We all face difficult moments in our lives. Some last for simply that – a moment. Others last for far longer than we would care for them to. However, each person handles situations differently. Each person processes, reacts, reflects differently.
When someone is going through something, it is so easy to judge and say “this is how I would handle it.” But that’s not right. You don’t know. You don’t have a clue how you will act unless that exact same situation has happened to you. I know because I was this person.
I thought I knew how I would react if I ever found out my husband was cheating on me. Guess what? I didn’t act even remotely close to how I had always envisioned it. I thought I knew what would happen in that situation. I thought I knew every step I would take, but I was wrong.
I became as lost as a ship lost at sea. I fought to get back to where I was. I drifted. I gave up. I became unmoored.
Or so I thought.
As I worked through my new reality with my friends, my family, my therapist, I realized that I was only adrift for as long as I allowed myself to be. It was no longer about what he had done, but how I was going to handle it.
I had allowed myself to become caught up in what had happened. I relived it everytime I talked about it. I relived it every night I cried. I relived it by holding on to what was already gone. So I had a decision to make. Was I going to allow this to define me or was I going to allow this to be an opportunity to grow as an individual?
I chose growth. I chose to be the lotus flower in a murky situation. I was not going to allow this to define me or my future actions. So I chose to look for the lighthouse to guide me. I chose to row the boat in the direction I wanted it to go instead of allowing myself to drift. I took action to change my direction. I learned to navigate with the help of others.
But it always came back to me and my decisions. How I was going to handle the situation I found myself in. I was going to take ownership of myself and my actions. I did not want to continue to cry at every mention of the situation. I did not want to wallow in the past. I did not want to become marked by the hurt or the pain. I wanted to embrace the scars that have made me into the person I am today. I wanted to embrace the sun each morning and not the darkness that fell each night.
Others might have talked about it more – but I couldn’t. The more I talked about it, the more I would feel myself spiral into the loss and the pain. So I decided to embrace the beauty in each day. This isn’t to say that I put everything out of mind or ignored it. But it wasn’t going to be something that I continuously talked about because I didn’t want that to be my only topic of conversation. I knew that if I continued to talk about it every day, I would forget how to talk about anything else. I knew that if I continued to talk about it every day, I would be haunted by the ghosts of the past.
Instead I tried to lay those demons to rest and turn my face to the sky, to hope, to love, to the journey, to the mirror as I learn who this new me is.
I know this is not how others might react in my shoes, but there’s no right way to learn how to move forward.