This blog is my journey into myself. From digging into therapy, I’ve learned that I have a tendency to take on an unrealistic and unmanageable share of responsibility for growth and healing for those around me who I care about most. This weakness in drawing healthy boundaries between myself and my dearest loved ones is one of the core factors on my side which I own and take responsibility for in the breakdown of my marriage. As a result, I’ve committed to myself, for the first time, to give myself at minimum one year dedicated to nurturing, caring for and learning my own personal boundaries and needs outside of a romantic relationship.
In order for me to be a valuable, healthy, functioning partner for anyone else, I need to first be sure that I can find and make my own joy, that I can take responsibility for the behavioral patterns in my life which I feel require either modification or dismantling, and that I am capable of identifying what values and life philosophies are most important to me, what I value most in myself and others and how we relate to each other, and finally that I am capable of identifying and compassionately communicating and negotiating my needs and associated boundaries with others.
The first step in this is accepting the fact that entering another relationship at this point in time would be irresponsible both to the other person and disrespectful to my own personal journey through grieving a relationship that spanned nearly a decade.
I won’t be perfect or anywhere close after one year. But this is one year in which I fully dedicate myself to me. As in most things, I quote Steinbeck:
“I believe when you come to that responsibility the hugeness and you are alone to make your choice [between mediocrity and greatness]. On one side you have warmth and companionship and sweet understanding, and on the other – cold, lonely greatness. There you make your choice.”
I chose mediocrity once. Today, I choose the loneliness of greatness. Giving myself the opportunity to become the greatest version of myself I possibly can be.
And that means a lot of reflections on my life and my choices that led me to this moment. With that in mind, it’s important I set some clear intentions, even as my identity remains more or less anonymous:
- Names will always be changed. I understand that while this is my story, it also requires the telling of parts of the stories of others. It is never my intention to vilify (or overly glorify) any of the people who have been a part of my life. While I might express pain, anguish, frustration, anger or other emotional states as regards a person, my goal is always to understand what is at the core of that emotional response so I can better decide if that’s an emotional response I find justifiable or one which I choose to change and actively work on.
My intention is never to tell someone else’s story for them or to paint someone in any specific light, but rather to acknowledge the role they have played in my story and to identify what exactly that role is or was and what effects it has had on my life — which parts I want to move forward with and which parts I purposefully leave behind.
- I will acknowledge my grief and my pain and will not rush to making it better just for the sake of not feeling uncomfortable. But likewise, I will not let it overstay its welcome or its need. Even in my pain, I will acknowledge that though the pain is real and relevant and important, that it clouds my ability to see things judiciously and that no decision should be made in that state, and nor should my coloring of a person’s character be irrevocably drawn in said state either.
- I will not let myself off the hook. Where there is responsibility for my actions and my role, I will take it. But likewise, I will not unnecessarily beat myself up. I will always remember that generally speaking, I, like everyone else, am always doing my best. And that sometimes, my best isn’t quite what I had hoped, but that I can always make it better the next time, but only if I can acknowledge what I didn’t do optimally and forgive myself for the misstep.
- I will learn to listen to and respect my instincts.
- I will remember that I am young and life is long and wholly unpredictable. I will remember and work to focus only on each new day, and focus on finding things that make me feel happy and fulfilled and marvel at my ability to give myself that gift.