You Deserve Better Than Settling


“What you want, and what you are willing to do to get it, are drastically different things. You need to decide if you are simply just wanting, or if you are really, truly, willing. Because you can say all day long that you want something, or that you want to make a change, but unless you are willing — right now in this moment — to take the steps that are necessary for that change, then you are forever going to be left simply ‘wanting’.”

My nonprofit has such a long waiting list of clients right now, that they far exceed the services that we have available. So for now, a lot of our clients are meeting with me in what I’m calling “support sessions,” since I can’t legally counsel anyone (and they know that I’m not a licensed counselor, it’s fully disclosed, and they meet with me at their own risk). But it was last week in the middle of a session, when I found myself telling a client that they need to choose “willing” over simply just “wanting,” when the hypocrisy of my words hit me in the face so hard that I was barely able to finish the session with her.

I am a hypocrite.
As you know from my post “I Am SO Angry!,” I’m livid. Or at least I was when I wrote that post, just like I had been for the several weeks prior. Finding out that since my ex left four years ago, he has not been as homeless as he had been telling the court system, and instead has been actively hiding his new family in an attempt to get out his obligations, had ignited something in me that burned hotter than any anger I had ever felt about the abuse, rape, and initial abandonment.

I was ANGRY.

And it was beginning to consume me. I was spending hours thinking up new and creative ways that I could go after him in court. I got a second opinion on Mr. Attorney Man’s advice, and then I went and got a third. I researched laws, and methods of filing complaints against the judge, and I even thought about taking the whole fiasco to the press.

I was angry, and that was my foremost focus.

And that anger was spilling over into every area of my life. I was becoming short tempered with my kids, and I wasn’t getting my articles in on time to my editors because I was having trouble concentrating. I was staying up half the night lost in my own thoughts, and I was dragging myself out of bed in the morning with an already dismal attitude about the day to come.

This is not who I want to be, and this is not who I set out to be.

Going way back to the first week of 2014, I had written a post titled “Let Your Soul Breathe.” In that post I talked about how I had gone out on a date with a guy who was so consumed by anger created during his divorce, that it was the only emotion that he seemed able to project. Everything around him was an opportunity to make him angry, and make him angry it did. But even then that wasn’t enough for him, because he wanted me to feel angry with him too.

In that post, I talked a lot about how I could have ended up very much like that guy, had I not chosen a different path.

*************

That man, was so wrapped up in anger at how his life had turned out, that he was sabotaging his chances to accept any happiness into his life. Not only was he walking through life with one fist in the air and an angry scowl on his face, he was trying to get me to trample all over the flowers along the path with him.

When anyone learns that my ex chose to abandon the family, besides shock and pity, usually one of the first emotions that I see flash across their faces is anger. Almost unanimously they say something to the effect of “you must be so angry!”

But I’m not angry.

So how does one decide that they are not going to be angry? It has to be a conscious choice. When you consistently make a conscious choice, it becomes a habit. A habit is a choice that is made so often, that it is very difficult to choose something else, and it naturally becomes your default.

And yet again, how do you chose to not be angry? You force yourself to dig deeper, to look under the anger, and allow yourself to feel the things that hurt you. It’s not easy, in fact, I’ll admit, it downright sucks. The anger protects you from the feelings that hurt you, but how else will you deal with them, if you cover them up with anger and shove them away?

The night after my ex left, as I sat on the couch feeling angry at the world, I dug deeper. I was hurt. It hurt. I felt worthless. I felt like no one could see the good in me. I wondered if I had any good in me. I grieved for my children, and for the loss of what should have been. My heart broke for all that I had lost. I was upset with myself for making choices that had led me to where I had landed. I was disappointed in my ex for failing us. I felt insignificant to a system that should have protected me. I was scared at what might become of us. Angry, yes, there were parts of me that were still angry, but I was allowing myself to feel the emotions that keep us human. I refuse to allow any residual anger I have to suffocate out my happiness. I refuse to allow my past to continue to control my future.

