“Before the truth can set you free you need to recognize which lie is holding you hostage.” – Unknown
This morning a dear friend of mind was checking in on me to see how I was doing? She reminded me that my second marriage happened during this time of year and was wondering if I was okay. After twenty years of friendship, you tend to know someone pretty well and share a common history in many areas of your lives. I am forever grateful for her, because she has helped me through much travail during some of the hardest moments I have experienced. However I can say without any anxiety, unease or ill-feelings towards my second ex-wife, I am truly good in spirit, body, mind and soul.
I can also say that I honestly had no recollection that today (or a date near this day) was that moment I stood at the altar on such a momentous occasion. I am not sure if one ever places a day like that completely out of their minds. I mean I believe a part of the memory is healthy to reflect on for continued growth and positive reflections, but when it consumes you with guilt or regret, this can be an indication you are still holding on to unresolved feelings.
So my dear friend helped me to recognize that I have indeed moved on with my life. Six years ago I would have never thought that I could get over something so devastating. It was extremely difficult to overcome, especially when I was the primary instigator of our demise. Today was like a test (and I have had many) to see where my heart was. I mean it is easy to proclaim with words where we are, even when the heart does not necessarily align with the words protruding from our mouths, but when we are put to the test in ways that only life can bring, there is no opportunity to get ready. You are, or you are not.
Today in this moment for this particular situation, I was ready. Thank God I was ready! Honestly, for me it means so much more than just being ready, but it means the work that I have committed myself to, the endless counseling sessions and the many nights of crying out to God are paying off. Not that I have arrived, but I can literally measure the progress by how I respond to unplanned interactions.
You see, it is not enough to suppress bad feelings and memories, only to see them return years or decades later unresolved with the same intensity of pain and anguish. I promised to myself that I would not become that guy. One full of bitter, disdain, hate and anger. I wanted to be free and continue being the hopeless romantic that I am. Thankfully I am, but it has come with a cost. A cost of looking within myself and owning what was mine to own.
This has been a slow journey filled with obstacles and countless hours of finally being true to myself about who I was, versus who I wanted to become. You know that place in life where you can fake it with most of the world and they buy into it fairly easily, primarily because they don’t really care one way or the other? And quite honestly neither did I? However when the struggle becomes more about our authentic growth and becoming entirely whole, this will cause one to pause on the things that matter the most.
And what matters the most to me is truth to myself. I was quite good at lying to myself in times past. I wanted to believe something about me that simply was non-existent. It took a divorce to bring that deep embedded lie to a head, but it was not enough to remain there in a state of shock. I had to do something if I wanted to be a better man. No more blaming others, no more making excuses and no more looking for an easy way out.
It was finally time to pull the layers of my own issues back. Get somewhere quiet (literally and figuratively) and learn who I was and why. As they say, “the struggle was real”, but also one of the best things I could have ever done to invest in myself.
So how are you investing in yourself? Are you still being haunted by your past? What are you doing about it? If all you’re doing is dwelling on it and feeling bad, that is not enough to move forward. It is time to put in some work! No more lying to yourself and living a double-minded life.
At the end of the day, we all fall short and make poor choices at times. The great thing is we don’t have to necessarily be defined by them, unless we do nothing. I am more than my divorces, my short-comings and multiple failures. I am more than the many botched decisions I have made over the years. Today I am a man who is growing and has taken responsibility for his actions. I live in my truth, I live in peace and no one can alter that. No one, but me.