Creating and maintaining a permanent habit change requires constant vigilance. I know that sounds like some sort of paranoid chant.
Constant vigilance! Constant vigilance! Or the dark forces will overcome you!
Yet there I am, looking in the mirror and reminding myself to be on alert against my bad behaviors. Not just the every day personal interaction stuff… listen more, talk less, practice empathy… No, I’m there with the secrets. Emotional eating, emotional spending, blaming, self-defeating talk, and feelings of failure.
I have to remind myself to take responsibility for my part…and stop.
The second-guessing will eat me alive if I let it. I should have done this, I should have done that, I should have been better, I should have spoken up, I should have shut up. It’s that never-ending circle of self-blame that rolls around in my head.
You should have, but you didn’t. You did, but you shouldn’t have. You did the best you could and you’re not the same person you once were. Given the same situation, you would do differently because you are different. You are <gasp> older, wiser, and softer. Now shut up and get yourself out there!
It won’t always happen, but some fences have been mended. Son #1 and I have reestablished a tentative closeness that we had during Divorce #1 when Husband #1 left us. Son #1 is hesitant. He’s been hurt by me during his teen years and is now on the verge of full-fledged adulthood. I expect him to be wary. He feels like I nag him too much to do chores. So I practice changing my approach and voicing my disappointment in his lack of completion in a different way. I try every day to treat him as an adult.