Thursday, March 29, 2018
Embracing the You You've Become
How often do we read the lament of a newcomer (or an old-timer) to this site who misses "the old me"? What they (or we) are saying is that they miss the lightness with which they used to live life. They miss the naivety with which they lived, the absolute conviction that they were safe with this partner they'd chosen.
I understand the lament. I felt it myself and wailed to my husband, on more than one occasion, that he had "broken me". I imagined myself irretrievably damaged, never again to live with a lightness, a faith that the path before me was clear.
I was no fool. I knew that life could easily deliver pain to the innocent. And yet, I'd convinced myself that I'd had my share. That I'd chosen well. That I was safe.
I was right, of course. But not in the way I'd imagined.
I'd outsourced my safety. I'd placed my heart in the hands of a man who, at the time, was unworthy of it. And I'd kept little of my heart for myself. I had no blueprint for self-love. It struck me as arrogant, as selfish. Self-love meant less for others, surely.
And so I gave it all away. And I was empty.
Which is why, when I discovered my husband's infidelity, I was so thirsty for evidence that I was loved, that I was worthy, that I was safe. But my well, long forgotten, was dry.
Healing from his cheating was a process of refilling that well. It was a daily practice of self-love, of seeing my own pain and not fleeing from it, of holding it and allowing my soul to grow stronger from it, by feeling it and letting it teach me.
Healing from his cheating was about letting the rain fall and knowing that that water was being collected, that it was nourishing me in some profound way. And that, when the sun came out again – and was slowly believing that it would – that the collected rain would be necessary to quench my thirst again.
Healing from his affair about letting go of our fantasies about "the old me". It's about honouring her, about grieving her. But it's about realizing that the old you has grown muscles in your soul that weren't there before, or at least, hadn't been tapped.
New you = old you + pain x wisdom.
The lightness inside you has become a light inside you, that illuminates the path for all others still to come, who will learn from what you've learned, who will heal from your healing, who will gain strength from your strength.
This is how we heal. By loving ourselves and then extending that love outward but always making sure there's water in our well for when we thirst. And we will thirst.