Before I rant about personal power, a little background:
My ex-husband wasn’t very compassionate. He had a low tolerance for any type of excuses, complaining, or personal pity parties. Whenever I attempted any of them, he’d get annoyed and say, “don’t give me that woe-is-me bullshit.”
I still hear his voice in the back of my head.
Most recently, I heard it today when I read a post on social media that said something like, “I’ve decided I’m not worthy of love. I’ll be alone forever.”
Oh, don’t give me that woe-is-me bullshit, I thought.
In the divorce/breakup groups, I see posts like this more often than I’d like to. And they annoy the bejeezus out of me. Of course, the replies are filled with a mix of those who echo the sentiment, those who contest the sentiment, and those who attack the sentiment.
I’m a fan of the latter.
Here’s why: Making statements like that means you’re giving away your personal power. It means you’ve let your ex win. It means you’ve given up on life and love and joy because someone else did something shitty and you’re determined to pay the price forever.
And that’s dumb.
Moreover, it seems some people who make such statements actually think their misery is somehow a way of punishing their ex. Like, “s/he ruined my life and now s/he has to live with him/herself.”
Wrong. Exes who knowingly do shitty things without feeling bad about it usually aren’t going to feel bad because years later the person they once wronged still refuses to date.
Side Note: “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else. You’re the one who gets burned.” -Buddha
Please understand, I’m NOT saying that nobody should ever feel bad when a relationship ends. Breaking up is hard to do, I know. Infidelity sucks, I know. I’ve been there.
But it’s one thing to feel the pain and honor your grief. It’s another thing altogether to sacrifice the rest of your life to someone who doesn’t deserve your attention.
[Deep Breath… Deep Breath…]
OK, I’ve done enough complaining. Let’s pivot to a more productive mindset. Let’s say you’re in that dark place, flirting with thoughts of “I’m not lovable” or “I’ll never give my heart away again.” What can you do? How can you step up and begin to reclaim your personal power?
Step #1: Get Help
Depression is no joke. Soak up all the support you can get. Ask for it if it’s not readily offered to you. Lean on your family and friends who love you. Schedule an appointment (or a standing appointment) with a therapist. See a doctor for a prescription if necessary.
Step #2: Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful ally against the darkness. Once you get into a grateful flow, it’s hard to stop (for instance, right now I’m grateful for my fingers, my laptop, the building that’s shielding the sunlight from my eyes, the chair I’m sitting on, the deck it’s sitting on, the cup that holds my smoothie, all the materials and manpower that went into creating that cup and delivering it to its current location….). When your self-talk takes a negative turn, interrupt your thoughts and name 3-5 things you’re grateful for. Before you go to bed at night, fill one page in your journal with daily gratitude. There are a multitude of ways you can integrate a gratitude practice into your life. Experiment a little and find the one that makes the most sense for you.
Step #3: Push Positive Programming
Write affirmations and speak them to yourself in the mirror. Make lists of everything you love about your mind, your body, and your life. Read inspirational quotes every day. Follow motivational speakers. Seek out news of all the good things that are happening in the world. Focus on the good stuff and you’ll see more good, you’ll do more good, and you’ll feel better.
These three steps will help you get to a better mental state. From there you can do more of what feels good: volunteer in your community, date yourself, take a weekend getaway with your friends, join a club, take a class… the possibilities are endless. The point is to love yourself and your life. The point is to claim personal power over your attitude and your actions. The point is to set free any hostages from your past and embrace the life that awaits you today.
Remember: The best revenge is a good life.