Do you know what I struggle with?
Pulling a lass. Obviously.
Ok, so that was my attempt at self-deprecating humour (although admittedly the facts don’t lie), but, in my defence, trying to meet someone that you are compatible with and that you can actually find the time to see, whilst juggling a busy job with irregular hours, and being a single parent, isn’t amongst life’s simplest challenges. Especially when you’re middle-aged.
If you’re fortunate enough to have to take my word for it, take my word for it.
That’s not actually what this post is about though. No, what I struggle with is letting go (and Let It Go – anybody else with a daughter under the age of 10, you know what I’m talking about…).Sharp collective intake of breath…. Or perhaps not.
Letting go and finding acceptance. Easy to say, bloody difficult in practice let me tell you. Well, for me at least. And really, I guess my blog is in large part a way for me to try and get there (and if my blog helps me to pull a lass as well…. well, stranger things have happened, right Donald Trump?).
“Acceptance – a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognising a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest.” (Wikipedia)
Let’s get a little more specific here. I’m pretty good at the ‘without attempting to change it’ bit. See, accepting the reality of a situation is something (I think) I do pretty quickly.
My marriage is over? Right, I’m off, we’re getting divorced. You don’t want to be with me? See you later, I’ll find someone that does (yeah, still working on that one…).
Please don’t misunderstand me, I wasn’t quite that blasé about it, but when I know the reality of a situation I like to try to get on with it and deal with it. You need to know when to fight and when not to (right Tony Blair?).
I’m even getting pretty good at doing the ‘feeling it’ bit. When dealing with any loss it is advised that you allow yourself to feel all of the emotions that will inevitably follow. I haven’t always been good at this, like most blokes there’s times when I’ve put a lid on it, but I’ve learned that one way or another these harsh emotions will find a way to make you face them. In my case this can be a slippery slope to depression and I’m certainly in no hurry to go back there, so however difficult and uncomfortable I do my best to feel it and let it pass (and anyway, numbing it with alcohol, drugs, and/or taking it out on others by fighting are really not for me; as for sleeping around, well, draw your own conclusions).
But there’s a bit of ‘the dealing with it’ that I guess I’m really not the best at dealing with.
That’s where I think I hit the proverbial wall. And you can only bang your head against it for so long until you begin to realise that maybe this isn’t particularly healthy. Funnily enough, you might get a headache.
I don’t mean the initial protest born of disbelief, denial and the wish that things could be different. No, I mean the ongoing protest born of ‘How could you do that to me?’ And it’s a silent protest, one that echoes in my head as it bounces like a child at soft play off the walls of my thick skull. ‘How could she do that?’ ‘Who is she?’ ‘How did I not see that?’ ‘What did I do to deserve that?’
Ah, poor me, poor victim me. I don’t want to play some victim, that’s weak and that’s not who I want to be. But inevitably, there will be times where we do feel hard done by, where people fall short of the hopes and expectations we had of them, where the behaviour of those that we love lets us down. We’re only human (and so are they).
No, my problem isn’t in wanting to be the victim, it’s a difficulty in wanting to face certain things as they really are. It’s difficult to face up to seeing someone that you loved as they really are – or at least as they are to you, at this time. In my case I find it difficult to take away the pedestal that I placed them on, and I guess difficult to let go of the special place that they held within me, a place that is now just space; a vacuum.
And that emptiness gets filled with…. anger, bitterness, resentment (https://lovelaughtertruthblog.com/2016/06/29/love-betrayal-deceit/).
A very wise man said:
It’s all pretty ugly, and whilst feeling entirely justified, it really doesn’t do any good. The object of your ire? They don’t care, they’ve made their choices and are living their lives without you. And you? Well, failure to accept, failure to let go can only lead to one thing – failure to move on. And there’s only one person that that hurts, and you deserve better.
It’s hard, don’t get me wrong, especially after divorce and having to adapt to not seeing your children as much as you would like to. But I do want to get there. I will get there, I am getting there.
In his brilliant book, The Power Of Now, Eckhart Tolle prescribes the following for a healthy mind:
- Non-attachment: everything changes, and one way or another everything that we become attached to we will lose. So we need to appreciate things while we have them and let them go when the time comes. This may seem a negative / pessimistic worldview but it leads to…
- Non-judgement: we need to accept things purely as they are without the ‘good / bad’ labels that we apply to them. What looks bad today can turn into the best thing that ever happened to us, and vice versa. To use a popular turn of phrase, ‘it is what it is’
- Non-resistance: we need to lose our illusion of control. When things happen we can either resist them and fight against reality or, you guessed it, accept it. Accept the feelings and emotions that accompany it and accept that the past is gone and the future is never there, all we have is now and the best we can do is accept now as it is and make the best of it
You know what? I think he’s right.
Sometimes you’ve got to learn the hard way. As with many other dating site users (according to their profiles anyway) I suppose I’ve been studying in the school of hard knocks these past few years.
I’m sure the lessons will be worth it in the end, but, bloody hell, I wish playtime would hurry up and get here!
Let It Be – The Beatles