“First start with doing what is necessary. Then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
--St. Francis of Assisi
You’re in such pain right now that you feel like you’ve just gone through surgery without anesthesia. Someone has removed your vital organs and you are gutted. Weak. You feel like a ghost wandering in the fog. Every step feels like sandpaper scraping against your raw skin.
You want someone to tell you that you’ll feel better soon. That you will get over this. That there is hope that you’ll really meet your prince or that the frog you wasted so much time spinning over will change, come flying back into your arms begging your forgiveness and you’ll live happily ever after. You are surprised at how much you want to wish that could be true. But you've read too much now, and you know it’s crazy to “want” your tormentor. Why do you "want him" so? You feel that question holds the key to your very soul.
You are glued to the board, to The Path Forward Forum, filled with sorrow, confusion, doubt. Wounded.
You want these feelings to stop and success stories would really distract you from the hurt and confusion you feel stuck in. You want it all NOW because the “now” you’re in feels like hell and hell is where you’ve dwelled for so long. You want to fastforward to the happy, fulfilled part.
Instead, the Mods on the board talk about “doing the work” and “fixing yourself” and “looking within” and “read, read, read.” Ugh. Another thing you must “accomplish” and “endure” when it’s already so difficult to lift your head off your pillow each morning and slog through the day.
Through your tears you start to notice the strength in their voices and you like the sound of it. You see how cut and dried everything seems to them. You want to be like them but you’re afraid. To be like them—which means healed—you have to give up all your clinging to and dwelling and obsessing about him and how could he do this and that and maybe he’s not really disordered and maybe you were too mean or not good enough and you’re just not sure you can do that. You think “What will life look like when I let go of all this?” A scary thought because it’s scary stepping into the unknown.
You wonder how the Mods can sound so strong and confident, you sort of remember what it was like to feel that way a long time ago. You want to get there immediately because the pain and confusion is relentless and you’re fucking sick of it.
You read posts from others, too, and realize that they’ve been out of their “relationship” for months ...some for years. This frightens you. It’s also scary to think you’ll still be this affected by a hollow mask-wearing destroyer for so much time to come. Ugh! More to consider when you just want to jump right to success.
You slowly begin to pay more attention to their posts and the tone they take. You see that some of them are jovial...laughing at some of the stuff they put up with and some of the antics their particular freak of nature pulled. You see that they have a ready response because they’ve been there, done that and have the scars to prove it. Except their scars are now a badge of courage. It inspires you. And then you realize that’s what success is.
The success stories you’re looking for are all over the board. Lisa and the Moderators’ posts’ and blogs, the compassion of members, the community building and sharing, the mere fact that the forum draws so many to heal, so many who have come and gone and so many who stay or check in periodically to help and encourage others all spell success.
You realize “success” doesn’t lie in hunting down non-existent validation from an abusive freak, or in finding another relationship or man or woman to fill the void. Success is finding yourself again. Finding your voice and liking the sound of it. And so you start to shift the focus off of your pain and onto really trying to listen. And share. And to risk letting go of all you used to believe to take a leap of faith.
You start to understand that you have to write your own success story. You have to find the success in every choice, in the sharing, in the knowledge that if you continue to work the steps and choose yourself, you can attain your goal of healing and happiness.
You get to work. It’s a long process. It’s tough. You cry a lot and don’t feel so hot quite often. You keep going. Yoga. Meditation. Smiling at strangers. Going out of your comfort zone. Being scared and going for it anyway. Reaching out to old friends. Being kind to others. Cooking for yourself. Living in the moment. Finding reasons to laugh. Taking care with your appearance. Reading self-help books. Listening to music and dancing like a lunatic alone in your living room...A promise to do just one good thing each day...
People start to notice and respond. People start to say you’ve changed or that “you’re back!” and it feels like a light is shining.
You’re almost “happy” again, for the most part, and not the least concerned about finding a “relationship” anytime soon. Then a chance encounter at a grocery store turns into a long term friendship/relationship that’s fun and actually hot! You attract other friendships that are interesting and exciting. Life is an adventure and you’re amazed at how shifting the focus really works. You look at what you have instead of what you don't.
Is this success? You wonder. All you know is things are really great. Your life is better than you ever thought it could be and ever dreamed it would be. Somehow, you changed the script. Broke out of the destructive pattern and began creating something good. One choice, one thought at a time...
To my sisters and brothers in this amazing community, start to focus on your success now if you haven't already. Commit to it and stick to it. Change your thoughts, change your life. It really is that simple.
Most sincerely and with deep gratitude,
(not) spinning. IT IS A CHOICE AND I CHOOSE ME.