Make It Better

I had no idea.

I had no idea when I started blogging that it would change the way I look at, well, everything.

I am a numbers gal. I like data and graphs, empirical evidence of cause and effect. But I’m also a relationship person. I like to build and nurture connections with people.

And blogging is interesting that way. The input in is words and the output is in relationships and data. And the data holds clues to building relationships.

 

Behind the scenes on any website, you get information about traffic and views. You can track visits over time and analyze the impact of certain posts or links. And for a numbers gal like me, that data is intoxicating. It’s like a full-time science experiment with little restraint, “Let’s see what happens if I try this.”

After a few months blogging, I noticed an interesting pattern. From day to day, week to week and month to month, all of my data takes a cyclical pattern, growing and shrinking in a predictable wave.

wavelength

Simply the recognition of that pattern was comforting. In those early days, those troughs caused me to question, well, everything. It was easy to conclude that the downward slide would continue until my site was obsolete. Remember that I didn’t see myself as a writer. Just a math teacher who happened to have a story. But every time, with no clear reason, the pendulum would shift and the readers would come again. I learned to find comfort in the pattern, secure in the belief that the pattern would continue.

But that wasn’t enough. After all, a science experience where you simply observe is no fun at all. So I started to increase my efforts every time the numbers would fall. I would post more frequently, seek out new readers and new platforms and generally market like crazy. My goal was to raise the troughs to the level of the crests.

The interesting part? It didn’t work.

I mean, the numbers would increase again, but only in the same pattern as before. Yet I would be exhausted for the efforts. Perhaps because efforts during ebbs are often driven by fear and frustration. And they’re lousy drivers.

So I changed tactics. When the numbers indicated a trough, I stayed steady. But when a crest approached, I got busy. I realized it was easier to build at the top. I was excited and my energy was contagious. Leads seemed to come from everywhere and links would pour in. The good mojo would feed my creativity and the words would flow from my fingers.

And you know what?

It worked.

The amplitude increased, each crest a little higher than the one before. And those dips? Well, they also stepped up and weren’t quite as dippy.

And I wasn’t exhausted after the cycle of increased effort. In fact, I felt energized.

When something is good, it is easy to make it better.

As a numbers gal, I see patterns everywhere. And, as I learned to recognize and work with this cyclical pattern in blogging, I began to see it in other areas of my life.

My students’ progress ebbs and flows throughout the year.

My fitness seems to build only to fall again due to injury or illness.

My writing inspiration comes in waves (usually with ill-timing!).

Money comes and goes.

Social events arrive in waves.

And, most interestingly, my relationships seem to be on a similar wavelength, with periods of greater intimacy and connection followed by times of more detachment.

And that was eye-opening.

As someone who has been betrayed and abandoned, it is all too easy to interpret that downward trend as an inevitable slide towards the death of a relationship.

When in reality, it’s just part of a normal pattern.

Periods of growth are often followed by periods of rest.

Just look around you.

After my experiments on the blog proved successful, I decided to try them on my marriage.

I put my efforts into making the good times even better. To build even greater intimacy and connection at those times when everything seemed to just flow. And when I feel more distance, I don’t without effort, but I also don’t expend extra. I just recognize it as a period of rest before the next wave.

And you know what?

It works.

The crests get higher, pulling the troughs up as well. Every effort is magnified. The good feelings are multiplied.

Just like the best way to build yourself up is to help build up those around you.

And the best part?

Energy spent making the good even better isn’t draining. It’s rewarding.

Look around your life.

Do you see cycles?

Periods of ebb and flow.

You can fight the ebb.

You can go with the flow.

Or you can can work to amplify each pinnacle, reaching new heights with every period of growth.

Making the good even better.

There’s no limit to what you can reach.

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Make It Better

  1. I stumbled across your blog a few months ago — my husband asked me for a divorce on the 20 December 2013. I did not see it coming, I walked around January like I had been hit in the head with a 2 by 4.

    I live in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Initially nothing you said resonated with me. I think I was in full blown anger, disillusionment, avoidance and all those words together.

    I subscribed to your blog – each time it arrived, I would think I really do not want to read this …… because there is nothing I can learn here.

    I was wrong. As I have been. Your blog has taught me things and made me focus on things that I do not think years of therapy could have done for me.

    Instead of lawyers, we are using mediators and facilitators. My guess is that within 6 more hours of m&f a 20 year relationship will be over. And then we just wait for the rubber stamp from a judge.

    Today this one resonated with me — and I am not a glass if half full kind of girl “When something is good, it is easy to make it better.”

    Thank you for writing.

    1. Wow. Thank you for giving me a chance:) I completely get the “I don’t have anything to learn here” feeling. I felt that way quite a bit in the early months. I think it’s because we’re so defensive once we’ve been hurt so much. We curl up inside a protective shell for awhile.

      So sorry to hear that the end is near. That stamp symbolizes the end of one life. But is also marks the beginning of a new one. And I wish the best for you in your second life.

  2. I started reading your blog over a year and half ago. My husband, also my high school sweetheart left me in a tsunami divorce for another women over two years ago. Your blog has helped me so much, and even though I feel that my life is currently back on track, I still read your blog because of the amazing insight that you give. I wish that I found your blog earlier, when I was in the depths of depression. I went through many of the same symptoms that you did. It would have been nice to know that they were normal at the time that I was going through them.
    Now, my cousin is going through a horrific divorce. She lost her house and her children. I just recommended your book and blog to her. You are an example of healing under the worst of circumstances and have help me so much.

    1. Wow. Again, honored and humbled. Thank you so much for your support and for spreading the word. I am so sorry to hear about your cousin, yet thrilled to hear about you. I know that you’ll be an inspiration for her on how to make it through.

  3. Reblogged this on Between Madness & Euphoria and commented:
    I’ve never reblogged anything before, but I loved this post by Lessons From the End of a Marriage.

    These waves have carried me up and down for the past 2 1/2 years. I’ve learned is that when I’m in a trough, I just need to hold on long enough, and then something will break, and things will start looking up and cresting again.

    The waves have taught me the importance of rest and acceptance.

    And I’ve learned you can not fight the wave. You can try but it’s like any other exhausting and fruitless endeavor like trying to fix someone else.

    I’m just waiting for the day the waves start flowing a little slower and more calmly.

  4. I do remember you were one of the first to comment on my blog and sent me a link to your ‘tsunami’ ending which helped. Interestingly enough, the posts where I described my horror did initially get more comments than the ‘I am feeling positive’ posts.
    Thanks for your support and I still read every one of your posts.

    1. And thank you for your support:) I, too, find that the horror stories get more comments. I think it’s because they’re more emotional and trigger an emotional response in others.

  5. You have hit me between the eyes from the very first time I read your words. I didn’t always appreciate it, but I kept coming back. I came back knowing I needed the punch, knowing your words would help me through the fog. You threw small white pebbles in my path where it seemed I only had large black boulders.

    This one, as with so many others sings. Thank you for putting in the work, whether in the peaks or valleys what you do it helps.

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