The Biggest Lesson I Learned From My Divorce
It was all her fault.
She was so difficult, challenging and uncompromising.
She couldn’t give in, not even an inch.
So many of these thoughts swirled through my mind as I squarely placed the blame for my divorce on my ex.
When the marriage ended, my blame meter was supercharged.
If she had just changed, everything would have been ok.
If she had been just a little more forgiving or a little more respectful or a little more accommodating, we could have made it work.
I was angry with her not only for the marriage’s end but for the way she showed up in the marriage.
I felt she had so many problems and I simply couldn’t fix them.
What a difference 7 years makes!
My journey to coming to terms with my divorce and moving on came down to one very basic and profound lesson about love, relationships and life.
It has nothing to do with anyone else.
Let me repeat: Your journey and your growth and your happiness have little to do with other people.
Your partners and spouses are simply mirrors of whom you really are.
All the issues you find in your ex have more to do with you than with them.
You don’t agree.
I don’t want to agree.
I want to fight this notion and I did fight it for years.
Until the epiphany one day: What if it was me?
How sacrilegious of me to say this!
How disrespectful to myself!
Yet, that’s what I can ultimately share with you about my most profound experience from divorce.
It really had nothing, or very little, to do with the other person.
(I understand that in some situations, the other person is violent or abusive, or has serious underlying issues. In such cases, that person is responsible.)
Those of us who get divorced are on the high-speed train to inner growth, spiritual growth and wisdom. But ….
only if we let that happen.
This can start only when we take the blame off the other person and focus on ourselves.
Let’s say you don’t quite agree and are intent on convincing me that the other person was the one at fault.
Your ex cheated on you, was mentally or emotionally abusive towards you, left you…
Even in these cases, I’m suggesting that those are things you have very little control over.
You CANNOT change, correct or fix your ex or anyone else in your future.
You CAN make wiser and smarter decisions about whom you choose to be with.
And…you can try to figure out what issues you brought to the table, how you dealt with your ex and what you can do differently.
This was my biggest lesson. It doesn’t have to be yours.
If you strongly blame your ex and believe your ex is at fault, fine.
You can let it be but you may be robbing yourself of the opportunity to take responsibility, do your own inner work and improve your own life.
If you’re ready to move past the blame game and holding your ex responsible for everything that happened in the past, it’s time to get honest about some of the questions you’re asking yourself.
- How could you have shown up differently in the relationship?
- How did you make things worse for you or your ex in your relationship?
- How could you have handled things differently in your past relationship?
- What are your triggers and shortcomings when it comes to relationships?
- What kind of help or tools do you need going forward?
- What are the lessons and insights your former guru, your ex, was able to leave you with?
- What are you still angry about?
- What are you still resenting?
- What are the things you need to forgive and let go of?
- Who are you becoming with this self-awareness, knowledge and insight about yourself?
The longer you hold onto the blame, the longer it’ll take for you to move on.
This doesn’t happen overnight or immediately.
It took me several years to go from blaming my ex to slapping myself in the face and realizing that I was the one who had the issues!
Again, she may have had issues too but it wasn’t my job to fix them. I don’t have the tools to help her solve her issues, triggers and shortcomings.
All I could have done was point them out to her and all she could have done was the same.
If you’re resisting what I’m saying, I get it.
It took me the better part of a decade to get here.
It’s so much easier to blame and shift responsibility.
It’s convenient and comfortable to feel like nothing is wrong with you and that you brought no issues to the table.
It doesn’t require us to do any work or take any action yet we are losing the self-growth and insight that accepting responsibility fosters.
Have you taken responsibility for your past relationship? Did you play a role in the deterioration of your marriage or relationship?
I’m curious to hear what you have to say. Drop me a line and reply to my email.
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Happy 2019, all – this is our year!