I decided early on to view the challenge of my divorce as an opportunity to learn. Here are some of my lessons:
1) Fear is greatest right before a plunge. Any fan of roller coasters knows this one well; the scariest part of the ride is the ascent as you anticipate the terror ahead. I went through my entire marriage terrified of losing him. Once I did, I found that I could handle the reality much better than the anticipatory fear.
2) Softness is complimentary to strength, not in opposition to it. I used to approach everything like a bull, pushing my way through with pure determination. I have learned the power of flexibility and fluidity and it has only helped me to grow stronger.
3) Tsunamis can wash out relationships. Great destructive power can lie beneath a placid surface of a marriage. I have learned to be wary of what hides in the depths.
4) Interdependence is preferrable to complete independence. I was often too independent in my marriage, leaving my ex to feel as though he wasn’t needed. I have learned that it is okay to ask for and receive assistance. My current partner and I are very much a team; I’m not sure I could have said that before.
5) Be not do. I have learned the power of stillness, mindfulness, and meditation. I no longer base my self worth on my to-do list.
6) Cooking really isn’t that hard and you don’t have to wear an apron to do it.
7) Stress is a choice. I have learned that I can choose not to carry stress and tension, instead releasing it through meditation, exercise, and companionship.
8) Forgiveness is possible even against the unforgivable. Actually, it’s not just possible; it’s required to move forward.
9) The legal system will not protect me. I have had to learn to self-advocate and work within a system that can be manipulated and avoided.
10) Sociopaths exist outside of movies. I think I might have married one.
11) Happiness is found in acceptance, not control. I have learned to be with what is rather than try to force something into reality.
12) I will always be learning.
(You can find my full story in my book Lessons From the End of a Marriage.)