Friday, December 26, 2014

Change, Reflection, and Growth

I have always prided myself as a positive and forward-thinking intellectual and at one point even branded myself as a "change agent".

How does a "change-agent" manage failures and change in their own life? 
This was my challenge in 2014. I looked up last fall to find myself facing divorce after a 17 year relationship, new challenges as a "single mom", huge career changes, relocation, new job, and finding time to complete goals associated with completing a PhD. I found myself questioning my beliefs, self-worth, choices, and ideologies. How does a FT working single mom manage everything? Should I continue pursing a degree? Why did my marriage fail? Was I wrong regarding my approaches to education? How do you pick up when the people you counted on are no longer in your life? Can you trust others? Is everyone out for themselves? How does it feel to be alone? Will my kids understand that I love them so much and it was all for them?

I was separated for 14 months. After everything, I felt emotionally drained, scared, and alone. It is during this time that I have realized how strong I could be. My intentions determine my success and outcomes.  I needed time to process events during the last year. I had to leave a position and rural community that I had served for over a decade. I found myself starting a new job, finalizing a divorce, and moving within a three week period. After the dust settled, my body and emotions went into culture shock around mid-October. What had just happened? Will we be ok? Can I do this? Will my kids forgive me? So much guilt hit me. Feelings of loneliness, failure, and anger finally emerged. My body was exhausted and I began to realize that the battle was over and lessons on faith, strength, loyalty, and perseverance allowed me to reconsider how these failures and changes now provide new opportunities and growth as a mother, professional, and individual.

Believe You Can Make It and You Are Here For A Reason! 

How am I moving forward?

  • Reflection: Taking time this year to reflect and fine tune skill sets on listening to my intuition.This blog is a personal growth blog and site to help with reflection, goals, and to share my struggles in hopes that they may help someone else. In turn, this will heal me.
  • Feeding My Spirit: I am going to work on feeding my soul. Exercise and meditation will help. 
  • Network: My kids and I have the opportunity now as I am living in a new community to connect and make friends. This will assist all of us in developing new experiences and social skill sets.
  • Time Management: I need help with this. It is so hard as a single mom to do everything. I am learning to give my kids more responsibility and to plan ahead.
  • Redefining relationships and setting appropriate boundaries: Through counseling I have realized this is a problem I have had with many relationships. I allow people to take advantage of  me. I do not stand up for myself and have yet to learn how to set boundaries. As a result, I often find myself in a controlling relationship or am manipulated by a selfish group of people whom are often in the relationship for personal gain. In the past, I did not realize this and found myself often serving as a doormat, for the "cause of greater good". Also, I came to counseling at first to try to save my marriage. I found out that I had many individuals bullying me through months of counseling and that this was a behavior that I allowed. I am "nice" and often these types of individuals mask behavior and manipulate to attempt to control a situation. Now, I find that I recognize this behavior and am immediately angered (this is new and improvement, I used to act as a victim). Maybe that is progress but I still recognize that I need to set clear boundaries to prevent the feeling that I am being "taken advantage of". I need to work on telling people no and learn how to respond when I identify this behavior. I guess it is progress that I have learned how to identify these behaviors and my part in promoting them. It has taken over a year of counseling to figure this out about me. I only control how I respond to such behavior. 
  • Quality Family Time: Now that I share my sons I realize how important it is to take time out and to meet their needs. I am trying to meet them in their world. They have grown up on a ranch and now they find themselves living during the school year with me in an urban environment. I was told by their psychologist that it was important that I meet them in "their world". What does that look like? Camping, hiking, picnics, trips to the army surplus, and tutoring sessions for mom in Minecraft. It also means that I can introduce them to things that we have yet to experience such as the Fort Worth Symphony, museums, and plays. I take this more seriously now.

I am grateful that I have a new opportunity and realize that this year has been probably the hardest year of my adult life. However, it is also the year that I have learned the most about myself. I realize this year was about preparing me for a great future and I am so eager to move forward.

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