I will be the first to admit that I am a mess inside right now. I think we all experience stages and phases where we feel like emotional wrecks in some form or fashion. But currently, I think I fall more into an extreme category of an emotional mess. And for my current season of life, I have made peace with that.
Because even though I might be an emotional mess, those same intense emotions allow me to be incredibly loving and empathetic to others. My hot mess emotions are both a curse and a strength.
I also know that this season is simply that, a season. I won’t always be this emotional, this confused, this wobbly.
As I have continued to soul search through my divorce and now through dating as a single mom, I have realized that because I am an emotional mess I crave comfort, especially in relationships.
Being married brought me a lot of comfort. As a wife, I felt like I always had someone to support me, even when I felt like I couldn’t support myself. But through the last 10 months of my divorce journey, I have learned that I was searching for comfort in an unhealthy way.
That term codependent? Well, apparently I am the definition.
I have spent my entire life relying on other people to help heal me. It’s not that I haven’t tried to do the work it takes to heal myself. Therapy, yoga retreats, journaling, church retreats, you name it, I have done it.
But what ultimately ends up happening is I fall right back into the same pattern. I find someone else to reassure me it is all going to be okay; I find someone else to make me feel worthy and provide the comfort I am so desperately aching for.
As of a few days ago, I made the decision to stop my destructive pattern.
My bad habit was a sneaky one. It didn’t look like other bad habits that were more obvious like quitting smoking or going to AA.
It was easy to convince myself that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. How could being loving and wanting a relationship be wrong?
Even though I had the best of intentions, at the core I had to admit that I was desperate to be in a relationship for the wrong reasons. I wanted it for the comfort and security it brought me.
Being in a relationship allowed me to mask my biggest fear: My fear that I am unlovable and will always be alone.
What is ironic is that at the very depth of my core, I know I am lovable.
But I have spent a lifetime battling to get to that truth. And I have gone about it the wrong way. It took my divorce and then dating after my divorce for my bad habit to be brought into the light.
Ultimately what I have realized all along is that I was asking the wrong question. I was asking the question of do I love this person? and I could never quite find the answer, even in my own marriage.
I couldn’t ever find the answer because I was hiding from the truth. I was hiding from a much bigger and harder question I needed to ask.
Do I love myself?
Being on my own has shown me that ultimately my comfort and peace come from myself and from God. That feels like so much pressure. Before, it was so much easier to get that love from another person. In many ways, it felt so much better to let someone else love me, to let someone else help heal old and deep wounds.
But ultimately what happened is the doubt creeped in and took over. The doubt existed because how on earth could I know if it was love, if I didn’t even know how to love myself first?
So in finally being able to get to the root of the problem, I have figured out I have a lot of painful and uncomfortable and scary work ahead of me.
But one of the things I do love most about myself is that I don’t quit, even when it is hard.
Believe me, all I want to do right now is run back to a relationship. But that is just going to start the same pattern over again.
My biggest fear lately has been that I will make the wrong choice, make a mistake that will cause another divorce and more heartache.
I have wanted to find a fool proof way to insure that I won’t make the same mistakes. Well life is teaching me there is no guarantee.
But it is also teaching me that the greatest rewards are the ones we work the hardest for, and being alone right now is the hardest thing possible for me.
I have a feeling if I can really stick it out this time, if I really do the work, that the reward will be far greater than anything I could have ever imagined.
I cannot wait to look back one day and be thankful for this painful but strengthening journey. I’m not there yet, I am not anywhere close.
But if I do the work that really needs to be done, the work I need in healing myself and grounding myself in truth and love and faith, then I know without a doubt I will end up heading down a path more beautiful and loving than I can even imagine right now.