In my divorce, nearly a decade ago, friends and family divided, each of us naturally gaining sole custody of those we’d laid claim to before meeting. As is standard, there were raw emotions and bruised egos. We each constructed a story of what went wrong that would help us more easily mitigate the personal damage. Those stories were facts to us but in reality only half-truths. Of course, they were shared with those we were closest to… and probably several others.
Childless and 30, the perception others held of me was of disproportionate importance, whether I feigned fortitude and apathy or not. It was incredibly painful to know that these people, who I’d done life with for 10 years, believed falsities about me. And even more difficult to swallow was the acceptance that I’d have to be okay with that.
I knew, as it was unfolding, that this was a gift in the making, the greatest gift of my divorce, outside of peace. I was keenly aware of the strength that would be gained, a strength my soul desperately craved. My mantra became the reminder that only I needed to know my truth. If I was operating from a place of personal integrity, the perception of others was moot.
Still, it hurt. But, cutting the strings of my delicate ego, with scissors honed from authenticity, won out. True liberation, even if it was scary as hell.
I breathed deeply often, observing negative thoughts slither in, that ego-crushing feeling taking over, and then I dismissed them. I was acting as the best version of me, even if it didn’t feel like it to those around me. I could answer only to myself.
It took tremendous effort for me to acknowledge that others responses to my actions, or what they believed to be true, were strictly owned by them. If I knew that I was operating from my highest self then I could do no more. The rest wasn’t mine.
It bears explaining that major soul searching and uncomfortable honesty are paramount to knowing if you’re operating from a place of authenticity versus ego. If you have anger towards another, that’s you. Authenticity and integrity are peaceful states of being.
Of course, over the years, there have been moments when I deserved judgment, when my ego stepped in and caused emotional bedlam. And, there have also been moments when the hurt wasn’t mine to claim. It’s my natural inclination to always question myself first, to check for ego activity. That means that I have to sit with the vulnerability, the ugly emotions. I have to pick apart my actions to search for signs of inauthenticity and palpability. This is difficult work, and I often erroneously take responsibility for the insecurities of others because of my uncommon willingness to wade the murky waters of my ego.
At this moment, intuitively, I believe that a friend has shared half-truths and misinformation with other friends. Emotionally, it’s my divorce all over again. I moved away from these women, so the friend gets custody of them. I have a choice- to confront or to be still. We’ve all been there, sat with the feeling of being misrepresented and desperately wanting to fix it, to heal the wound inflicted upon the ego. (None of them will see this because I know you’re wondering.)
But I won’t. I choose silence because I know my truth, and I have faith. It’s been a rough year, having to decipher what is and isn’t mine in various interactions. I have had to learn to trust my judgment and my growth, to see my heart clearly and then pardon myself because I know it is pure. I’ve learned that if I feel saddened, it’s probably not mine, but if I feel angry, I’m likely the proprietor. I believe that when the universe senses you’ve elevated beyond a learning curve you’d previously struggled with, you’ll be gifted situations that test your faith in that growth.
I hear you Universe, and I thank you.