I was having a conversation with my friend Kate– I’m not even sure what we were discussing and I started telling her about about how amazing it felt to finally take responsibility for my life. Let me back up…
I hit my own rock bottom in early 2007. About a year prior to that my husband had left me for another woman, and I immediately got into a new relationship. This new boyfriend ended up being a drug addict and faked cancer to cover up his addiction. Our break-up was horrible. I found myself on the floor of my apartment, crying my eyes out and begging The Universe to help me. Not to spoil the story– but the Universe did show up to help me, however there was something really important I had to do first.
See, the reason I found myself in two back-to-back messed up situations was because I made two very big mistakes in my life: 1) I looked to other people to make me happy and 2) when it didn’t work out, I blamed them. For everything. My addiction to control was so strong I had unknowingly convinced myself that if only I could make other people change, I would be happy. If they would just do and be what I said, everything would be fine. Throw in some perfectionism and avoiding feeling my feelings and I was a serious mess.
But, that day when I picked myself up off the floor, I knew one thing: the only thing these situations had in common was me. My ex-husband and ex-boyfriend were not solely responsible for my feelings and future. Sure, what they did was lame, but I had to take total responsibility for myself. For once.
I had to look in the mirror and own up to the fact that I had:
Chosen to stay in those relationships when my intuition told me to leave. Numerous times.
Chosen to stay when my friends and family advised me otherwise.
Chosen to blame my ex’s and try to change them.
Chosen to believe that I could control them and our relationship, thus thinking it would solve MY problems.
Chosen to numb my feelings instead of DEALING with what was happening.
And yes, it sucked to come to these realizations. I was ashamed of my decisions. I was ashamed of where I had ended up. I knew I was a smart girl. And I know now that I did the best I could with what I had then and that wasn’t a whole lot. I didn’t know how to act and behave maturely around emotions– mine and others. But, deep down I knew I was destined for greatness. And the biggest realization I had was:
I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD CONTROL HOW I FELT ABOUT MYSELF.
And oh my god the freedom.
And coming to this realization was both freeing and scary. Scary because I knew I had to start to learn to like myself. I didn’t at that time. I had to work on forgiving myself. I had to work on looking at the reality of my situation and start to pick up the pieces. It’s much easier to hide and pretend it’s all fine. And I know a lot of us do that.
Now I’m not saying the freedom came overnight. It’s been a long process that has trickled in over time. But, I can promise you if you do the work, the magic of freedom will come. If you own up to what you’re tolerating, how you’re behaving in your relationships, and how you feel about yourself, you then have the power to actually change it.