When one goes through a trauma and/or profound loss, it changes every aspect of your life.
It changes your daily routine.
It changes your sense of security.
It changes your health.
It changes you sense of identity.
Everything you have ever believed gets questioned and your life goes into turmoil.
During my time of turmoil, I have decided to question everything I have ever believed and there have been changes to my thought patterns.
I learned not to worry so much. I can’t change my past so I no longer obsess about my past choices and regrets. There is so much about the future that I can’t control, so I don’t worry about that. There was no way I could foresee what would happen to Bryon and it happened. I can’t control what happens tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. I can just live my life and try to make the best decisions I can.
My tolerance for bullsh*t is so much lower, if it even exists at all. I have learned that life is too short to deal with inauthentic people who have no regard for your feelings and are trying to make your life more difficult.
I had always been a rule follower. Bryon used to give me hard time about it. Some rules are meant to be bent, some broken and some are silly and shouldn’t be followed at all.
During this season of my life, I have thrown myself into a period of soul searching. I have learned so much from reading books and blogs, from heart to heart talks with close friends and from watching YouTube.
I am always up for a conversation pondering the meaning of life and how to live one’s life to the fullest.
I am not a guru but if I were to offer one piece of advice, it would be that you need to love yourself.
It might sound cheesy but you can never be happy if you don’t love yourself.
Too often, we are taught that the needs of others should be put above your own. Any mother knows this. Our kids come first and we neglect ourselves.
But we are actually doing our children a disservice by not allowing ourselves to be happy.
If my baseline is to be unhappy, my daughter will pick up on that. She will grow up learning that you are supposed to be unhappy.
People often think that I am a happy person because I have a cheerful disposition.
I had them fooled.
I was never truly happy.
I have always relied on others to make me happy.
Happiness was measured by how many friends I had and who I was friends with. For someone focused on that, I never had many deep friendships.
And when I was married, I relied on Bryon to make me happy.
The whole part of Jerry McGuire where he says to Renee Zellweger “You complete me” is complete and utter bullsh*t.
No one can complete anyone. We have to be happy and complete within ourselves.
I grew up with very low self-esteem. I didn’t date much and I measured my self worth by this.
I had one long term relationship at the end of college. I often refer to this guy as the “Anti-Bryon” because they were opposites on many things. The “Anti-Bryon” did not appreciate me and tried to extinguish my spirit. Though I don’t think he necessarily did that intentionally. I think he just vibrated on a lower level of energy. When we broke up my Grandma Sullivan expressed that she was disappointed that we had ended our relationship. She had liked him. I told her that the Anti-Bryon had no intention of marrying me. My grandmother just said “You’re right. He didn’t have enough zip for you.”
God, I miss my grandmother.
Needless to say, I let how the Anti-Bryon viewed me to affect my self-worth. When I am in love, I like to express it verbally. (Actually, I am told I express a lot of things verbally, not just love.) I would tell the Anti-Bryon that I loved him and he would get annoyed and respond with “random.”
And it was random, but I was expressing my love. Which I feel should be done when you feel it.
If you express your love, the recipient should appreciate it. I mean, as long as you are doing it in a non-creepy manner. If you express your love to a complete stranger in a public place then that recipient would be justified for not appreciating it. But if you are in a committed relationship, then you should be able to tell your significant lover that you love them, gosh darn it!
I began to realize that the Anti-Bryon was with me for convenience.
Eventually, I decided that I deserved better. I deserved to be loved.
The Anti-Bryon and I were supposed to stay friends but that didn’t last long. Our friendship started to take after our relationship. As in, I was doing all the work. I remember chatting with him on Instant Messenger in Late October in 2004. I told him I was volunteering on the 2004 Bush Campaign and that I had just been diagnosed with bronchitis but I was still going out to wave signs. I was excited. I was telling him because we were friends and he barely seemed interested. I mean, he also was a Democrat so that may have played a little bit into it. But it was at that moment that I realized he didn’t even deserve my friendship. That was the last time we spoke.
I dated a little over the next 4-5 years.
Whenever I let my guard down, I was rejected. This took a toll on my self-esteem.
I got strung along. Like on How I Met Your Mother. I was always on some guys hook.
Then one day I said “F*ck it.”
Inspired by one of my favorite movies of all time, Kate and Leopold, I decided to take Leopold’s Victorian dating advice and not give a man my time unless he made a “proper overture”.
Bryon did not string me along.
Bryon did not keep me on his hook.
Bryon made a proper overture and made his intentions known.
And we should have lived happily ever after and in some respects we did.
We loved each other fiercely. We were good for each other.
But no relationship is perfect.
Our relationship was not perfect for many reasons.
One of the reasons our relationship wasn’t perfect was because I did not love myself.
I recently read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book , The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship: A Toltec Wisdom Book. It is a continuation of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) which is based on Toltec Wisdom. I highly recommend both. (The link is an Amazon affiliate link which means if you click on it and decide buy it, I probably get, like, $0.04 or something. Why not?)
In The Mastery of Love, Ruiz discusses how there are two people in every relationship and we are only responsible for our happiness. The other person is responsible for their happiness.
In order to thrive in a relationship, one must look inward and be happy and complete with themselves first. Ergo, Tom Cruise was full of sh*t in Jerry McGuire because no on can complete you.
So Bryon and I were in a marriage and I was expecting him to complete me.
I wasn’t happy with myself.
I relied on Bryon for my happiness. This was not fair because he was not responsible for my happiness. I was.
He definitely tried to make me happy. He offered me the world and I still wasn’t happy with myself.
I know I frustrated him.
I was unhappy with myself and often, that unhappiness would spill over into our relationship.
Any other guy probably would have left me but Bryon made it clear that I was stuck with him.
I felt so poorly about myself that I never understood what Bryon saw in me.
I felt he could do better.
I can’t speak for Bryon’s half of the relationship and his thoughts. Those thoughts died with him. It is easy to put your deceased spouse on a pedestal but I know he wasn’t perfect. But I would love to be able to discuss this with him.
I wish he could see how much I have grown.
Though if he were still alive, I probably wouldn’t have grown.
But I can’t help but wonder how much stronger our marriage would have been if I had been happy with myself.
Bryon loved me at my worst.
My next husband will have the better version of me because now I love myself.
I just don’t want people to have to go through what I did to realize how important it is for you to love yourself first.