This is the second in my series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’
In my last post I stated that it was my choice to take responsibility to attend to my own needs and wants. When did that responsibility start? Which needs can I control? How?
When my husband suddenly announced the ending of our marriage, I was left without choice. I was denied any opportunity to save my marriage, denied any right to a say in its ending and the manner in which it ended. My belief in my own self-worth as a person was completely shattered and I was left feeling utterly powerless. I was thrown into a trauma-like state of distress overlaying a grief process which overwhelmed my ability to cope and threatened to crush my inner resolve. My basic needs of security, trust, and having some control over my destiny, were destroyed in an instant.
Thrown into that crisis without choice, the only was out was to get through, survive. However, beyond that point, beyond the instant of that initial announcement, it has been my responsibility to move past the drama, take back control of my life, and to attend to my own needs.
There is nothing more empowering, no more certain way of winning back control, than by taking responsibility for my own choices and attending to my own needs. I have come to realise the more aspects of my life I take responsibility for, the more choices and control over my life I am able to win back that had been lost by the action of abandonment.
This has been a gradual process. I began by taking back control of my life one minute at a time, then one hour, then one day at a time. I began caring for myself with diet, relaxation and exercise. I restored routine and order in my life, and simplified my lifestyle. I focussed on my home and made it my peaceful sanctuary. I surrounded myself with things the way I wanted and redecorated my living space. I embraced solitude as a chance to do whatever I wanted and to follow my own passions. I let go of the coupledom that was and took the time to reflect on who I was as an individual. I spent time affirming my values and beliefs and resolved to remain positive and optimistic. I discovered me again.
That was a major step, discovering me.
However, when I went further and explored my needs I discovered that I was still down on the bottom levels of fulfilling basic needs, those of comfort and stability. I had been unable to rise to my higher needs of self-fulfillment and pursuing my life with purpose and meaning. I realised that, even though I had discovered and embraced my new self, I was still living our life my way, rather than living my life and following my dreams. Now it was my responsibility to change.
Attending to my higher needs of pursuing a life of purpose and meaning, of re-finding trust and re-gaining my feelings of self-worth will take some time. I will first need to eliminate those areas of my current life that are not leading to my desired outcome. This will require huge changes in my life. I will need to move away from the area where I have lived for 35 years, plan my future, get re-educated, start a new career, make new retirement plans, and work out how I will survive financially. I am aged 59. None of this will be easy. However, it is my responsibility to make it happen, to choose valued responses to those challenges ahead, in order for me to pursue my own passions to a higher level, and move forward to a life of purpose and meaning.
In the meantime, I will keep focussing on and take responsibility for those needs that I can address right now; those needs of my health, stability, and financial security. I will explore my responsibility for those needs in my next post.
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