What happens to you when you stumble into your soul mate in the middle of your life? I could write a book on this, but I want to write about one specific topic. You’re in your late 30s. You’ve been married for over 15 yrs. You think you’ve grown, matured, in all ways, especially emotionally. Kids and marriage will usually do that to you. You feel wiser. Mature. You know your faults. You know your partner’s faults. Life makes sense.
Then, you meet your soul mate. It’s amazing, wonderful, crazy, earth moving. Your entire life changes for the better. But it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. You get this person in your life, a person that you know you are supposed to be with. Someone you honestly just can’t live without. Your super magnet, your crack, your kryptonite at times. But some life changes, while good and necessary, are an extremely painful time of growth. You meet this person, and suddenly, you need to be the best of you, for her, for yourself. You suddenly realize your best isn’t up to par. It isn’t what she deserves. You aren’t the best you can be for yourself. You clash because you are so close. You know every tiny thing about this person. You can’t not learn it because you see into her soul. And in return, you see yourself reflected in her eyes. You need to grow. Painfully fast. Suddenly, while you can see her, your faults pop painfully into your view. You aren’t wise. Or mature. Or fully grown. You are an emotional teenager, a hot, hot mess. All the demons you thought you slayed are still there. They had just been hiding. Ignored. Put on the back burner. You had learned to pretend they weren’t there. It was easier to find the fault in those around you.
One of my many, many, immature faults is my constant negativity. I don’t even see it half the time, because I have tried to change this. I’ve learned that I have a personality type that is rarely perfectly content, which on one hand drives me in all areas of my life to be the best. To put myself out there, to constantly improve. But it also lends to a restless nature, a non-contentment. This has painfully erupted in my life. My view on life has the potential to hurt the one I hold above all others. Can the supposed core (how I’ve always imagined it) of my being be a source of pain to my person? How can that be? How can I be so sure this is my soulmate yet inflict pain on her because of my “character”? There are multiple choices in this, but the obvious reason isn’t actually that it isn’t meant to be, but, instead, that my person is honing me to be my ultimate best. I am supposed to grow because of this person. Not that her job is to get me to grow, but by the very nature of our connection, I have no choice. Your soulmate should be the person that drives you to hold your iron to the fire, burning hot until you have been reshaped. Your soul mate is a person that challenges you in every aspect, growing you.
I tend to focus on the challenges in life. The hardness. The tough stuff. What I’ve survived. I’ve known I needed to change. I’ve made lists of things to focus on. Read articles on the power of positive thinking. Made a thankful list every day. I’ve also discovered that it’s all just a part of my character makeup. It has its benefits. But here’s what I struggle with: It’s easy to focus on how hard life is, what a challenge it is, how exhausting it is. And people expect it. I daresay I’m not the lone wolf out there. It’s culturally acceptable to bitch and moan. We’re busy. We’re stressed. We have children so our lives are obviously horrible. Every comic, every post, every meme reinforces this. We have 5 kids so it’s a given. It’s got to be terrible. All those boys? People are surprised I’m still alive. How easy it is to feed into that mentality! Alone for a few weeks? Poor fucking me. I’m isolated. I have so much stress and pain around me. I suck in everyone’s misery. Or do they absorb mine? How can I think any other way?
But then, as these things always do, after they come to a head with the love of my life, it hits me in the most painful way possible. The pain of your own faults can sometimes be unbearable. I’m much more positive about other people’s faults. I can see them clearly. I can see what they need to do, exactly how to change, grow, maybe give them a step by step guide. Problem fixed! But my own? Gut-wrenching, soul searching, I’m-surprised-anyone-loves-me kind of pain.
In the past year I’ve whittled my life down to the bare essentials. The previous 5 years, hell, 15 years, I added more and more and more to my plate every few months. I was searching for happiness. I was escaping my reality. I was making the best out of my situation. I became so driven, juggled so many balls, I don’t know honestly how I was even functioning. But I was doing it. And I could be the envy of every woman out there. I am wonder woman. I can accomplish everything. Ten times what most could. Now, I’ve seen the folly of my ways and cut almost everything out. It’s been a huge relief and I am living a much simpler life. But now, with my life bared and whittled down, my faults are still there. Causing pain. Erupting at a brutally fast rate. I have to deal with them. Fast. It’s time for them to go. It’s painful. But I can’t move forward by going around them anymore.
“How” is the big question. I think this is a pivotal moment. There’s a difference between knowing you should change something, and knowing you HAVE to change something. Viewing a fault as a minor flaw vs a life-sucking problem. How do you excise a flaw that is so engrained in you, you feel like you are amputating part of you? I’m honestly not sure. I’ve always (hell, I’m negative, remember?) struggled with the idea that people really can change. I’ve even given it a percentage. Say, maybe you can change who you really are, 15%. But I have to change 100%. I owe it to my soulmate. I owe it to our family. I owe it, most importantly, to myself.
Could it be anxiety, depression, a need to go on meds, or change my diet, or increase my supplements? It’s easy to go down that road. An underlying problem that a pill might fix. That would be easy, huh? I know it’s not a problem that is caused by a deficiency in Vitamin D, or a need for Prozac, or finding a person that is not bothered by my faults. It’s tearing that part of you down and doing a total, complete rebuild. Ouch. That sounds pretty difficult. I may be negative, and my drive my not come from a positive desire, but I do have tenacity in my corner.
UPDATE: I wrote this several weeks ago. About 4. I’ve learned some tricks. Turns out, once you really decide to change something it’s never very difficult. I mean, it’s hard to remember or do all the time, but not in the way it has been in the past. In the past, it’s been impossible because I wasn’t really wanting to change it. When I do, it becomes possible. I hope that this change has been seen in me but I guess it’s not important whether other people see it, it’s whether your own life feels different. And it does. It hasn’t been painful to change, it’s more of a mindful shift. I think there’s this idea in my head that losing that part of me is part of my identity. But it’s not. Nothing’s been lost or amputated. Shifted for the better. I feel settled. I feel happier. I feel freer. I can let go of worries and stress and days aren’t bad or terrible. They are laughable, sometimes challenging but nothing earth-shattering. What am I doing? Mostly keeping my mouth shut more. It’s so easy to complain about how my day is going. I think most problems can be solved by keeping our mouths shut more. Especially mine. I used to think that it’s usually good to complain, gets things off your chest, and shouldn’t others around you know how it’s really going so they can make you feel better? I used to think that if you say things are great, and they aren’t, I’d feel more isolated, depressed because it’s like lying or hiding something. I mean, isn’t it dishonest to not say how crappy you feel? But it’s true, it works the opposite. I don’t like admitting I’m wrong, or that others were right. I realize it’s not really that bad. The day or feelings will change, and my negative attitude could cause others around me to get pulled down. You always want someone’s positive attitude to buoy you, but instead the negative always drags them down instead. Why do that to others? I’m not going as far as to say you should always ignore negative feelings or walk around pretending all is well. It’s more a shift in perception than dishonesty. I’m hoping to write more soon on the idea that I do believe there are positives in acknowledging the negatives depending on the situation. But I’m talking day-to-day living, changing my mind frame to shift in the perception of my life. It’s easy to know you have an amazing life yet get dragged down by the daily grind. It’s challenging to be happy and at peace with the daily grind but I’m doing it!