“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.
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 angry.
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."