These days, I’m not angry anymore. I let it go. I have been wronged, no doubt. I have been failed by many, and I have landed in an uncomfortable spot because of things that I chose, and things that were forced upon me. but I’m working on it. I’m digging through the anger, and it’s not at the surface. It’s not my default feeling anymore, and I’m proud of that. There is room for happiness, there is room for love. There are days that I cry and there are days that I feel nothing but broken, but what I am not, is suffocated by anger. My soul can breathe.

I said good-bye to the angry guy. I’m sad for him, for he is missing out on all the best pieces of his life because he can’t see past his anger. There is no room for him to be happy, there is no room for him to be loved, he stands no chance at joy. That, above all, is the greatest tragedy that he has suffered.

So I challenge you, all of my favorite readers, to not be angry today. Dig deeper, cry if you need, but find those little wounded pieces of your soul, and pull them up to the surface where they can breathe. Suffocation kills even the most basic of organisms. Do not let anger be another tragedy in your life.

You are worth so much more than a life of anger.

Let your soul breathe.

************

Lately, I seem to have forgotten all the wisdom that I beheld back in 2014, because as you saw in my last post, my soul has been suffocating. It has been suffocating under the weight of my anger, which, when I truly sat down and dug through my emotions, was masking what I was really feeling.

I’m feeling vulnerable.

I’m upset that the system doesn’t seem to work the way it should, and it’s making me feel insignificant. It’s bringing up all the times that I felt the same way when I reached out for help during the abuse, and no one cared to help me.

It hurts.

I’m also feeling as if I have so many people to protect, and I can’t do it all. I feel like it’s my job to protect my kids from getting hurt, and I feel like I’m failing at that. I feel terrified to one-day answer the questions they will ask me, when I don’t even understand the answers myself. I feel unprepared for the damage that abandonment does to a child, and as a mother, it scares me to think that things are out of my control. I know that it’s my job to provide my kids with everything they need, and I know that I sometimes fail at that. I hate relying on my ex to pay his support, and it leaves me in a scary place to know that even after all these years, that I still need him in some capacity. And then, I think of The Guy that has been so wonderful and loving towards my kids and I, and I wonder if I’ll fail him too, if I one day dump the financial burden of us on him, and he is forced to carry the weight of everything that I couldn’t. And then I feel guilty at taking advantage of Mr. Attorney Man’s generosity as I continue to drag him with me to court to help me try and fix all of this.

I feel like I’m failing a lot of people, and it’s making me angry, and it’s really, really easy to direct all of that anger towards my ex, because let’s be honest here, a lot of this is his fault.

But blame is irrelevant, because it changes nothing. The facts remain that my emotions, and my actions within those emotions, are my choice, and if I don’t want to be the angry person that spews hatred and anger onto everything I touch, then I need to be willing to do what it takes to not be.


I need to be willing, to be something other than angr
y.

I’ll admit, it’s not easy to be that willing. It’s not easy when I feel justified in my anger, to remind myself to find another emotion. It’s not easy to tune out an emotion that is so powerful that it tends to suffocate the others out.

But I have to.

I have to be willing to make the change, because I don’t want my next tragedy to be a life consumed with anger. I need room for the joy of a five-year-old’s smile and precious hugs from an eight-year-old. I want my children to feel the love that I so desperately crave giving them, and I want to feel the love that The Guy has for me.

I need to make room in my life for things other than anger, or the only thing that I will be able to give is the emotion that I’m letting take over my life; which is unfortunately the one emotion that really has the power to negatively affect everything around me.

I need to let the anger go.

So I’m working on it. When I feel angry, I’m taking a second to find another emotion to replace it. And I’ll admit, it’s hard. There really aren’t a lot of emotions that feel as justified as anger does, and there aren’t a lot of emotions that scream as loudly as anger does, and that makes it really hard to feel that thankful/happy/blessed feeling when anger is running forefront, but it doesn’t matter because I’m willing.

