Complacency drove me out of my marriage and I’m stuck in complacency again. When I moved on from my marriage, I started an affair with a friend in Southern California. He was also getting divorced but has young children and must stay put, so we only met a few times. We communicate occasionally but have not been together since July. I attended a divorce support group and individual counseling but can’t let go of my ex-husband and his woman. I have not dated and find the website dating trend difficult. I see my adult son once a month if I’m lucky but don’t want to be a burden or a co-dependent parent. I signed up for meet-ups but nothing interests me. I’m ready to retire, maybe move out of state, but don’t want to find myself in another lonely, isolated situation. Please help!
Marriage may have been the container you felt compelled to exit, but it wasn’t the real problem. An affair may have helped you feel alive, desired and happy for a bit, but as you discovered, those feelings were temporary. Changing living spaces and finding new pals can help you shape a new perspective. But what must change first are your beliefs about yourself and the world. Can you fire up the energy within to reinvent yourself? That’s what you are being called to do.
Reinvention is not about updating our wardrobe or getting fit with a personal trainer’s guidance or even turning a hobby into a business. Reinvention begins by rediscovering who you are and who you would become if you invest support, encouragement, courage, effort and fortitude in yourself. Reinvention is the process of becoming the person you know you are. Obstacles like naysayers, or unexpected financial pressures, can get in the way. At times, you will feel like you have failed on the path to finding yourself. But it’s how you get back up and continue forward that determines your success.
So who are you and who do you want to be? Big questions, right? Let’s break it down. Think back to when you were a child, 6 or 9 years old. What is the clearest memory you have of the personal qualities you wanted to embody when you were older? What did you see yourself doing? What was your response when adults asked what you wanted to do when you grew up? Oh, I know that they actually asked what you wanted to be. But if their question sparked a vision of engagement in work, reconnect with that image. Notice how you felt while imagining yourself at work. Those feelings are the gold of “being.” When you think of yourself now, moving to another city or dating, make choices according to the presence of those feelings. The energy of those emotions can connect you to the original joy within, the joy we sometimes tasted in childhood.
You also need to challenge the thoughts that keep you feeling stuck. Reboot your brain by questioning self-critical thoughts or thoughts in which you bully yourself into complacency. Question the thoughts that say you will never become a new self. Motivate yourself instead through love.
P.S. Please write back and let me know how you are doing.
Why do I keep repeating the same mistakes? With women, with jobs, with family members? Why?
My first thought was, “Why not?” Why shouldn’t you be like the rest of us? We all repeat bad decisions until we thirst for something better and change. So don’t focus on the mistake. Concentrate on your attitude, behavior and experiences slightly before and during the time you made the decisions that led to the mistake. Change those micro-movements and you will change your life.