Welcome to Dear Life: An Unconventional Advice Column.
Your questions get sent to various authors from around the world to answer (and please keep sending because I have like 567 writers that want to answer your burning questions. Click here to submit a letter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.) Different writers offer their input when it comes to navigating through life’s messiness. We are “making messy okay.” Today’s letter is answered by author Lisa Kaplin.
Send us your questions because there loads of crazy authors waiting to answer ‘em. Just kidding, they aren’t crazy.
Well okay, maybe a little. Aren’t we all? xo, Jen Pastiloff, Crazy Beauty Hunter.
ps, I will see you in London in a couple weeks! My Feb 14th workshop there is sold out but there is room in Atlanta, NYC, Philly, NJ, Chicago. All info on workshops here.
So…. Wtf is going on in my life? That is my question. Let me break it down, pleasantly 🙂
1. I left my husband of a 13 year marriage, (new him since I was 11) 5 years ago because I fell in love
2. My husband was abusive and cheated and I knew I deserved more
3. The man I fell in love with- is amazing with faults
4. After finally getting divorced (because he fought it) I then couldn’t let go
5. I was not a good human. I was selfish and aborted twins because I was afraid I would hurt my ex husband and afraid I wasn’t strong enough to take care of them alone. I accepted in my fucked up brain that no one could truly love me for eternity and help me. How the hell was I going to raise the two I already had. But all bullshit aside I knew I wasn’t capable of doing it. But I still hate myself and wish I could take it back.
6. I have lived with the guilt for too long
7. I birthed an amazing crazy human boy two years later that changed my life for ever
8. I still do not forgive myself for my abortion of the twins
9. I have made so many life changes. I have begun to live my life the way I want. Healthier. More peace. More quiet. More everything
10. Why am I still searching? Why am I still afraid? Why can’t I let go of my past and love and live in this moment?!?!
Sooooo… Wtf Is wrong with me? Why can’t I let myself be happy??? Why am I always afraid of really living and enjoying and seriously just being?
Sometimes it seems we think that we aren’t really moving forward if we periodically look back. You left an abusive marriage and it was hard for you because you cared about him. That actually makes you a compassionate human not a foolish woman. I’m guessing there was a great deal of strength and courage that you used in order to leave that relationship. Why not focus on those qualities?
Is it possible that you did the best you could when leaving your ex and having an abortion? Is it possible to mourn that loss without being so hard on yourself? Judging yourself can never lead to acceptance or happiness. You can’t take it back, you can only move forward and love and live to the best of your ability. Can you look back at yourself at that time with compassion? What would you say to a best friend who went through the same situation? Would you berate her, criticize her, tell her to hold on to the guilt for the rest of her life?
Holding on to guilt in a situation that is unchangeable is the very best way to live a frustrated and unhappy life. Guilt can be functional if it teaches us something for the future but it is useless for anything other than that. You now have a son who needs a happy, healthy mother to love and accept herself so that she can do the same for him.
How is the guilt serving you now? Can it bring the twins back? Can it change the past? No, it is simply keeping you from loving the life you are in now. Most of us don’t know how to be truly happy so we hold on to something from our past so that we don’t risk failing at the happiness game. Everything from your past has brought you right to this moment and only you can choose how to move forward.
Viktor Frankl said, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” Searching is a really good place to start that change, especially if the search is within ourselves.
Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and life coach at Smart Women Inspired Lives. She helps women get happy, get motivated, and get moving in ways they hadn’t thought possible. Lisa is a professional speaker on topics such as stress management, parenting, healthy communication, wellness, and women’s leadership. She is also a blogger and has been featured on Yahoo, Thought Catalog, MSN, Lifetime Moms, Your Tango, and Psychology Today. Lisa is a married mother of three and a joyful dog owner. You can find her at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com or Lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com
Please note: Advice given in Dear Life is not meant to take the place of therapy or any other professional advice. The opinions or views offered by columnists are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed physician or mental health professional. Columnists acting on behalf of Dear Life are not responsible for the outcome or results of following their advice in any given situation.