I don’t know why but for some reason, it’s really hard for me to accept that everything is good right in this moment.
Meditation and journaling help. But I’ve noticed that I have this mindset where I always expect myself to do better. I tend to be hard on myself, which is one of the things I’m working on in therapy.
The truth is that I’ve made a lot of progress on myself in recent years. I’m calmer and have my anger under better control. I’ve eliminated a lot of the situations and people that triggered it. But even in that, I still feel guilty about avoiding my triggers, thinking that if I reached some specific point of enlightenment, I could expose myself to things and people that trigger me without reacting at all.
How do you tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy avoidance? There’s no question that avoiding my triggers helps me. But my goal is to handle everything so well that nothing triggers me.
On the topic of growth, though, my husband and I were talking about that this weekend. For us, marriage isn’t about being perfect or always in sync. Instead, it’s about both of us growing together and as individuals.
I think about the time a couple years ago when he revealed the long-standing porn addiction that he kept secret from me for all those years. At the time, I was so hurt that I considered leaving him. Now, I’m glad I didn’t. Bringing that into the light made our marriage infinitely better.
Now I think about how brave it was of him to tell me that, knowing how angry and hurt I would be. We had fights pretty much every day for a couple months, as I came up with continually more questions about whom I knew that he had fantasized about sleeping with.
But then we got through it. He committed to change and he followed through. In the process, we went from being best friends to being truly romantic and vulnerable with each other in a way that we weren’t before.
For my part, the changes in myself also made me kinder, especially to him. Seeing that he had been so vulnerable and knowing the reasons that created his struggle made me see him in a softer light.
I’ve also worked on being more honest with myself. Sometimes I still struggle with not beating myself up for my flaws. But the difference is that now I can more easily see the good things in myself, too.
In many ways, his cancer diagnosis makes this all the more bittersweet. After 25 years of marriage, things are the best they’ve ever been between us. And I’m grateful for that because this would be much harder otherwise. But how I wish we had more time to enjoy it.
On the one hand, some people arrive at death never having truly confronted their demons or grown as a person, which is really sad. But on the other hand, the fact that we have makes it easier to really appreciate every day as a gift. That’s what I need to remember as I work to be more fully present in every moment.