The unlived life

Joey Garcia

My world has been upside-down since an old boyfriend found me on Facebook. He was the love of my life 20 years ago, but I dumped him for reasons that now seem silly. He is married, hugely successful and expecting his first child. I am divorced from a total loser who abandoned me when I was pregnant. As the single mother of a sweet little boy, I struggle financially every day. I let my former boyfriend know how impressed I am with his accomplishments, but I have been overwhelmed with regret about letting him go. I hate my life. Please help me.

You are not alone. The unlived life taunts each of us at some point in time. Use your ideas about what might have been as guides to reshape your present and future. Begin by admitting that even if you stayed with your former boyfriend, there’s no evidence that you would be happier or have more money to burn. Here’s why: You can’t know the outcome of an unlived path. Embrace that reality.

Once you do, the next step toward healing is simple. You must realize that your regret is a symptom. The pain you feel arises from ignoring your power to change. It’s easy to wait to be rescued. It’s challenging to lift yourself out of a life or attitude that no longer fits you. Trust your capacity to liberate yourself.

The things you want (money, stability, self-acceptance) are available. Consider this: Sometimes wealth arrives when we work a second job. At other times, it appears when we cut back on expenses. Then again, we can redefine wealth as good friends, or strong self-esteem, or confidence in talent and skills.

You have the love and trust of a child. That is unparalleled emotional, spiritual and social currency. Yes, that means you are wealthy. Don’t believe me? Ask someone who yearns for a child but struggles with infertility. To that person, you are rich.

So, here’s your homework: Find all of the other ways that wealth and success companion you every day. Savor each experience. If you do, you will, eventually, rise up from your unhappiness and into the life you desire.

I began dating my girlfriend after she left a relationship with a man she said was abusive. Everyone told me not to date her because she had only been with men before me, but I decided that love was worth the risk. Our relationship was everything I have ever wanted, until her ex-boyfriend invited her on vacation and gave her an airline ticket. She said she’s not interested in him, but it’s a place she always wanted to visit, and she was going. We argued, but she went, anyway. I am heartbroken and have no one to talk to because if I tell my friends, they will all say they never trusted her. I can’t sleep, eat or focus. What should I do?

Block her phone number, delete her from social media, and if she shows up on your doorstep, don’t respond. She’s a user, honey. She used you to escape one relationship (or to make her ex-boyfriend jealous). And she’s using her ex-boyfriend to travel to her dream destination. She can’t be trusted and does not deserve your heart. Yes, that also means she is not worthy of another chance at happiness with you. If the relationship was, as you said, everything you ever wanted, that definition no longer fits. No one wants to be betrayed. So, carefully extricate what you enjoyed and appreciated about how you showed up in the relationship. That’s your takeaway. You have the capacity to carry those qualities into another relationship, because those qualities are in you.

Meditation of the week
It takes a village to birth a book. My first book, When Your Heart Breaks, It's Opening to Love, is on shelves at local bookstores and What help do you need to birth your dreams into reality?

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