I will be honest with you, I saw this writing assignment and thought this will be easy. I had so many weaknesses I had to turn into strengths to survive, writing about it will be easy. WRONG! This has been difficult.
I didn’t wake up one morning, make a list of my weaknesses and decide I was going to be strong and make a step-by-step process to follow. It was a life experience; it continues to be a daily experience for me. In fact, I think it is a great big experiment. I don’t know how strong I am, I fail on a regular basis. What matters is that I pick myself up and try again. I learn from my mistakes. In hindsight, here are some lessons I have learned, areas of weaknesses that I can no longer afford. Weakness is expensive.
1. I avoided conflict at all costs: I thought keeping the peace was best. When my ex told our first, second, third and fourth marriage counselors I bulldoze over the top of her, she will get over, she always does. I took that as a compliment. Seriously. He was right. I did always get over it. Until the day I didn’t. That was the day I realized I was broken, bulldozers break bones, they destroy you when they run you over repeatedly. The day someone held up my head and I spoke the words – no more. That was the day I began to find my strength. Prior to that day I had always let him have his way. He didn’t and still doesn’t know how to act when I stand up. I have drawn my line – my lines are not in the sand. No, my lines are in concrete. If he crosses them I make sure he knows he has crossed them. There are consequences.
2. My happiness didn’t matter: For some reason I thought if I could be a better wife, friend, DIL, Christian, mother, daughter, sister, employee, better whatever then I would be able to please everyone around me. I let him and everyone else run me over. I literally didn’t know who I was. I was over 30 years old and had never had any idea who I was because all that mattered was being who everyone else, especially my husband wanted me to be. One day when I was in the emergency room because he had put me there – I realized no more. You won’t treat me like this. I didn’t realize it at the time but it scared him. My voice was weak when I first found it but every time I used it, it got stronger, I got stronger and he got weaker. My happiness matters. I am a better person because I KNOW who I am and take care of myself.
3. My tendency to self-sabotage: Do you lie to yourself? Do you convince yourself of all the reasons why you can’t do something? Why you won’t get the promotion, what a bad parent you are, how no one will help you and how it will be impossible without support because let’s be honest here, it takes a freaking village. Right? That’s what I did. I would lie in my bed at night, locked in my room for safety, and tell myself all the reason why I KNEW I couldn’t ever make it work on my own. How I would never ever be able to single parent four children. I would list all the reasons no judge in their right mind would give me my children. This was the worst thing I could do. I know years of abuse played a role but the truth is it was my choice. I had to decide to stop. Every single time a negative thought would enter my mind I had to consciously set it aside and replace it with something positive. Every single time. No exceptions.
4. I ignored my inner voice: I believed everything I had heard as a child and as an adult. I wasn’t good enough; wasn’t strong enough. No way I could get through life on my own. Funny thing though, I had always had this small voice telling me I could do it, that I was strong enough. I had always ignored that voice. I finally listened. I learned to think on my own. I am strong enough. I am not perfect, I stress about all kinds of things. There are so many things I need to continue working on. What matters is every day is a new day, a new opportunity to try again. Every day I am stronger.
Learn from my mistakes… I have made plenty. If you continue to visit this site, you will continue to read about my mistakes. Some will be sad, some funny all of them will hopefully give you strength to make better choices and to make a change.