Going through this whole “dissolution of marriage and starting over” thingy can really make one… well, self-absorbed. And rightly so. Anyone who’s ever gone through anything like this knows it’s like getting kicked in the gut. The wind has been knocked out of you and you’re left struggling to get back up and get your bearings.
It’s hard and it’s really, really lousy. You have no other choice but to think of only yourself for the time being. Your main focus needs to be your health (mental, physical and spiritual) and your welfare.
That’s the way it’s been for me anyway. I seem to have a one track mind lately. That one track consisting solely of ME.
My daily thought processes typically go a little something like this:
- What am I going to do?
- What are MY next steps?
- I need to find a job.
- Why did this happen to ME?
- How do I get back on MY feet?
- When will I finally get back on MY feet?
- Who can I trust?
- Where do I go from here?
- Will I get another chance at happiness?
- What’s going to make ME most happy right now?
- MY main concern right now needs to be MYSELF.
- What are MY hopes, MY dreams, MY fears, MY obstacles at this point of starting over?
Even though I’ve never been through anything like this before, these thought processes strike me as amazingly… normal. In these types of situations, the person left behind most certainly needs to take care of themselves and their lives before moving forward into any kind of direction. It’s normal, it’s natural and it’s okay.
However, all this focus on myself is also… exhausting. Every day I was waking up more frustrated, more angry, more depressed, more traumatized, more embarrassed, more confused and more lost than the day before. Even though I was taking baby steps forward, I was feeling worse as time went on. I couldn’t figure it out. Doesn’t time heal all things? Shouldn’t I be feeling better instead of worse? What is wrong with me?
And then it hit me:
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
Oh. Right. That.
I’d been so focused on myself, my situation and my needs that I had neglected to think about anyone else, their situations, or their needs.
What about the friend whose husband is undergoing cancer treatment? What about the classmate whose niece is in intensive care? What about the colleague who’s close to losing her home? What about the neighbor who needs help getting around?
Oh. Right. Those people.
I had been so completely focused on myself that I forgot… even though I need to take care of myself, I should be thinking about others too.
Remember that spiritual health thing I mentioned earlier? This is part of that. The more focused I am on myself, the more drained I become. The more I focus on my energy on blessing others, the more refreshed I become. I’ve always known this, and I’ve seen it make a massive difference in my circumstances. I just… forgot. I guess I was… preoccupied.
Please understand… I’m not saying become a martyr and stop taking care of yourself. By all means, take care of yourself. But don’t become so preoccupied with yourself, your circumstances and your hurt that you forget to reach out to others going through difficult times too.
In fact, I’m going to challenge each and every one of you to go out and bless one other person this weekend. Call up a hurting friend just to talk. Invite a neighbor out for coffee. Offer to run errands for someone. Pray for someone. Bless someone.
And then report back and tell me the difference it makes in you.
Seriously, I dare you.