reality of a single almost-sixty year old with a risky financial base was difficult. However, that is the truth of my present which I can change. It is not the illusion of my past which I cannot.
While the child inside me still cries out ‘give me relief’, ‘let me escape’, ‘let me build a fortress to shut out the pain’; the truth is I know that it is not ‘relief’ that will set me free, but challenge. The solving of my problems will set me free, not the deadening of my pain.
Life is for living and forging ahead will require a balance of: delaying some pleasures in order to solve my problems, yet still living joyously in the present, and keeping an ever watchful eye on the future; balancing needs, responsibilities and goals; accepting my responsibilities, yet rejecting those that are not mine; and holding on to those things that serve me well, while giving up those that do not.
Balancing will not be easy. It may even be painful. However, ridding myself of past illusions, seeing the truth, embracing the reality of my present, and focussing on solutions to rather than the pain of my problems will free me for a challenging and exciting future.
1.Quote and insight from The Road Less Travelled’ by M. Scott Peck.
Your courage and words of wisdom continue to inspire me.
Thanks. I needed that. I appreciate your friendship. It keeps me strong.
I love this post Elizabeth. It’s filled with wisdom and hope.
Thanks. I need that hope to infiltrate as much as possible 🙂
Sometimes it takes a while before wisdom replaces the pain. May light and love be yours always.
I will focus on that wisdom and that poem ….. the wisdom to know the difference. It is quite empowering. Thanks for your kind comment.
So well said:)
Thanks. I have a great mentor.
(ie: you 🙂 )
Lol. You’re too kind:) Have a great day!
I love it too — so very, very hopeful and filled with compassion for yourself. I love how you talk about having to get the small (and not so small) things done in order to enjoy the pleasure that is in your world.
Yes, moving those ‘dealing with things from the past’ into ‘things I have to do to make room for my future’ is empowering and uplifting. Thanks
A brilliant summation. I often get caught up in fear of the future, and my typical reaction to fear is anger, so I stew in that toxic mess longer than is helpful. Lots to mull over here — thank you.
Dealing with the “toxic mess” seems to be one of the ‘gifts’ given to us in the divorce. I am hanging on to the hope that there IS honour in dealing with that and it will make me a stringer better person. Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate it.
Very wise words and a most important journey. Sometimes all that matters is taking that next small step.
Thanks for your kind comment. Each step is indeed small and yet, because it is moving ahead, each individual step is also powerful.
Elizabeth, you capture the truth about any worthwhile endeavour: there are no shortcuts, no magic solutions. Thought-provoking post!
Thanks again for your support and kindness.
” . . . . watching movies, walking, and spending time with loved ones . . . . ‘
I hope you still find some time to do this, dear Elizabeth. I was wondering in how much any of your children could make some time for you in sorting out a few things so that you do not have to do everything totally on your own. For instance, what you say about these boxes in the shed, they sound to me to be a rather daunting task!
Thanks for another great post, Elizabeth. I admire your determination. However, from time to time I think you might reward yourself with a few ‘relief’ measures, meaning some “pleasurable activities”, right?
I know, you probably spend as much time as possible with your children. When I remember right, they do not live close by. And you probably do not want to impose on them, just enjoy them.
All these things you still want to do, like sorting out these boxes! It would just be nice if there would be a close person around who could sometimes give you a bit of a hand with it or maybe some advice?
I imagine, if I had to live on my own, I would probably very much like to have a very few close friends around from time to time. The question is, are friends like these available?
Sorry, I am asking so many questions. I think in your past replies you’ve probably already given some of the answer. I wish you good luck and happiness in everything you’re doing. I reckon peace of mind, this is what is most important to enjoy life. Best wishes, Aunty Uta.
Thanks for your reply. What you say makes a lot of sense. yes, the children do help me. There is quite a bit to get through and it can be overwhelming. I say to myself, two boxes a week is 100 boxes in a year, and it can all be done. as for the fund time, I am actually spending the time with my children this weekend. They are taking me away as a surprise for my birthday. I am looking forward to it. Thank you for your kindness. It means a lot to me.
Wishing you a very Happy Birthday weekend with your children, dear Elizabeth. Hugs and Best Wishes, Uta.
A lot of clarity here, Elizabeth. I was in such a head mush when I left my husband (age 26). I started renting a bedsitter, started going to parties, worked as a croupier at the casino, had sex with abandon. None of this reflection you are doing. I really admire your ability for introspection and learning, growing. Beautiful, Elizabeth.
Yes to the introspection and learning. The ‘growing’ bit is probably true too (but heard to believe sometimes). Thanks for your support…..
and what you did at age 26….. you were a child in pain, you don’t need to feel guilty for any of this now.
This is my favorite statement: “the truth is I know that it is not ‘relief’ that will set me free, but challenge. The solving of my problems will set me free, not the deadening of my pain.”
Yes, it is the facing and dealing with the harsh reality of the changed situation (rather than grieving over the pain) that is the light at the end of the tunnel.
M. Scott Peck’s books are some of my favorites! I liked his one about values clarification and also raising up to a higher plane of consciousness! This brought back memories, I like your problem solving and the steps you set out for us all to imitate, too! I could learn from you, like you are my ninja master! Smiles, Robin
Thanks. That is an encouraging comment (that I am your ninja master). I am glad that I have been reaching you and it inspires me to keep going.