I’m willing to see that today — although I don’t have all the answers — that I have my life, my kids, and a future.

I’m willing to see that, and I’m thankful that I can.

Life isn’t fair, but no one said it would be. My ex, yea, he got away with a lot, and it did a lot of damage to my kids and I, and I know that there is only more of that to come. I know that I am going to be dealing with these issues for a very long time, and I know that sometimes my anger will be justified, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be all-consuming. It just means that I need to be able to feel it, deal with it, and then set it down so that I can tend to something else.

Life is so much bigger than what I’m going through, and there is so much more yet to come.

If I want to be able to see the beauty that lies around me, then I need to be willing to look at it in a different light.

When you get stuck in a rut and can’t seem to find a way out, just remember that wanting, is not the same as willing.

Anyone can want to change, but the people who actually do change, are the people who were willing to put in the effort.

Don’t settle for wanting, aim for willing.

*************

To Read More About The Angry Guy And Letting Go Of Anger, Click Here To Read “Let Your Soul Breathe.” 
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22 Comments

  • jeanie
    September 14, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    I think that is a lot of what forgiveness is about – its not about the other person in so many ways, but it is about not allowing that anger to control you and cloud your life.When my oldest was little, we did “volcano breathing” – breathing in all the hope and blowing out anger.You write so beautifully. This post reminded me of the meme going around about cracked Japanese that is fixed with gold.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      September 19, 2016 at 8:40 am

      Volcano breathing, I like that 🙂

      You are right, it’s definitely about making sure the anger doesn’t win!

  • Niki
    September 15, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    This was exactly what I needed to read today. I was checking in on you and the kiddos and ended up getting a dose of what I needed as well.–Thank you as always for your truth, honesty, bravery, and inspiration. You truly are a miraculous lady!!! I am going to send you an e-mail as well, just a heads up……Take care, give those kiddos a hug and know I am thinking of you all and praying for the best for you. 🙂 Love, Niki E.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      September 19, 2016 at 8:41 am

      I’m glad you got something out of it, that makes me feel good 🙂

      *hugs*

  • Facebook
    September 15, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Yes, it is very difficult to let go of the anger. I carried a ton of anger after I left while pregnant. It made me madder then hell to know he was living his life without a care in the world. Only after my daughter was born did I realize the gift I had been given and the opportunity I had to make her life so very different then it would have been with him in it that the anger slowly faded away and joy and love came thru for her and our life together. And truth be told, I also had tremendous faith that karma would one day deliver him all that he deserved and when I found out that karma had in fact made a delivery to him, I felt freer than I had in years. You are a wonderful Mother and your children know how very much they are loved and cherished by you every minute of their lives. And it is ok for you to be loved and cherished by the man in your life….you deserve it too!

  • Facebook
    September 15, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    this was definitely something I needed to read. I am guilty of holding onto anger and the idea of figuring out what is really upsetting me instead of putting under the anger umbrella really stuck with me. I love reading everything you share! Thanks for being you and sharing your stories!

  • Anonymous
    September 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Do you have any qualifications to give the support sessions? Just wondering because what you do is what I'm planning on doing! 🙂

    • NotMyShametoBear
      September 19, 2016 at 8:43 am

      Nope! Just a whole lot of life experience. There’s no way I could get a job as a counselor or anything because I am not qualified for that. I don’t get paid for what I do, and the nonprofit clients meet with me at their own risk. Many just like having someone to chat with you has lived through what they are going through, so maybe you might look to be a mentor of sorts?

  • Anonymous
    September 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    What are your plans for when your children turn 18 and tell you that they want to see their dad?

    • NotMyShametoBear
      September 19, 2016 at 8:49 am

      I’m just trying to make it through today! When they turn 18 they can do whatever they want in regards to him, and I just hope and pray that in the years leading up to that, I’ll have been able to prepare them for the moment they choose, if they so should, to face him.

  • Anonymous
    September 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    …Or any of their family that you have hidden them from?

