The Real Reason Why I Got Divorced

Photo: Annegien Schilling

Photo: Annegien Schilling

I've decided to share this private part of my past so that you may not make the same mistake I made (although I know that everything happened the way it was meant to).

Sometimes I receive the most profound insights in the most mundane moments. I was in my making in my aunt's pre-War Parisian flat the other day and I realized WHY I got divorced. 

It was a major aha moment and I nearly heard the Heavenly choir singing. 

It's only taken 5 years to understand the root reason after all. Wisdom needs time to root and let itself bloom through layers and layers of hurt but wisdom always comes if we invite it as a guest. 

Getting divorced was the most difficult decision of my life and at the time, I was hoping that I would become a better parent because I would be a happier human being. That has been 1000 percent true. I have found my own way through life and my two daughters get to witness their mama living a life of purpose, of devotion, and of service.

I was married throughout my twenties and at the time, nothing in the world made me feel good enough and I projected that onto my ex-husband. Because I didn't feel good enough, nothing he did was ever good enough. A bigger apartment. A newer washing machine. A bigger, more expensive car. Flowers. A surprise trip to Miami. No matter what he did was never enough for me because I didn't feel good enough. 

The more he showed his love, the more I showed that he was in the wrong to love me so much so I threw it back in his face by declaring it not good enough. I couldn't fathom that anyone could love me completely and utterly so I had to make him wrong for it. 

He had to be in the wrong for loving me. At the time, I didn't know how to express it. I wasn't even conscious that my own loathing was the root cause of my marital malaise: I was completely convinced that he just didn't love me enough. In retrospective, he tried so very hard to prove it to me each day.

I didn't know how to receive love. At the time, there was no space between my wounded self and the other brighter, more loving compartments of my inner world. They were all glued together in constant self-debasement, looking for proof that I was, in fact, unworthy. 

I didn't know that I had to empty out all the wounds of my childhood to make room to receive. 

I didn't know that feeling not good enough was a chronic syndrome that drowned all relationships until my self-esteem could stand on its own two self-loving legs. 

I was so full of self-loathing that there was no room for nobody else within my heart. Nothing would ever be good enough in life because I would always be short of being good enough. 

Nearly five years later, I have come full circle. I am single but I know that the love that I meet within myself is also the love that I meet outside of me. It is a truth and a living force that supports and embraces me each day. 

The only lifeline out of that pattern that has reconnected me with myself has been to treat my relationship with myself as I would treat another relationship...to infuse it with intentions, respect, tenderness, compassion, acceptance of vulnerability. I never thought that my self-relationship mattered as much because I thought that romantic relationships would organically heal how I treated myself. 

But it is the other way around. How I treat myself determines the kind of relationships I have in the world. When I return to the presence of love within me, I feel full and at peace with the outcome of my external relationships. 

Begin to treat your relationship with yourself as you would the most precious love relationship you've ever had. Effort. Intention. Tenderness. 

The steps I try to embrace daily to nurture my relationship with myself as as follow...remember that coming back to these steps is far more important than perfection. 

1. Taking full responsibility for how I treat myself. I do my best not to rely on the external to determine how I view myself. I am the owner of my self-image. 

2. I entrust my happiness and tender loving care to myself first. I nourish myself. I tend to myself. Not it's not selfish -- it's self-saving. Thank you very much. 

3. I show affection and understanding to myself whenever I can. 

4. I don't conceal or repress my emotions. Even sadness is holy. Stay physically close to yourself...embody your emotions...be in your body. 

I think I will write a more extensive piece on how we can begin to cultivate a healthy relationship with ourselves the same way we would a marriage. 

It begins at the root of your intentions and moves through the chambers of your soul. 

Don't make the same mistake I did. Tend to you today. And tomorrow. And forever. 

In grace & gratitude, 

L.