He pulled the green sponge from my hands as I was wiping the counter, and for what felt like the hundredth time, he told me the green sponge was for dishes and the yellow one was for the counter.
That was the end and the beginning.
That was the moment I realized I couldn’t take it anymore and that my life had to be different.
It was the sponges and all of the other instructions on "how to be". It was a million little things that added up to me never feeling as if I were enough.
“I just want to be happy!” I declared in the kitchen on that cold November night.
It wouldn’t have mattered if I got the sponges right and I didn’t care; I felt like a constant disappointment to my partner.
I was always trying to be reasonable in an unreasonable situation. All those years I tried to follow the instructions I was given in the hopes one day it would be enough.
I was so tired of feeling like a disappointment. And then it hit me: although I loved my partner and wanted him to be happy, I needed to unmarry.
My divorce was the most devastating experience of my life.
With each day over the next two years, I could feel myself falling into deep despair.
Paying the bills. Being there for my child. Needing to figure out who I was going to be when I grew up.
How did I get here? Who am I? What just happened?
While trying to untangle myself from this partnership, I realized I had lost my Self, and had for many years. It would take years to find Me again.
Pain is an opportunity to reclaim ourselves and have a real shot at being happy. Pain is our hope, a chance to create our lives anew.
I didn’t realize that unchoosing the relationship would be my salvation. How I would discover my greatness, my bigness, my purpose, and make sense out of my own existence.
Not only did I find hope, but I also discovered a world of possibility - and the key and unlocked Me.
Total transformation takes work. Deep, emotional, messy work – no skipping over this critical step. We can’t just say, “screw it, I’m moving on”. There is no moving on, there is only work to do.
Our personal work awaits us. It's in mustering up the courage to take on this challenge that we can then find the happiness and love we deserve.
When we get real with ourselves about our lives and give up being the victim, we can then step into our power.
It starts with taking full responsibility for our choices in partners, and reserving the right to unchoose them should we need to.
The most important job we have is to take excellent care of our heart.
3 ways to get your power back:
1. do your "personal work"
Getting real about your relationship and the impact it has on your life is your job. Finding a killer therapist and attending transformational workshops, seminars and retreats can help support you through the process of becoming the amazing person that you are.
2. read some personal growth books
My personal favorites are: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and 5 Languages of Love by Gary Chapman. You can also Google Top 10 personal growth books, get audio versions for your car rides and ask your emotionally healthy friends for their good reads.
3. create a friend group
Friends are the unconditional listening for our lives. If most of your friends are being “victims”, find some new friends. Healthy people help remind us of our value and our worth. Perhaps, create a secret Facebook group, invite 12 emotionally-healthy people to join and then each takes a turn hosting a monthly gathering. Potlucks in the name of personal growth rock.