Pardon my dust. Renovations underway.

Post by Laura Summers for the Love for Love series.

necklace created by Mi Bella Bijoux on Etsy

The Universe arrived to the party uniquely on time, bearing gifts. Unfortunately, the Universe wraps gifts in packaging not readily discernible. Sometimes, the gift appears in the form of a shit storm of betrayal and rage. Sometimes, the gift is jail and an anger management course. Sometimes, that gift is the culmination of all the things you’ve done to others in a tidy little package with a card that says “what goes around – MOST DEFINITELY comes around.” Nonetheless, a gift is a gift. You just have to recognize it as such.

My gift was heartache. A pain so agonizing for a time I thought I would not survive it. A wound so profound, I very nearly surrendered to the abyss. The duplicity that terrorized my spirit was not his alone, but was mine as well. THIS immediate realization flooded my soul.

The darkness of deceit had blanketed me and I had submitted to it willingly. Now, years later – with perfect clarity, I was being shown the error of my ways. (The Universe really has an aptitude for that.) Slowly, for fear that all the things I’d closeted would tumble down upon me and bury me in shame – I opened the doors of my psyche. I didn’t do it alone, but with the help of a wonderful therapist. I was determined to figure out how to fix what was obviously ‘wrong’ with me.

It is impossible to share in this short post the amount of things I’m still learning in this process. The real work has been in owning my story. Being accountable for the part I played in all of it. This is not to say I believe I am solely to blame, but at one point, I certainly did. What is specifically hard to do is love myself despite the ‘bad’ behavior. Acknowledgement is not justification.

Family and friends have rallied ‘round, and without exception have showered me with encouragement – all of it well-meaning. The problem lies in my tendency to believe all the rhetoric. So easy to get tangled in the words that assign blame and spew hatred. Definitely easier to just withdraw from the wreckage and thank God I had no part in causing the fiery inferno.

Except… I did.

For me, the compartmentalizing of my behavior was a skill I had practiced to perfection. I believe we all do this in some form or another. That is not a judgment. It is a simple assessment of human behavior. The real growth comes from acknowledging that when we allow ourselves to escape accountability, even just for the moment, it endangers our spirit. For example: If I cut you off in traffic, but justify it with my need to get to my destination MORE than you need to get to yours, I have willingly deluded myself. I am NOT acknowledging my less than stellar driving behavior, and partially blaming you in the process.

The trick is to be ever aware. Diligently, and continually aware.

Paramount to all of this work is the ability to be gentle with myself. We are all our own worst critics, right? I can beat myself up for the mistakes I’ve made in the past. Or, I can learn from them and declare my commitment to behave in a manner more authentic in the future. THIS is the real work.

Stay tuned next week: Mmmmm, accountability. I think I’ll have seconds.

Missed Parts 1 and 2? Don’t fret! Just CLICK HERE to read Part 1 of Laura’s journey and HERE to read Part 2.

Laura, recently an empty nester, adopted a rescue dog. As he sits on her keyboard, slobbering her with love and attention, even as she tries to write it’s still very obvious who rescued whom. Open to all the forms of love the Universe has to offer is now her special addiction.

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