A time finally comes when you "get it"... when in the midst of all your tears and insanity, you stop in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out, "ENOUGH!!". Enough fighting, crying, guilt, and struggling just to hold on.
Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.
You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to magically appear over the next horizon.
You realize that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings and that any guarantees of "happily ever after" must begin with you...and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that your lost spouse wasn't perfect, nor are you; and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who and what you are...and that's OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.
You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did or said to you (or didn't do or say) and you learn that the only think you can really count on is the unexpected.
You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that everyone will not always be there for you and that everything isn't always about you.
So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself...and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.
You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties...and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.
You learn to open up to new ideas and different points of view and you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really want out of the rest of your life.
You learn the difference between WANTS and NEEDS and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown through the grief process...or should have never bought into in the first place.
You learn that principles such as honesty and compassion are not outdated ideals, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your new life.
You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then you begin to relearn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are, not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not necessarily mean lonely.
You stop trying to control people, situations, and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.
You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect.
You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and depression so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels our bodies, laughter fuels the our souls. So you take more time to laugh and play.
You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve, and that much of life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.
Most importantly, you learn that in order to really "move on" you need direction, discipline, and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it's OK to risk asking for help, whether it is from a friend or a professional.
You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it under a cloud of impending doom, gloom, and sadness.
You finally actually learn that life isn't always fair...you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to good people. You learn not to always take it personally.
You learn that nobody punished you and everything isn't always "somebody's" fault. It's just life happening.
You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison your whole world.
You learn to be thankful and take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted...things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about...a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.
Then, you begin to take some responsibility for yourself and by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself again and to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire.
You make it a point to keep smiling, to trust, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. Finally with courage in your heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.
~Sonny Carroll (The Awakening)