Do you mourn the loss of the life you used to have and still seethe with anger when you think of your ex?
Has divorce left you with a mountain of debt you’re not sure you’ll ever crawl out from under and paychecks which never quite stretch far enough?
Do you struggle alone to take care of the house, the yard, the cooking, the kids, school, appointments and activities, the job, the pets, the car…. everything… alone!
Do you resent him for finding someone new when you barely have time left at the end of the day to shower, much less date?
I did, and I wondered, “How the hell did life get this messed up?”
If you’re like me, it’s easy to come up with a list of reasons or excuses, and it’s mostly the fault of someone else, of course. Why does blaming someone else come so natural and make us feel so good?
As small children we begin to learn that if we do something wrong and can blame someone or something else maybe we can escape Mom or Dad’s anger. In divorce when a person’s self-esteem and self-image have taken a severe hit, we do what we’ve been conditioned to do since childhood and we blame someone else. We want to escape the scorn of our friends and family or the anger of our children. We want to feel better about ourselves. We did the best we could under the circumstances, we tell ourselves.
The truth of the matter is that there is only one person to blame – ourselves – and the quicker we get to this realization, the better for us.
We are each 100% responsible for every single thing we experience in life… and that’s actually a good thing.
How, you wonder, can blaming ourselves for our troubled life be a good thing?
It’s not easy to look within and realize we are the source of our problems, but it’s important. Decisions I made in the past created the life I have today, good or bad, and decisions I am making today will create my tomorrow.
That is the power of 100% responsibility. Own it! Refuse to play the victim and refuse to believe an outside source has control over your thoughts and actions. Recognize that you alone control your future.
Stop accepting the role of victim.
Accepting responsibility for your life means to give up feeling like a victim.
Victim mentality is a mindset in which a person feels powerless and unable to control the direction of their life. Instead of taking charge and creating the life they want, victims tend to believe their problems are created by someone or something outside their control. They blame, complain, whine and self-pity their way through life… and it’s not a very attractive or empowered way to live.
If you recognize yourself (unfortunately I did) it’s time to wake up and acknowledge the role you played in creating the life you lead.
He was not perfect, but I chose him. Despite red flags which were there before marriage, I married him anyway. He was abusive, but I stayed, and when I did I taught him by my actions (or lack of) that what he did was okay and he continued. I allowed him to criticize my friends and drive them away and now I have few left.
I chose to have kids and to become a full-time, stay-at-home mother. I loved it and would make the same choice again, nevertheless, I’m now a middle-age, recently divorced woman with no current work history struggling to find a way to earn a decent living.
Decisions I made almost 20 years ago have created the life I am living today.
I also chose to overeat and not to exercise regularly…. now I’m out of shape, worn out, and complain about being tired all the time.
I chose to take in all these pets… now I complain about their noise and the messes they make.
I chose to buy an expensive new vehicle… now I have payments for the next 6 years.
Obviously, not everything that happens in our life is our choice. No one would choose to have cancer, or loose their job… and if I had a choice, I certainly would never choose to hit as much traffic as I do on the morning commute each day. Regardless of whether we experience a minor annoyance or a major, life-altering crisis, we have the choice of how we will respond and how we will deal with the situation.
When a person looses their job, what makes one person take to their bed and sink into deep depression while another will pick themselves up fairly quick, learn from the experience, and move on? The only difference is in the way each person chooses (there’s that choice word again) to deal with the situation.
Make a commitment to new choices.
If you’re reading this, chances are you want to make changes in your life. If you want something different, you will need to do something different. Nothing changes if you don’t. Learn to pay close attention to your thoughts.
Stop blaming. It’s a waste of time. Train yourself to listen closely to the thoughts you think and the words you say. When you hear the blaming begin, shut it down fast. If you’re talking with a friend, change the subject. If you’re alone with too much time to think, get busy doing something. Blaming is a habit and it will take conscious effort to change.
Stop complaining. Take action instead. Learn to look for the solution and get busy doing it. If you need help or cooperation from someone else to make the change, ask their help. If there is nothing you can do about the situation , or nothing you’re willing to do, complaining is a waste of time.
When we’re willing to take full responsibility for our lives we have the option to change what isn’t working. No matter what choice we made yesterday (or 20 years ago) we can change course today.
Leave me a comment below. What part of your post-divorce life do you struggle with accepting responsibility for the most?