  • snork maiden
    September 19, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    By 'hidden', I think you mean protected? If you've been following this blog you'll know that Eden's abusive, enabling family are the last thing two children need during their formative years.

  • snork maiden
    September 19, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    You're too hard on yourself Eden. It would be tremendously hard not to be angry in the face of such injustice. But you're right to let it go, or try to.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      September 19, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Thank you love 🙂 You are always so kind to me!

      *hugs*

  • Luciana Nogueira Soares
    September 19, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    I hope you don't bite your tongue by accident Anonymous, because dude, you will are dertanly going to die poisoned.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      September 19, 2016 at 8:47 am

      I know you’re trolling, but whatever, I’ll bite. I wouldn’t exactly call it “hiding” them. I choose not to let my kids see my parents or brothers because of choices that my family has made. I’ll be honest and tell them that. As for my extended family, they chose not to see us, because I wouldn’t talk to my parents. That’s out of my control. At the end of the day, my job as a parent is to keep my kids in a safe and healthy environment. Sadly, my family could not offer that, and that’s what I’ll tell them 🙂

      And I guess to add, when I was a few years older than my daughter, my mom cut off her entire family. Thankfully, I lived to tell about it! I still haven’t decided if I want to reach out to them or not, but whatever I decide, it will be my choice, as it will be my kid’s choices when they reach an age of independence too.

  • Facebook
    September 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Oh, Eden, I understand SO MUCH how the anger at those people that have treated you in ways you never deserved can consume you. I've been there many times. I honestly can't say how I worked myself out of it, I think the only thing I could do was keep myself busy so that I didn't think about it, and eventually it subsides. What's even worse is when someone else victimizes you, when you are already struggling with anger elsewhere. It's like a double-whammy, and they're kicking you when you're already down. Wow, I can't tell you how familiar I am with that feeling. And the kicks seem to be neverending.

  • Joel
    September 22, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I don't want to be presumptuous, but it's not your job to protect your kids form getting hurt. They are going to get hurt. It's a fact of life. They will fall and skin their knees, they will get sick, they will have their hearts broken, and they may be disappointed by the people they let into their big loving hearts. Your job is to give them the tools to navigate and recover from these things, not to prevent them from happening. To give them a place to turn to (your loving arms) when they need help. They have to learn that life isn't all good or easy and that they are still worthy and loveable and strong when bad things happen.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      October 4, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Very true, but the mother in me can’t help but want to, when I had a hand in bringing them into this situation.

      But you are right, I should focus more on giving them the tools to get through it 🙂

      *hugs*

  • Anonymous
    September 30, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    So what you do is two people talking. I've almost graduated from a lottt of schooling … you probably shouldn't call them support sessions, even if your non profit has them sign a waiver in blood, it's misleading 🙁

  • Anonymous
    October 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    There's nothing wrong with calling them support sessions. It's the same as a support group, of which leading one requires no specialized degree or certification. She is there to support the person she is meeting with, and you don't need a degree for that. I don't see anything misleading in her disclosing to them that she has no degree in the field and all she can do is offer support.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      October 4, 2016 at 10:44 am

      I’m going to have to disagree with you on that, as it’s really not misleading at all. Lots of places have supportive groups and sessions, and everyone is aware that they aren’t meeting with a licensed professional. Take churches for example; they often provide mentors or peer counselors, and it’s just someone to chat with and get feedback from. Or support groups where they match you up with someone who is further along in the process than you, such as grief support groups or even an accountability partner in AA. Everyone knows they aren’t meeting with a psychologist.

      When women are utilizing the services of our nonprofit and we do not have any available counselors, they are given the option of meeting with me just to chat about how they are feeling and what they might be able to expect as they move forward, finding an outside service for counseling, or simply managing what they can on their own. It’s completely up to them, but I will tell you that every single one chooses to meet with me, not for some grand psychological insight, but because they want to talk to someone who can understand what they are going through, and hear how someone came out of it on the other side.

      Nothing more, nothing less 🙂

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