A Year of Learnings
One year ago this week, my entire life changed. I had officially called it quits on my five-year relationship, and underwent a cardiac ablation to treat a heart condition that came out of nowhere. I've harped on about those two things enough so I won't cover them again.
That being said (or typed, whatever), those conjoined incidents opened my eyes to a fresh perspective. It was as if Morpheus had dragged me out of bed, and throw my ass on a 12-month plunge down the rabbit hole. Kansas had gone bye-bye. I now look in the mirror and, besides telling myself how beautiful Satan made me, I'm not even cognizant of the man I was a year ago.
So if I had to summarise everything into a few points, it's this ...
Take action and face difficult decisions and conflict head-on.
If you know something needs to be done, no matter how hard or painful, have the intestinal fortitude to see it done. You owe it to yourself and everyone around you to take ownership and confront the demon in the room.
I know first-hand that ending a relationship can be tough. But you know what is 100x worse? Staying in a relationship that no longer completes you, because you're too afraid to be honest with yourself and hurt someone's feelings. Deep down, you know it's not serving you anymore, and you can't give your all to your partner. Time to let the past die. Make the call and move on. You can handle it, and so can they.
Look - you can delay taking action as look as you like, but eventually, action will be taken on you. At that point, you've lost control, and you have no right to play the victim.
Stop blaming. Victims finish last.
Looking at the example above. Imagine you drag that already-deceased relationship around for a few months. You're not into it. Your partner knows it and isn't into it either. They decide to take action and end it with you.
Would you believe that some people consider this a blessing? Now the other person has been mean. "They did this, they did that, it's all their fault. I'm the perfect one, and they're a horrible human being, and I hope they burn." Yeah, we all have reference examples of that pathetic excuse of a human being. And how actually likes hanging around them?
Absolutely no-one. Playing the victim and blaming everyone else for your f*ck up is sad and pathetic. Admit your mistakes, take ownership of them, learn, grow, develop, and become stronger. "Yeah the relationship wasn't going well, I made a lot of mistakes. I have a lot to learn from it, and I appreciate him/her for being honest with me and allowing me to develop as a human being." Even I'd be turned on hearing that instead of the usual victim crap.
Now that's not to say that horrific things out of your control don't happen, because they definitely do. Sometimes you're a victim of circumstance. But you have the power to control how you respond to that. You can lie down and cry "woe is me", or you can pick your ass up, say "that sucked", and move on. Victims finish last. Every time.
Saying "no" is the most fun you can have with pants on.
I used to be a bit of a people pleaser. I didn't want to upset anyone, so I would complete their request, and create covert contracts and hope that they'd know I expect something from them for fulfilling their simple task. What a horrible way to live.
Having a physically broken heart meant I had to learn to say "no" to a lot of things and people. No, I can't go out for that drink. No, I can't pick up the slack from your laziness at work, do your job. No, I am tired of you disrespecting me by cancelling all the time.
The majority of people in my pre-heart failure circle were people pleasers. And when everyone is trying to please everyone else, no-one winds up happy. It's a conundrum that confuzzles the best of us. But when I learned to embrace the "no", those people disappeared from my life. And in their place blossomed healthy relationships with people who know how to set and enforce boundaries, as I had to for my own health and sanity.
Learn to say "no". And have fun doing it. No, I don't feel like hanging out with you today, I'm going to have a bath and sing to my cat.
Remember - "appreciation" and "abundance."
Above all else, remember to always trade your expectations for appreciations.
Expected your partner or friends to always be there for you, but they weren't? That's ok. Appreciate the time you enjoyed together, and let them go. There are still more people out there for you.
Expected your work to value you more and give you a raise? That's ok. Appreciate the opportunity you've been given to improve or move on. There's plenty more work out there for you.
Expected your health to never fail you even when you do all the "right" things? That's ok. Appreciate that you can always do better, and this time gives you a chance to grow and develop mentally.
Instead of looking for the bad in a given situation, always ask "What is good about this? What is funny about this? What can I learn from this?" This habit is what pulled me through and created that sexy man in the mirror I see daily.
And that's it.
Celebrating this "singleversary" and "heartaversary" this week has given me pause. Had my heart failure happened 50 years ago, I'd have been dead at 30. But instead, I live in a first-world country with full medical facilities, and I continue to kick ass at 31.
Stay strong, you beautiful humans!