I recently learned that my ex husband got engaged. After living for more than three decades with this man in my life, I must admit, hearing this news was a punch in the gut. I spent the next two days with a horrible feeling surrounding me, you know that uneasiness you get in your stomach after someone close passes away? My body was on edge, I shook inside, and could not shed the anxiousness of impending doom. Even with all of the horrific things that transpired between us, I had an emotional reaction to his engagement.
I’m not really sure why I felt the way I did. I knew he was dating someone exclusively and we haven’t been part of each other’s lives for six years (as he severed all ties when he met her), and yet, I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of the life we were supposed to live, loss of the family I so desperately wanted, loss of many dreams.
I thought I had grieved the divorce and moved on, my life is on a wonderful trajectory and I’m happy, but, there I was again, right in the middle of the pain. Divorce truly is the gift that just keeps giving!
How we feel about ourselves dictates the way we live life. It impacts the way we approach just about everything we do. Yet, sadly, many people struggle to believe in their worth and abilities.
Throughout my life, my levels of self-confidence have ebbed and flowed. Growing up I was an overweight adolescent, which had a significant effect on how I viewed myself. When you’re young, external validation is so important and when that is compromised, it can stay with you forever. When I became a teenager, I lost weight, but, to be honest, my self-image didn’t change. The programming was written, and, as I later learned, only I could modify it.
This month, July 8 to be exact, marks the eighth anniversary of the premiere of the Change Your Attitude…Change Your Life (CYACYL) radio show.
Back in 2009, I was going through a bit of an identity crisis trying to figure out my next move. I had given so much of myself to my family that I got lost. I had no career, my children were growing up, and my marriage was stagnant. It was during that time, from what I was feeling, that I had the idea to create a medium that would bridge the gap between people who needed information for self empowerment, and those who could provide it.
Eight years ago, my life was pretty ordinary – I was a wife, mother, daughter and sister – just an average woman experiencing what many wives and mothers feel. To this day, I cannot say from where this seed was planted. I had no special training, or no radio or business ownership experience. And yet, I wanted to take it on. Looking back, I must have appeared insane. A few told me I was, but I didn’t care.
Just when my career was starting to gain traction, my life took a tumultuous turn. Within a period of six months, my 23-year marriage ended, my mother died, my sister died, and my oldest son left for college. The life I knew ceased to exist. I was broken hearted, depressed, and exhausted. I didn’t see much of a future for me.
I recently presented a keynote address to a group of business professionals. During the speech I talked about the importance of eliminating negative voices – our own and those from external sources. I explained that there are many people, for whatever reason, consciously or unconsciously, who will say things that can have a detrimental impact one’s self-esteem and ability to move forward.
Anyone that puts him/herself “out there” and takes a risk knows what I’m talking about. The well-meaning people who offer “friendly” advice designed to “help” you out. Or, the direct words of condemnation that tell you exactly why you will never succeed at what you are attempting to do.
The aftermath of this presentation was no different than what I have experienced for years. I was greeted by most with words of affirmation and encouragement. But, then there were a few …
This morning, I received a phone call from a business colleague with whom I have forged a friendship. During the call, she informed me about her recent illness and shared the challenges that she endured. After hearing about her suffering and subsequent recovery, I said, “Oh honey, I’m so happy that you’re feeling better.”
After my statement, there was a moment of silence after which she replied, “Please don’t call me honey … it’s very condescending!” With those words there was a noticeable shift in her persona.
I must admit … her response took me by surprise, which was probably evident by my silence. The voice in my head screamed, “What the heck just happened? Why were my well-intended wishes met with scorn?” I had no idea what elicited her response.
Every sappy romantic can recall that moment in the movie Love Story when, after an argument, Oliver told Jenny he was sorry and through her tears she quivered and replied, “Don’t … love means never having to say you’re sorry”.
Anyone who has ever been in a loving relationship understands the point of that statement – unconditional love doesn’t require one to apologize. But, is it really a good practice to forego an admission of wrongdoing or hurtful behavior?
I say, no way! Love means saying you’re sorry!
Do you often think about doing something different or implementing a new idea only to allow fear to stop you dead in your tracks? Do you frequently conjure up a list of reasons to be inactive, why you shouldn’t try or can’t accomplish something?
All too often we build roadblocks to personal and professional success because we allow fear to be a governing force in our life. I was once that type of person, but no more!
August 8 marks the fourth anniversary of my divorce. Growing up, just like most people, when I envisioned marriage, I saw the “they lived happily ever after” ending. Divorce was not in my frame of reference. My parents were married 56 years at the time of my father’s passing, and my grandparents made it to 72 years. They were my role models of what was to be – divorce was not part of my life plan. But as the old saying goes, “it is what it is,” and so I adapted.
With my divorce came many adjustments; some wonderful, some not so. One of the most difficult challenges that I’ve had to endure, and one, which to be honest, I never expected, was being relegated to the world of single womandom; the community of women who no longer get invited to socialize with couples. The outcasts that colonized together much like the lepers of Biblical times.
Recently a friend who was contemplating separating from her husband gave me a call and asked my advice. A few years ago when my emotions were spinning out of control and I was in the throes of my marriage breakdown I would have shouted “Divorce the bastard!”
Now, a few years post-divorce, I have gotten off the emotional rollercoaster called relationship breakdown and a cooler head prevails. My advice to her: slow down you move too fast!
Recently I had the opportunity to engage in conversation with astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, who is best known for the Apollo 11 space mission, the first spaceflight that landed humans on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first to step on the lunar surface and Buzz followed within minutes.
In our discussion, Buzz told me that after that flight, he was angry, sad, depressed, and anxious at being labeled number two. It drove him crazy whenever he was introduced as the second man to walk on the moon. This went on for years.